Newcastle University Robinson library

The library is obviously designed to be a place of study and most students found that they spent at least some of their study time there. It has several benefits:

  • Other students are around to take breaks with.
  • The IT resources are important aids in developing assignments and revision.
  • Being there can help demarcate this is study time and help retain focus and concentration

“I found that I work much better in the library, and just, I can’t work at home, I get too distracted.  Once I’m here, it’s fine and I don’t get distracted…  When I’m in the library, there’s the social pressure of not sitting and browsing, because everyone there is working, which is probably a misnomer, it’s more kind of ‘I’m there, everyone else is there’, but when I’m in the house I’ll go water all the plants or go do my washing, all those little things.”

Quilliams teahouse

However, most of the students we spoke with also acknowledged some limitations to ONLY working in the library:

  • The social aspects can take over from the study focus, this was particularly the case when busy as it become more difficult to find quiet study time.
  • The university is providing more study space all the time, particularly quiet study space, but at peak times gaining access to a PC or good desk space can be more difficult.

“I think it’s a distraction on a weekday because people are always like ‘Come out, come out’ and you’re like ‘Oh, okay then.’… I don’t feel my time is being well used in the library because you go in and it’s like “Oh, I’ll just have a panini, and I’ll get a coffee, and I’ll just have a chat for five minutes’, and then ‘Oh, we’ve been here an hour, we’re doing well aren’t we, let’s have a break."

For these reasons, students also balanced time spent studying in the library with finding other places to work.


Working at home

Working at home tended to be quieter and people found they could manage their time:

“I find it difficult to work when there are people around me, some people are good at that and enjoy going to the library, whereas… I’m used to peace and quiet when I work.  To be honest I would do the majority of work in my bedroom at home, and I didn’t really do very much on campus.”

There are still some things to think about when working at home that overlap a lot with The Social Life of a Student [hyperlink] to ensure the home space is a productive study space, particularly if it is a space shared with other people, whether that be other students, or friends or family.


Off-campus spaces to work

A final study location tip from students was to find places off campus to study. A few that were mentioned were:

  • Newcastle city centre is full of different cafes and coffee bars and they can provide a relaxed study space that is quieter than the library at peak times. One example given was Mark Toney’s Cafés on Grainger Street, Percy Street and Grainger Arcade.

Places in newcastle where you can work away from university


Spaces for taking a break and relaxing‌

For studying to be productive and sustained over time, it also needs to be balanced with time that is for relaxation and doing other things. Finding spaces where this can happen helps ensure that you make the time to take a break and go back to your studies feeling refreshed and ready to begin again. Several students talked about protecting these spaces as leisure spaces by never taking work to them.

Spaces and places to relax


Personal picture

  • Virtual Spaces – as well as taking yourself somewhere different, some students talked of the value also of virtual spaces to relax and unwind. For example, mediation and yoga APPs – particularly ones that you could access for free, e.g. http://www.chopra.com/ccl/10-minute-meditation-breaks

Take home message location