College life is a big adjustment, and although you might be tempted to hole up in your dorm room, the resources on campus for studying are extensive to say the least. If you live on the University of New Mexico’s main campus, check out these top five spots so you can study comfortably.
5. Dane Smith Hall
Dane Smith Hall is a three-story multipurpose building just a minute’s walk from Zimmerman Library or the Duck Pond. You’ll probably have at least one course in Dane Smith during your first year, as it accommodates several core classes required by UNM. While the second and third levels are mainly classrooms, the first floor is home to a large area of various chairs and tables, perfect for quick group meetings before class or a last-minute cram session before an exam.
Not only is there ample seating, but you can head to the in-house cafe for a drink, snack or lunch if you’re short on time. I found that the cafe was an invaluable resource if I needed an easy pick-me-up before or after class.
You can also head outside of Dane Smith’s first floor to find covered seating. This area is great if you want to spend some time outside but aren’t too keen on the intense New Mexico sun.
4. The Collaborative Teaching and Learning Building (CTLB)
You won’t necessarily have a class in the CTLB this semester, but you’re sure to walk by it every day if you live in the dorms. Near Hokona Hall, students can run in for a bite to eat at the Einstein Bros. Bagels on the CTLB’s first floor (which is my favorite part of the building).
If you need to do some studying, there are tables in Einstein's area as well as around other parts of the building. The main perk of the CTLB is definitely the array of foodstuffs available from Einstein’s. If you ever want an easy, accessible break from La Posada dining hall, give the CTLB a try for a bagel and coffee (and, of course, studying!).
3. The Duck Pond
While certainly not the most traditional study space, the grassy, hilly area around the Duck Pond is an amazing place to study, catch up with friends and enjoy the random, sometimes frenzied sounds of ducks and water splashing.
The Duck Pond offers a more scenic background, so a break from reading and rereading that essay can be as simple as a glance up from the computer. I’ve found that getting out of my room and doing my coursework by the Duck Pond helps clear my head and refresh my state of mind so ultimately, I can focus better.
There’s really no way to miss the Duck Pond — it’s right next to Dane Smith and Zimmerman Library. When you have some time after class, take a minute to explore the expansive area and scope out your perfect study spot.
2. The Fine Arts and Design Library
This beautiful building is directly across from the UNM Bookstore, so you’ll likely see the massive staircase before the semester even begins. Up the elevator and into the Fine Arts and Design Library on the fourth floor there sits a huge study space, complete with long tables, reservable private rooms and a sweeping collection of arts-related materials.
Even if you aren’t a part of the fine arts community here on campus, this library is home to one of the best views. Two of the four walls are entirely windows and if you’re lucky enough to snag a window seat, the natural light is a life-changer.
A short walk across the street and you’ll end up at Frontier or Saggio’s — both are great options when in dire need of fuel. I wish I had discovered this space sooner because I no doubt would have utilized it regularly as a first-year student.
1. Zimmerman Library
The holy grail of studying, Zimmerman Library is perfectly sandwiched between the Student Union Building and the path that most of UNM’s dorm buildings are built on. The Starbucks on the ground level is a major hit with students, whether you stay to study or not.
During the first part of my freshman year, I made the mistake of not exploring this amazing library and sticking to the learning commons of the ground floor. This area is great for group projects or solo studying, and comes equipped with standing desks and printing stations too. However, the best part of the ground level of Zimmerman is by far the West Wing.
Looking for a studying atmosphere that echoes “Harry Potter?” The West Wing is the place for you. Rows of tables supplied with easy-access outlets and USB plugs makes for a functional area where you can live out your dark academia dreams. The volume difference between the Learning Commons and the West Wing alone is motivation for you to check it out if you’re in desperate need of some truly quiet studying.
My favorite (and my most frequented) part of Zimmerman is the basement. Another generally quiet space, the basement offers tables, private rooms and comfy chairs with built-in desks. An established routine I had before the pandemic was grabbing some coffee from Starbucks on the main floor before heading down to the basement during midterms and finals. The energy of the basement is calm and productive, and I’ve spent many nights cranking out papers undisturbed in the quiet comfort of the basement.
The basement also houses a wide-ranging catalogue of materials, from dissertations to old video tapes. If I ever need a break, I’ll take ten minutes to roam the aisles of books and other documents; occasionally I’ll discover something truly obscure. A treasure hunt is a great way to reinvigorate yourself if you’re ever feeling burnt out.
Still, don’t forget the second and third floors! There you have access to even more tables and chairs to work at. Most of the actual books are kept on these levels, so head on up if you’re looking for a new novel to sink your teeth into. The third floor is also home to the Center for Academic Program Support (CAPS), where you can get free tutoring and help with assignments.
Zimmerman is a favorite student hangout and, with seemingly endless corridors to explore, you’re bound to find a space for you.
I’ve found each space listed to be uniquely qualified to get me in the right headspace to crank out a big paper or pull an all-nighter studying for finals. Don’t stress in the same place you sleep — take a look at these places before classes start and find out which one’s your favorite.
Emma Trevino is the culture editor at the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @itsemmatr