The lure of studying away from home

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Maria Vaaler

Maddie Murphy studies at local coffee shop, Coffee Hound, after a busy day at school.

Maria Vaaler, Student Life Editor

As students in high school face an increasingly demanding homework load, many students turn to studying at places outside of their homes. While students’ conscious decisions to do so vary, research suggests that their underlying reasoning may be the same.

Public meeting locations such as coffee shops offer a variety of benefits to students wanting to meet up and work on a group project or study for a couple of hours. Not only are these places easily accessible and open for many hours after school gets out, but they offer a relatively quiet and calming atmosphere that limits distractions found at home such as Netflix or the temptation to take a nap.

Senior Maddie Murphy, who often studies at coffee shops after school, said that doing so helps keep her accountable for getting her work done. “I tell my mom, ‘Hey I’m going to Coffee Hound to study’ and I actually do it because there’s more purpose for me” she said. “By tying in something I love to something that can be stressful or taxing like studying, it’s easier to get my work done with a more motivated attitude.”

Recent research suggests that there are benefits beyond the calm atmosphere and lessened distractions offered by these locations. A study published in the Psychonomic Bulletin & Review concluded that if two individuals are working on similar tasks within the vicinity of one another, and one is putting in tremendous effort, so will the other individual. “These results provide a first compelling demonstration that the exertion of effort is contagious,” the journal said.

For many students, the social aspect of working in a place with people coming and going is what leads them to study in a public space. For others, it is the added benefit of a calm environment with lessened distractions. Yet, the lesser-known benefits of studying while surrounded by others who are doing the same, have not gone completely unnoticed.

Senior Preksha Kedilaya, a barista at Coffee Hound, said she has often noticed that students seem to benefit from working in an environment filled with others there for similar reasons. “The environment is very calm and encouraging. Seeing others focused and trying to get things done encourages students to do the same,” she said.

Whether students are choosing to stay away from home for social purposes, convenience or even just the opportunity to get a snack or coffee while working, they also may be increasing their productivity and effort simply by being around others who are putting in the work.