With the majority of classes being online this year, there’s little reason for students who live off-campus to be walking the university. But when having a reason to walk down Greene Street or hanging on the Horseshoe, I feel a void of normalcy and comfort being surrounded by my peers. The drive to campus and the energy you find there isn't something you can feel in a Zoom lecture. In the spirit of bringing that energy back, I wanted to share some of what I’ve found to be the best study spots on campus. I thought I knew just about every nook and cranny at UofSC, but now I realize I’ll never really know all of them. After exploring Flinn Hall (which I can now personally attest has the most creaky, unlevel, and untrustworthy staircase in all of USC) and looping around the basement of the music school until I got lost in the green room of the Koger Center, I’ve come up with the following seven places that I believe are uncommon as a quality study spot, or unknown entirely.
1. Gambrell’s Rooftop Patio
The patio on Gambrell’s rooftop is one of those places you stumble upon while you’re trying to find an English or Poli-Sci class your sophomore year. Invisible from anywhere but a high-rise or the third floor of the building, the rooftop patio is one of the best places to get your study on at campus. Especially great during fall and winter afternoons, the patio has plenty of tables, a great view, and is completely quiet except those faint conversations from another study group that the wind carries.
2. Library Skywalk
OK, I’ll admit I don’t necessarily think this one isn’t known so much as it just isn’t used. The skywalk between T-Coop and the Hollings museum has floor-to-ceiling windows, and with all that natural light, it’s hard not to focus and feel at ease reading or catching up on an assignment. There’s plenty of plugs, cushy, grey seats that are super comfortable, and a Starbucks that is quite literally a few steps away. Plus, it's more removed from the rest of the library and mezzanine so the noise isn't a bother.
3. School of Public Health and Patio
No one has ever brought this to m attention, but I have to say: the outdoor patio of the public health building is incredibly nice. There are multiple tables, a soothing fountain, and although it’s outside, you’re tucked away into the corner of the building safe from the bustle of city noise. It's a great place to study and relax!
4. Barringer House Gardens
This little garden oozes serenity. It’s like if the Horseshoe had a baby with the Siebold House; it’s tiny, luscious, and peaceful. Although there’s only one table to do some work at, there’s a few benches and enough grass for two or three picnic blankets to lay down and do some work. Although it’s between Capstone, Columbia Hall, and Close-Hipp, the small but intense beauty and peace found here makes any study activity you do there worth it.
5. Barnwell College Stairs
I’ll be honest: I had no idea we had a Barnwell College the day before I wrote this. Barnwell College is one of those quiet, tan buildings that sits in the back corner of campus, and most of you might recognize it as the building east of the Horseshoe with the big pillars. It’s tucked back just enough to have a perfect quaintness to it, with long tree branches shading the tables, making them a great place to sit and get some reading done.
6. School of Journalism Rooftop Garden
One of the most serene spots to study on campus is a mix of both a rooftop and a garden, and that makes it one hell of a contender for this list. With a great view of the reflection pond, outdoor outlets, and multiple tables, the J-School Rooftop patio is another valuable location to study. It’s always calm, quiet, and has a charming up-scale vibe to it. It’s a great place to focus, spread all your books out, and soak in the motivation of all those artsy things in the Journalism School.
I’m sure you’re wondering if this is a joke, but I promise you it’s not. Tio's itself isn’t unknown, but the fact that it’s a great study spot is. Between free wi-fi, comfy booths, and cheap alcohol, where can you go wrong? During the daytime it’s fairly quiet, and let’s be honest, after all the work you’ve been putting in, you deserve a nice margarita. So why not set yourself up for success like the organizational wizard you are and get the booth nice and warm while you get your work done?