Student Voices: My top study spots at UAlberta | Work of Arts
Student Voices: My top study spots at UAlberta | Work of Arts

Student Voices: My top study spots at UAlberta

Need a new study spot? Fourth year student Ashton Mucha lists her favourite places to study on campus — from the Harry Potter Room to locations with easy access to coffee

Student Voices is a WOA blog feature that presents the experiences and point of views of current Arts students around campus. Get to know our creative and passionate students through their “voices” and get a snapshot of life as an Arts undergrad. The views and opinions expressed within these student voices posts are solely those of the author. 

I was hesitant to write this blog post — part of me is certain you’ve already found your favourite places to study, and the other part didn’t want to share my favourites because they’re top secret. But with final exams slowly approaching, I figured I may as well share some of my library wisdom with all of you. So, without further ado, here are my top three favourite places to study on campus (in no particular order):


So the secret is out: I love Rutherford Library. It’s my second home. I’m partially biased because it’s second nature for me to write multiple research papers in a semester, but I can honestly say I feel privileged to have access to the second largest research library in Canada!

Rutherford North

There are many different places for you to study in Rutherford North or South. If you prefer working at a table in a more open environment, maybe the Study Hall and Reading Room on the 2nd floor in Rutherford South (also known as the “Harry Potter Room”) is the place for you. Or if you’re able to focus better in smaller areas, then check out the cubicles in Rutherford North.

Even though it’s not necessarily a typical study spot, I do recommend that you go to the Bruce Peel Special Collections Library located on the lower level of Rutherford South. In my first year at the University of Alberta I didn’t know much about it. It wasn’t until last year that I actually checked it out. One of the highlights for me was being able to see and touch the first edition of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. And that’s just one of the 100,000 rare books the collection houses.

Why I love it

You’ll probably find me in Rutherford North on the fourth floor in a cubicle (especially between classes) because I don’t need a lot of room, there’s plug-ins and I have easy access to any sources that I may require for a paper. It’s also close to HUB for when I’m feeling hungry.

I feel privileged to have access to the second largest research library in Canada.

Although there’s several other tables and cubicles in Rutherford North, I find myself going back to the same cubicles on the fourth floor. It might be because I know I’ve written successful papers in that very spot (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?), but I’m starting to think I have a minor attachment to the space. Like I said, it’s my second home; all I need is a pillow and a blanket and I’m good to go!

John W. Scott Health Sciences Library

It’s commonly referred to as “Med Sci” because of its location. It’s not exactly an Arts library, but you’re still welcome even if you’re not aspiring nurses or pharmacists.Med Sci

There’s three floors, each differing in levels of quietness. The lowest level isn’t the silent floor, but most people tend to migrate there because it is the largest study space with a variety of tables, cubicles (with lights and plug-ins!) and computers.

Why I love it

When a friend introduced me to the library, my first thought was “Wow, my backpack is way too heavy for me to be lugging it this far on a regular basis,” but the more I committed to the trek, the more rewarding the library became.

They’ll be times when I’ll forget how late it is because the light in my cubicle keeps the illusion alive that there’s still sunlight outside. It’s not until the announcement, “THE LIBRARY WILL BE CLOSING IN FIFTEEN MINUTES,” snaps me out of my study trance that I realize maybe it’s time to
pack up and go to bed.

I’d like to go to Med Sci on my last day at the U of A so I can hear that deafening announcement one last time. What better way to end my undergrad career than to be notified that in 15 minutes I will be kicked out of the building? How’s that for closure?

Edmonton Clinic Health Academy (ECHA)

Like Med Sci, this building is probably a far trek from your classes, but I promise it’s worth it.

On the lower level there’s a Quiet Study Hall that’s not as big as some of the other libraries, but it’s a neat little space filled with bright colours and cool artwork. There’s tables and booths (and some comfy couches). If you’re looking for something more private, there are also seminar rooms available.

Why I love it

I like the atmosphere! The bright colours really make studying more enjoyable (or as enjoyable as it can be). Typically I’ll use the seminar rooms on weekends when I’m with a group of people. Plus the Starbucks on the first floor is perfect for when you need a coffee fix.

This is the place for me during finals. I usually set my alarm for 6:30 am, and by 7:00 or 7:30 am, I’m searching the halls for a seminar room, and my friend will be arriving with breakfast and coffees to fuel us for a long day of studying. Okay, so there may have been a few tears shed in those rooms (I feared that I’d fail my Logic final . . . which I didn’t), garbages overflowing with Earls to-go boxes and Starbucks cups (I spent how much?!), and many late nights (does the LRT even run at this hour?), but I keep coming back because I know it’s a spot where I can be productive. Maybe I’ll even come back once I’m finished my undergrad degree — if not for the ghosts of finals past, then for the best coffee on campus.

I hope I’ve provided you with some insight into my favourite study spots and maybe even inspired you to try them out at some point throughout the semester!

Good luck to everyone in your remaining midterms and upcoming final exams!

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About Ashton Mucha

Ashton Mucha

I'm Ashton Mucha, and I'm in my fourth and final year of my undergraduate degree with major in English and a minor in Philosophy. I am fortunate enough to have been attending the University of Alberta for the entirety of my university career, and I'm looking forward to potentially continuing my education at the U of A in the English graduate program. I love being involved with and taking advantage of the various opportunities and events that UAlberta has to offer. I recently volunteered as an orientation leader for transfer and mature students entering the University of Alberta for Fall 2014. I can confidently say that I am proud to be a UAlberta student, so I was very pleased to show the new students around our beautiful campus and give them any information or advice for their first year. Thanks to the Education Abroad program, I will be finishing the remainder of my final year and the winter semester (yes, I get to skip the snow) at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. I'm interested in learning about Australian literature and comparing it to the types of Canadian, American and British literature that I have learned about over the past few years!