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University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
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Studying without Stu(dying)


November 21, 2019

Life Hacks Living in LA

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I don’t know about you, but I’m easily distracted by my environment. As soon as I sit down to study, my brain convinces me that my entire house needs to be deep cleaned this instant, or that I need to meal prep for the next 2 weeks, or it suddenly reminds me of an errand I need to run that I’ve been putting off and is obviously not time sensitive. If I manage to win that internal battle and remain at my desk, then my bed starts to look incredibly cozy and warm and before I know it, I’m wrapped up in there like a burrito and hours have passed . . . Unfortunately, I just cannot study for long periods of time in the comfort of my own room or home. If you just nodded in agreement, this post is for you. 👉

After trying to study in various places around my house, I’ve found a few favorites that always get the productive juices in me flowing. I live near the main campus, UPC, so I usually study somewhere around there.

  1. The Village
    This is my favorite spot of all time. There are tables and chairs in the plaza next to a fountain, where numerous undergraduate and graduate students sit down to study or chat with friends. It’s outdoors, so I love being able to feel the calming breeze while soaking up some SoCal sun. There’s a Trader Joe’s, Target, and various shops surrounding the plaza, so I can always run for a snack or meal if I get hungry. If I need an outlet or I want to go indoors because I’m baking in the sun, there are cafés like Dulce and Starbucks that still promote productivity. When I need a quick break, I just look up from my books or laptop and people-watch. It may sound strange, but it’s really interesting to see all these different lives and situations coming together in one place. I just like to gaze around the plaza and see what people (and their dogs) are up to. I could study here for hours.
  2. USC village

    Tables and chairs in the USC Village plaza

  3. Doheny Library
    My second favorite is Doheny Library. In my opinion, it’s the prettiest library at USC. I go here when I really need to concentrate and grind out some work because it’s quieter than the Village and there are less people. It also kind of makes me feel like I’m in a Harry Potter movie, so I guess that helps too. There’s a study hall in the corner of this library where the ceiling is high, books line all of the walls, and there are numerous long tables for students to sit at. It gets an ample amount of natural light and outlets are conveniently located. Just sitting in the room instantly makes me feel more intelligent and motivated.

  4. Doheny Library

    Study hall at Hogwa—I mean, Doheny Library

  5. Any coffee shop
    I won’t go into much detail about this one because there are hundreds of influencers out there that can do a much better job than I can of ranking aesthetically pleasing LA coffee shops. But, I just wanted to point out the existence of numerous aesthetically pleasing LA coffee shops. Once you start exploring, the possibilities are endless. Just Google “best LA coffee shops” and you’re good to go. (Side note: The next place on my coffee exploration list is Blue Bottle because a dear friend got me a gift card. I’m pretty excited to try it this finals week.) Sitting down with a nice cup of coffee in a well-decorated space with relaxing music is always a good indicator of a productive day.

Finals week is coming up and it seems to be a tough time for a lot of people, but the least you can do is study in a space that makes you feel relaxed and comfortable. You’ll definitely find me in one of these three places these coming weeks. Don’t forget to get some sun, listen to some music, eat well, sleep well, and good luck!