Oberlin Blogs

Good places to work

March 16, 2009

Chris Gollmar ’10

Sunday is my day to compose. After lunch at Fairkid, I usually head over to Mudd, where I park myself at one of the large tables on the fourth floor for a few hours. I like working there because there is a lot of natural light and the tables are large enough for me to spread out. It is also absurdly quiet, even for a library.

My ideal environment for studying or composing is quiet and wide open. It must be well lit and neither too hot nor too cold. And I like working at a table, not a carrel, desk, or booth. Mudd’s fourth floor fits these criteria perfectly. I think I get more composing done there than anywhere else.

Nevertheless, I decided I would take a few moments to share some of the other places I like to study around town.


Azariah’s is the café on the main level of Mudd. This is the only other part of the main library that I ever study in, which is probably because there are tables and natural light. It’s usually not quiet between 11 a.m. and midnight, though.

Conservatory lounge

This is an interesting space to work in because there are always people walking by. The movement keeps me alert (or distracted). Oh, and there’s a table and natural light.

My house

I live in Fuller House, which is an off-campus house owned by OSCA Properties, a non-profit organization that is related to the Oberlin Student Cooperative Association. It is by far the quietest place I can study in. The loudest sound is the furnace. I am also blessed with a very comfortable, spacious room that gets—you guessed it—a lot of natural light.

Review office

The office of The Oberlin Review is arguably the worst place to try and study. First of all, it is very cluttered. It is also in the basement of Burton Hall, meaning the only light the place gets is fluorescent. During the winter, occupants are subjected to strange banging noises coming from the heating pipes that run along the entire ceiling of the space. Still, I study there occasionally. Sometimes, it’s a good way to escape all other people.

Science Center atrium

Lots of light. I think it smells like the primate house at the Milwaukee County Zoo, though. However, there are tables. And potted plants.

Responses to this Entry

Black River. Great coffee, decent light. Free-ish on weekdays.

Posted by: Aries on March 16, 2009 8:30 AM

The Science Center atrium does not smell like monkeys.

Posted by: Lillie on March 16, 2009 10:34 AM

I've studied in the Review office really late at night before on a Monday evening. No one is there on non-layout nights, especially late.

Also, the 4th floor of Mudd is the best kept secret of the all the Oberlin libraries. It's wonderful.

Posted by: Ma'ayan on March 16, 2009 4:41 PM

Lillie, you're right. It smells more like apes than monkeys.

And Ma'ayan, I guess I shouldn't even have posted about the fourth floor. Now everybody is going to flock there…

Posted by: Chris on March 16, 2009 10:02 PM

I was actually hoping that you could let me use the Review office for some late-night studying sometime, Chris. I promise I won't perpetrate any inter-newspaper pranking. But I also should say that I always study with a can of spray paint, a bucket of fish heads, and a welder's torch. And accidents do happen.

Posted by: Will on March 16, 2009 10:24 PM

Sure, Will. Maybe we could even swap offices for the night. I'm sure The Grape has a nice space. I hate to lug them all the way across campus, but this week I've been studying with a flock of six ostriches, a football, and a stoplight. They are essential to my latest composition, so I know you won't mind me bringing them along.

Posted by: Chris on March 16, 2009 10:34 PM

How Cagean.

Posted by: Will on March 17, 2009 10:25 AM

Y'know, even if people read this and think, "4th floor Mudd party!" It's still a long walk and it's in a quiet zone. And if it's warm and sunny it's more likely that people are on the room rather than inside. Hence, I doubt it will become the academic commons.

When I study, I need to have the entirely of The Sauce (R.I.P) playing a live set while OCircus's tumbling sector does a choreographed routine with the rugby girls. Now that The Sauce is gone, I'm finding it much harder to study. Sigh. Actually, I have no idea how I studied before Oberlin. Hmm.

Posted by: Ma'ayan on March 18, 2009 9:52 AM

Having already spent the better part of tonight working on the fourth floor, I can already list two reasons why I think this will remain a safe spot for you guys:

1) All of the tables I saw that get good light are also away from electrical outlets, which means that if you're me, and you have computer-based homework/procrastinatory (forgive the neologism) web surfing that requires more than three hours' time to complete, then you'll need to hug the walls. Which can be done on any floor of the library.

2) It's f***ing creepy up here, all alone, at night. I feel like I'm a file clerk working the graveyard shift at a hospital. A hospital that probably just had a bunch of vampires delivered to the morgue, and after they wake up and make short work of some poor sap mortician they'll totally come after me, and I'll hear something rustle over in the corner and call out something like "Ramirez? Ramirez, is that you?" but obviously it isn't Ramirez, it's a freakin' vampire who's totally going to go to town on me, and by "me" I mean my imagined file clerk alter ego. Also, the hospital was built on an Indian burial ground. And it's run by Satanists, and is home to the "Minnie and Roman Castavet Maternity Ward."

...back to work.

Posted by: Will on March 18, 2009 10:04 PM

Oy, Will, I think you need a break...

Posted by: David on March 18, 2009 10:42 PM

I do agree with you, Will, that the fourth floor is definitely better when it's not dark outside, although it should be nice to hear the rain up there tonight.

Posted by: Chris on March 18, 2009 10:46 PM

I will take a break. It'll be about a week long, and start this Saturday. Until then... (But hey, things could be worse. I could be Chris Dodd.)

Chris, the sound of the rain was quite nice, once the loathsome "a capella study break" ended. (For those not in the know, it's something of an Oberlin tradition for the school's a capella groups to give a brief--but not brief enough--informal concert outside of the library during mid-terms. I get that there are people who like a capella, just like I get that there are people who vote libertarian and there are people who read danielle steele novels. But I think they're all crazy.)

Posted by: Will on March 19, 2009 12:23 AM

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