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Echo-Location: Places to study

By Hannah Schanzer

It’s really hard to do homework at home.  Alone in your room, you have a  computer which has Netflix, Facebook, Twitter and an endless supply of  videos of gorillas doing sign language to distract you.  Worst of all, no one is checking up on you to make sure you’re working.   In order to get homework done,  most students need to leave their homes.  Chapel Hill has a number of places that are great for studying, but some are better than others.

Starbucks provides a convenient location, but like other locations, it has its trade-offs.

A popular study location for students is the Starbucks at Eastgate.   As study places go, it is somewhat of a mixed bag.  On the positive side, there is a wide array of drinks, good alternates for hot and cold weather, tasty pastries and a cozy environment for studying.  Starbucks is also in Eastgate mall, which has a variety of useful stores that you can drop by before or after studying.  On the negative side, music is always playing which can be distracting.  It is also dimly lit, and drinks are overpriced, especially for their size and quality.  Because the tables are so close together, you can hear the conversations of the people around you whether you like it or not.  Studying at Starbucks is only recommended if you have work you want to do alone on a laptop in a cozy chair.  If not, look elsewhere.

Caffe Driade's colorful interior decorating.
Caffe Driade’s colorful interior decorating.

If you find coffee chains to be too mainstream, you could always try studying at the exclusive hipster destination Caffe Driade, located up street from Sunrise.  The cafe is really lovely, the inside has a vintage, artsy feel and seating outside is situated in amidst a beautiful forest.  The coffee is high quality and the rest of drinks and pastries are also delicious.  That being said, it is probably the worst place for doing work.  The tables are so tiny that you can’t even fit an open binder on them and there aren’t very many of them inside so you are forced to work outside.  Working outside is fine during the day, but when the sun goes down the only thing illuminating the tables are christmas lights that don’t shed enough light to allow you to work.  You also have to deal with mosquitoes while working in the forest, which can be a pain and a distraction.  Furthermore, the food and coffee are very expensive and the WiFi is not free.  It is a really nice cafe to drop by and catch up with an old friend, but a terrible place to get any work done.   Studying at Driade is only recommended if you are looking for a serene place to read a book.

The Chapel Hill Public Library now offers a multitude of study spaces.
The Chapel Hill Public Library now offers a multitude of study spaces.

The Chapel Hill Public Library, located on Estes Road, is a very different study scene from your classic coffee shop.  People don’t come to the library to get coffee and chat, they come to work.  If you are loud, you will get stern judging looks from the people around you trying to get work done in solitude.  The tables are all very spacious, the lighting is nice and you don’t have to buy a five dollar latte to get in.  What the library has over other study destinations is its vast collection of resources readily available; computers, encyclopedias and printers are all at your disposable.  The only downside of the library is that it is not a great place for group study sessions.  With its quiet atmosphere, loud groups of teens yelling at each other are not welcome.  Although it does have the cubed study rooms, contrary to popular belief, those walls are NOT soundproof.  Additionally there is no place to buy brain food if you’re hungry.  Overall the library is the best location for solitary studying or studying with only one other person.

Foster's Market
The homey decor of Foster’s Market.

The best restaurant to do homework is at Foster’s Market, located next to Flyleaf books on Martin Luther King Blvd.  It has tables of all sizes that are all spread a comfortable distance apart, good lighting and no music.  It also has all kinds of food including sandwiches, salads and pizza, along with coffee and other tasty beverages.  Although it is a bit pricey, Foster’s uses all natural locally grown fruits and vegetables that are in season.  Out of all of the places on this list, Foster’s is the best place to go to study by yourself or in large groups. Also it has the added bonus that when you buy food, you are not only supporting the Market, but also the community.

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