Studying at home is fun, too
You can do without the library
‘Going to and from the UB just feels like a waste of time, especially when I’m learning for an exam or I have a deadline. When I do go and there’s no room, I end up in the journalism newsroom, where I can’t study because I’m talking to everyone.
I never join my friends when they study, because I’m that annoying person that distracts everyone. I don’t think others would want me to join them; I can’t stop talking. I’d rather just stay home. I get distracted there too, but I make sure I’m logged out of all my social media accounts on my computer and I turn off my phone.
Studying at home just gives you more freedom. I don’t have to work around the library hours. Sometimes I don’t start studying until the evening and I keep going for hours. I can make food and get myself a drink for free. If I go out, I spend money unnecessarily on food and coffee.
When I’m studying I try to get up on time, clean my desk so I’m not distracted by the mess, and put on some music. YouTube has all this music that is specifically meant for you to study to. They work insanely well.’
Ruben van de Ven
First year engineering management
‘We’ll sometimes rent a space at the UB if we’re working on a group project. To me, the place is just too massive; you’re just another face in the crowd. Almost all my friends go to the UB, but I don’t miss studying together; I have enough of a social life outside of it.
I studied in Enschede before coming to Groningen. People didn’t study much in the library there. My roommates and I studied at home and got together for breaks. I love studying at home. You’ve got everything within reach; you don’t have to prepare a packed lunch; you don’t have to lug your laptop and heavy books around; there’s always room.
I love that I can do other things between study sessions, like laundry. It’s a really efficient use of my time. The line between studying and leisure is less defined when you study at home. So I often work out or go to the store for groceries when I’m done studying.
Even if you’re with friends, studying will always be boring. You do take longer breaks if you’re with a group, but you can also last longer. That’s the trade-off.’
Sophie de Groot
‘At home I can just wear my sweatpants and fluffy socks. In my seven years as a student I’ve only been to the UB only once, with a roommate. The UB isn’t a nice place to study. It’s just too quiet. I need some background noise.
I focus best between 8 pm and 1 am. I often study after dinner and don’t feel like biking to the UB at night.
Being able to do other things at the same time can be both a blessing and a curse. I like being able to clean out the dishwasher or do my laundry, but there is always a temptation to do something else. I don’t know whether studying at home is the most effective way. It can be hard to really focus.
I’ll only go study somewhere else if someone asks me to join them. But I’ll feel obligated to join them on their break, and then I’m on their schedule. Maybe I could study better if I did it somewhere else.’
‘Studying at the UB is like being in a waiting room. The place feels too cold; everything is white and sparse and empty. My programme is creative; I have a lot of writing assignments that require inspiration. The UB is just not very inspiring.
And it’s so quiet! Everyone turns to look at you when you so much as sigh. I love to have some background noise. At the UB it feels like everyone’s watching you and I don’t like that.
I also think a lot of students see going to the UB as a social activity. Looking at the RUG Confessions page on Facebook, it seems like people are more concerned with mingling than with actually studying. There’s also some weird hierarchical thing going on with the floors. I just wouldn’t be comfortable there.
When you’re studying at home, it helps to pretend like you’re at work. I don’t sit down at my desk in my pyjamas; I get up early, take a shower, and put on make-up. There’s nothing on my desk but my laptop and my books. You need to draw a clear line between study time and private time. I always take a break to go outside, to make sure the day isn’t too monotonous. My room is pretty small, so it can feel like the walls are closing in sometimes.
I sometimes study at a café, where there is more background noise. When I was still living with my parents, I would study in the living room rather than my own bedroom.’