As a college student, I sometimes find myself in need of a quiet space to study or relax. Over my years at St. Mary’s, I have found a few spots on campus that appeal to me in this regard. For obvious reasons, I will not be disclosing their whereabouts. Instead, here is a list of quiet or secluded places that my friends and colleagues told me they enjoy frequenting. There is a lesson about moral hazard to be found somewhere in this article.
First, the least hip place on this list: the third floor of the library. Between the beanbag room and the open classrooms, the third floor is a treasure box of quiet space. The key to looting this treasure is having the cojones to ask a library staffer for access to a locked classroom. Even if all the rooms are full, practically any space along the wrap-around hallway serves as a decent study space, provided you don’t mind sitting on the floor.
For those who don’t suffer from claustrophobia, the basement of Goodpaster is a very fine place to work. The rooms and labs down there enjoy the kind of quiet only six feet of dirt, steel, and concrete can provide. The presence of fully stocked computer labs makes this basement about as attractive to a busy college student as the finest government bunkers. A word of warning: come nightfall, the stairwells that lead out of this sanctuary have a way of disappearing in a maze of hallways.
The physics lounge, in Schaefer Hall, is also a fine and dandy place to get some work done. Granted, the lounge is periodically overrun with physics majors; but it’s often free enough for socially-adept people to get work done as well.
Though not as conducive to studying, there are several benches on and near campus that are worth mentioning. First and foremost is the Undying Bench near Calvert. This bench was once demolished by the administration for mysterious reasons and under poorly explained circumstances. However, it gets its name from the fact that an identical bench has since emerged in its place. Overlooking the scenic riverfront, the Undying Bench has been, and will continue to be, the site of many a make-out session. The setting is romantic enough that first-year couples planning to visit the bench around sunset should probably buy an extra pair of shoes ahead of time, as they will almost certainly have a pair hanging behind Dorchester Hall by midnight.
There is a bench at the bottom of the hill leading up towards the admissions building, facing Route 5. This is a very fine place to relax so long as you do so at a time with minimal foot and automobile traffic. The same can be said for the benches behind the naked-ish stone man monument between Route 5 and the boathouse. Speaking of the boathouse, the upper floor, formally known as the Awesome Room, is not exactly a secret spot, but it is aptly named.
These are just a few of the many places near and on campus that can provide some peace and quiet, space to meditate, or that extra edge at the tail end of a date. The best places will be the ones you explore and find on your own. Like Christopher Columbus, remember that just because people may have known about a place for decades, doesn’t mean you can’t say you found it first. Also like Christopher Columbus, do not let yourself be intimidated. If you find people in a spot you want, shout manifest destiny at them until they leave. You could also try and share, but I won’t pretend to tell you how to live your life.