The Virginia Tech freshman experience is a magical, hectic time. New Hokies must adjust to living on their own, finding new friends, joining clubs and many other facets of the Hokie lifestyle. It is a fun and often chaotic experience, and the adjustment to classes at Tech is a similar journey.
Compared to high school, college courses demand a lot of time outside of the classroom. Thus, having a good area to study is often an overlooked necessity as a freshman. When delving into group projects, late-night study sessions or quick reviews before classes, knowledge of the multitude of study spaces on campus is invaluable. There are a large variety of places to study on campus, and I would like to highlight a few of my favorites from my three years as a Hokie.
Newman Library is one of the most well-known study spaces on campus. It offers a variety of helpful resources to make a variety of study styles more productive. The odd-numbered floors are silent floors and even-numbered floors have no restrictions on noise.
The odd-numbered floors at Newman Library are perfect spots for long study sessions that require tight focus. Because they are silent floors, there is little to no noise at any time, letting students become completely immersed in the work they are doing. This silence combined with Newman’s long hours and abundance of power outlets makes the library a perfect place for late-night cram sessions. Personally, I recommend taking the higher floors for a beautiful, refreshing view while studying.
The even-numbered floors are great for group study. There are many large tables as well as reservable, private rooms that provide plenty of space for a variety of group sizes. Even-numbered floors also provide access to several whiteboards to allow for collaborative thinking during group meetings. These resources make it easy for groups to share and illustrate ideas with each other easily to support collaborative learning. Overall, Newman Library is a spacious study space that serves both solo and group study sessions well.
The dining halls at Virginia Tech,aside from consistently serving some of the best campus food in the country, are also underrated study spots. Two of the best places to study on campus can be found in the dining halls: D2 at Dietrick Hall and Owens Hall’s dining area.
D2, like all other dining halls on campus, has a great amount of space for both solo and group study sessions. What sets it apart as an exceptional study space on campus is its buffet-style food service. After paying for entry, students can stay as long as they want and eat however much they want at D2. This makes D2 a perfect place for lengthy study sessions, providing students with food to graze on to keep their energy up throughout the day. I have studied for many finals from breakfast until dinner at D2.
Owens Hall is one of the other dining halls on the academic side of campus. It is not as large as D2 and is not a buffet, but the number of separate tables in the dining room makes it a great place to study. Owens is often quiet during the day, as it is on the academic side of campus and many students go to Turner Place between classes. Owens is also well-lit with many windows, making it a great environment to keep energy up during short study sessions between classes. Students willing to make the trek across the Drillfield will be rewarded with a pleasant study space next to some delicious food at Owens Hall.
A few of the majors at Virginia Tech have a dedicated study lounge on campus. These areas are often where teaching assistants (TAs) will gather to offer help with studying and also provide space for groups to work together on projects. New students should check if their department has a dedicated study lounge on campus.
Being a computer science major, I spent a lot of time in McBryde Hall’s computer science lounge. This was one of my favorite places, as it gave easy access to TAs while I worked on a project. I could also talk through difficult concepts with other computer science majors in the room and make new connections in my major. Because everyone is studying the same thing, major-specific study lounges are an invaluable resource both for studying and making new friends.
Dormitory Common Areas
An important part of the freshman experience at Tech is living on campus, and this experience often comes with a roommate. Because students are sharing rooms with one another, it could be courteous to use common areas instead of the room if a study session goes late at night to allow a roommate to sleep at a normal hour. Many dorms on Tech’s campus have a common area on each floor, so freshmen should scope out their floors on move-in day to identify where these places are. These common areas often have a few tables and outlets, so they can certainly harbor a late-night cram session that won’t wake up any roommates. Some even have televisions, so they could be used for more laid-back work with friends.
At the end of the day, finding a study space that works best comes with some experimentation. I recommend that freshmen take some time to explore the campus once they arrive and find some cozy places where they would be able to spend a few hours to study. Becoming familiar with the spaces around campus and finding what works best is a great way to maximize study time and gives more time to explore everything else the Hokie experience has to offer. Finding new friends and exploring the campus are exciting parts of being a freshman, but make sure to remember that we are all here to learn as well.