Coffee shops: usefulness to students, studying

Julia Wasik, News/Opinion Editor

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Many students can relate to feverishly turning pages, rifling through heavy binders, and battling drooping eyelids all while trying to concentrate the night before a big exam. To add to this, sitting at home trying to concentrate on schoolwork is never as easy as it sounds. It is super easy to get distracted at home because there are so many options that target one’s willpower; there are dogs to pet, siblings to annoy, YouTube videos to watch, video games to play, and “Stranger Things” episodes to catch up on. Sound familiar to you? Keep reading.

“​There’s definitely a ‘vibe’ that a coffee shop exudes that I just can’t get at home,” said junior Jake Gately. “I think it’s the forced productivity that completely changes my attitude about studying. I physically drive myself to a location for the purpose of studying, so if I’m wasting my time then I’ll feel dumb about going out of my way. So to avoid that feeling, I get serious work done and end up feeling double-accomplished.”

Gately is not the only one to feel this way.

“I feel very alert and focused because I’m in a new environment,” said senior Tyler Cinq-Mars. “At home I’ve spent countless hours relaxing, so it kind of reminds me of being in a non-work space and it becomes difficult to be productive.” In addition to the psychological impact of going somewhere else to study, the social aspect of studying in a coffee shop is also important.

“I enjoy being around other people who are also working and it helps keep me motivated,” said senior Hannah Oelschlager. “I am also slightly self-conscious if I know other people can see what I am doing, which helps me stay off Twitter and Snapchat. I also enjoy the white noise of people around me.”

With a little productive consciousness and some social influence, a coffee shop is a good recipe for productive, even creative, vibes. A study from the University of Illinois found that individuals came up with more creative product ideas when exposed to ambient sound at around 70 decibels (the reported average volume of a coffee shop). For students, this would be concocting an original introduction idea for a final essay, or even an idea for a scholarship essay.

Furthermore, coffee shops provide another useful study tool: coffee! Consuming coffee while studying allows the brain to identify words and phrases more quickly, which is perfect for cramming before a test. Specifically, 200 milligrams of caffeine or a venti sized coffee at Starbucks is enough to have these effects. Caffeine blocks adenosine receptors, which increase energy, memory, focus, and problem-solving.

While there are exceptions to what makes a student study successfully, and coffee shops are not the answer to all studying woes, they are a great option to help students study more effectively and avoid straying from a worksheet or Google doc into a long search history of YouTube videos.

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