The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Top spots to study on campus when it’s dark

Read for a ranking of the top five study spots for night owls!
Lexie Perez
Graphic depicting a stick figure studying late at night. (Hustler Multimedia/Lexie Perez)

With finals season around the corner, now is the time to prepare a game plan of how to tackle your end-of-semester exams. During this time of year, many Vanderbilt students spend hours burning the midnight oil out of necessity. But where can you go? Your dorm gets distracting after a while, outside is cold and dark and most cafés are not open past sundown, so the options become limited. But don’t fret, grab a Celsius and let’s get started!

5. Commons Center solar tables

To start the list, Commons Center provides outdoor tables with solar-powered charging and lights. While undesirable by some, it proves useful when you’re in a pinch and craving fresh air. It also provides a convenient space for eating a quick meal from the Commons Center Munchie Mart as a study break for first-year students. The drawbacks of this choice include exposure to weather and a long distance from most upperclassmen dorms.

A solar table by Commons Center, as photographed on April 6, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/George Albu) (George Albu)

4. Calhoun Hall

Described as having the exterior of a run-down hospital, Calhoun is admittedly a controversial pick. I have first-hand experience with studying in Calhoun, with many nights last semester spent on the fourth floor “locking in” for my Gen Chem exams. Unlike other academic halls on campus, it remains open to Vanderbilt students late into the night, making it handy for indoor studying. Calhoun has pretty good heating in the winter alongside plenty of tables per floor with available outlets for charging devices. Also, with the repair of the elevator, this option allows for late-night studying without walking many flights of stairs. The lack of life after hours is also a major plus for those who need near-total silence to work.

3. Stevenson Library

The expected choice and the strong middle-of-the-pack runner, Stevenson Library is the classic choice for Vanderbilt students looking for a study space. Being the only library on campus that is open 24 hours on most days, the Science and Engineering Library has long been a hub for those looking to do last-minute cram sessions. The main point that keeps Stevenson Library from being the prime choice on the list is the busyness before major exams, which makes finding a spot difficult at times, and the presence of ambient noise for some sensitive studiers out there. 

2. Residential Lounges

Often overlooked as just an extension of the dorm room, residential hall lounges can be excellent spots for group studying if done effectively. Often providing all the basics for studying, the proximity to the dorm room makes it excellent for those who frequently need to come and go from their dorm for impromptu school supplies and snacks. The downside of this choice is the same as the upside: the people. Easily distracted studiers or students who can’t resist laying down at the sight of their bed should steer clear from this option!

1. Divinity School Lounge

This graduate school is not an obvious choice for studying, but the lounge makes for an excellent choice for studying late at night. The absence of people alongside the open environment of the lounge makes for a welcoming study space. Also, the ample variety of comfortable seating and access to a coffee machine — with complimentary coffee and tea — makes for an excellent choice for people looking to burn the midnight oil.
In all, it is important to know that after-hours does not mean the end of the world for night owls. From outside tables to lounges, Vanderbilt’s campus is chock-full of spots for those willing to explore the off-the-path study spaces. 

Honorable Mention: Stevenson Center 

Although Stevenson Library is already mentioned, the rest of Stevenson Center offers ample spots for late-night studying with unlocked classrooms and benches with tables on the upper floors of the complex. Although rarely busy at night, the come-and-go of students still occurs in almost all areas of the center, making it difficult to get perfect distraction-free studying. Also, many of the studying spots provided are in cramped lecture-hall seats or on benches with little padding, making long-term studying more of a chore on your body than your mind.

Photograph of tables with benches on the ninth floor of Stevenson Center Five, as photographed on April 6, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/George Albu) (George Albu)
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About the Contributors
George Albu
George Albu, Staff Writer and Photographer
George Albu (‘27) is majoring in medicine, health and society in the College of Arts and Science. When not working for The Hustler, he enjoys taking long walks around campus, reading or watching video essays about anything and everything online. He can be reached at [email protected].
Lexie Perez
Lexie Perez, Graphics Editor
Lexie Perez (‘26) is from Northern Virginia and is majoring in climate studies and human and organizational development and minoring in business in the College of Arts and Science. She enjoys listening to 70s and 80s pop music, doing the daily Wordle and rooting for the Nashville Predators and Cincinnati Bengals. She can be reached at [email protected].
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