Short answer: no. There’s no one perfect way to study, and there’s no one perfect study space. While we’d all love a little corner desk near a window facing a meadow (maybe just me), finding your ideal study nook is about using what you’ve got. After all, making do with working from our couches and kitchen benches was the motto of lockdown. If finding a study space is stopping you from actually studying, here's your permission to let that go. We've taken a look at the study spaces of some current students and the results are in: anything goes.

The Fortress of Solitude

Lewis, studying Screen Production, takes the concept of being ‘in the zone’ to the extreme. Cocooned in audio and visual stimulation, there’s a screen to the left, a screen to the right, music blasting straight into the ears, snacks and a caffeine source. Everything you could ever need to keep a laser focus, except for a ‘do not disturb’ sign taped to your back. Although there’d be nothing wrong with that.  

“I need classical music playing through my headphones. I need no one to look at me or speak to me. I need multiple screens on so I can have all my resources and my writing on the computer at the same time.”  

The One-Stop Shop

For those strapped for space like Science and Media student, Ingrid, a bedroom can become the nucleus of their lives. It can be decorated to your taste, but also as dishevelled as required, because you’re never going to be inconveniencing anyone with your mess when the space is totally your own. Ingrid works, rests and plays in the one room, sweeping whatever clutter she has on her desk to the edges and setting her homework in the middle – and when it’s time for a break, the bed is right there for a little mid-study sesh nap.  

“I thought this would be much more aesthetically pleasing; it just made me notice that my fern is dead.”

The Sanctum of Study – AKA The Library

Science student, Riddhi, finds the library a productivity haven. There is no escape from your own work when you’re in a library. No TV in the next room over to flick on a 45 min episode of Gilmore Girls as a study break after 20 minutes of hard work. And everyone else in a library is likely engaging in some mind-enhancing task. While some of the cyborgs living among us can get to work unprompted, you might need some studious eggheads in the room, poring over textbooks and peer-reviewed papers to inspire you into action.

“I like to study wherever there’s space in a library or on campus. I reckon if there’s a lot to study though, I’d rather work in groups with peers.”

The Cafe Hot Desk

Viola, studying Media and Comms, takes the opportunity to tour the city with her uni work, participating in Melbourne’s café culture with study fuelled by coffee, sauteed mushrooms and hashbrowns. Like the library, the usual distractions of home aren't there to win your attention. Especially if you’re there on your own. Sure, there’s your phone to vie for your focus, but a person at a café refreshing their Tik Tok feed might look awkward and unoccupied. But someone behind the laptop, highlighter in hand, notebook to the left of them, latte to the right – that’s an academic weapon being sharpened.  

“Some of the cafes around town are really looking out for us with student discounts and charging stations. Others get a little cheesed that you’re sitting there for ages having only ordered a drink. But if a café is going to be annoyed that you’re taking up a table for five hours, they shouldn’t offer free Wi-Fi.”

The Family Home Office

For Design student, Poppy, living at home with the family is the most convenient option. When you have parents that work from home and/or siblings that are also students, living at home with the family can make for a little bit of elbow nudging for desk space, a snake pit of cords and cables and less than lightning-fast internet speeds. It’s a covid classic that lives on for many of us.  

“It is shared with my siblings, a rowing machine and a mini fridge filled with more Pepsi Max than a family should consume in a lifetime.”  

The Nomadic Desk

Spencer’s desk was originally intended for productive work, but quickly devolved into the stuff of Marie Kondo’s nightmares. But that’s ok. He’s managed to get through a Master of Civil Engineering floating between the perfectly suitable dining table, the more than adequate kitchen island and the comfort of a decades-old couch. With a desk made redundant by his collection of junk, he’s proof that you can get by without any desk at all.

“I actually don’t study here. I pick my laptop up and go anywhere else.”

Whatever you end up with and wherever gets your brain juices flowing, your study space will be one-of-a-kind, just like you. If you’re not sure you’ve got the space in your life to study, we urge you to not let that put you off from starting your uni career. Whether you’ve got an entire home library, or only a portable lap desk to use while sitting on your bed, we know you’ve got it in you to make it work and ace your study goals.  

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