As someone who deals with claustrophobia, studying in a crowded library or café does not work well for me. Over my 3 years here at Victoria, I have been able to find places that allow me to ground myself and study calmly, without the anxiety of a cramped space. Below I will list 8 places that I find relaxing and allow me to study at my best! This is in no way a definitive list of all the calm study places within Victoria and I would love everyone who reads this to add places they study at in the comments as well!
I have tried to compile a mix of places both outside and inside so you can choose either or depending on the weather and your needs!
- Mount Tolmie
Mount Tolmie is a great place to study if you can make it to the top. They have benches with wonderful views of the ocean all around as well as views of our beautiful city! The air is crisp and clean and reminds me that the world is not closing in around me, rather there is a natural vastness all around. The bottom of Mount Tolmie is about 700 meters or a ten minute walk from Finnerty Gardens, and the hike to the top is about 600 meters or 15 minutes. If you, understandably, do not feel like hiking to the top, you can drive as there is a parking lot at the top. Unfortunately, there is no public transportation to the top. Once at the top you can study on a bench or picnic table, or sprawling across a flat area of rocks! I would definitely recommend gathering some friends, bringing some snacks, and studying for a stressful exam up there for an hour or two – it makes the experience of studying much more enjoyable!
2. A private study space at the library
If you enjoy the ambiance of the library, but want a private experience you can book a private study room! This is great if you do not want to venture far from the ‘typical’ university study spot but still want your own space. With chairs, tables, a closable door, a whiteboard, and heating (!), this intimate study place allows you to feel like you’re in a familiar yet private place.
3. Finnerty Gardens
Finnerty Gardens is my personal favourite place to study and you can find me there almost everyday. It is a short five to ten minute walk from the Quad but is almost always empty. It is a nice hidden gem in the Uvic campus as most people aren’t aware of it. You can go for a nice walk through a beautiful garden, embrace nature and see different flowers, plants, (small) wildlife, and enjoy two nice ponds. The only downside is that there is no wifi nor tables, but there are benches, so make sure you bring physical copies of your readings or load them on your computer/phone/tablet before you make the trip over!
4. Learning Commons
The newest addition to my list is the Learning Commons in the MacLaurin Building. This is a great place to study if you can catch it when there is not a lot of people. It has two floors full of comfy chairs, tables with charging ports, beanbags that are perfect to relax or take a nap in, and four iMacs you can use. Additionally, there are two private study rooms here that you can use depending on their availability. The downside is that this place can get busy at times. In my experience, it tends to be busiest in the morning but starts to empty out around 1 pm. If you’ve never been here before it can be a bit tricky to find, so make sure you enter the D wing, go to the second floor, and you will find it right next to the stairs.
5. Your local Garden or Park
If you need to study but you’re not on campus and want to leave the distractions found in your house, I would definitely recommend going to your local garden or park. Being in nature always makes studying much more enjoyable in my experience and the fresh air is preferable to a stuffy room! Additionally, if you ever feel stressed while studying you are in a perfect place to pack up and go for a walk and enjoy the beauty around you. To find a park you can use Google maps and look what’s around your residence or go to the website of your local region. For example, this site for Oak Bay allows me to find parks around me and even sort them by what amenities they have. https://www.oakbay.ca/parks-recreation/parks-playgrounds/parks-listing
Here is the site for Saanich https://www.saanich.ca/EN/main/parks-recreation-community/parks/parks-trails-amenities/find-a-park.html
For Esquimalt (there is a picture of a map at the bottom of the site) https://www.esquimalt.ca/parks-recreation/parks
6. The chairs and tables set outside on campus
This one is great if you want to study between classes. You can find these around the Library. the MacLaurin building, and scattered around campus. You get to enjoy the fresh air while staying on campus. You have semi-comfortable chairs, a nice table, and you get to stay on campus wifi. Sometimes, UVIC pitches up tents around the tables to protect you from rain and wind and other times the tents are nowhere to be found. I am not sure why they’re there sometimes and not other times, so if you know why please write it below! Regardless, its a great place, but the only downside is the rush of people around you when class ends. Thankfully that only happens once every fifty to ninety minutes and will end after five to ten minutes. Other than that, it tends to be very quiet as not many are walking around as most people are in classes.
7. Clearihue after hours (ECS if you have the key)
If you find yourself on campus after hours when the majority of buildings are closed and classes are over, you can study at the Clearihue building. This building is open 24/7 and you can find a classroom and turn on the lights and study for as long as you want. Security walks through once in a while and will wake you up if you’re sleeping, but otherwise, in my experience, they do not care if you’re there studying. Otherwise, if you’re an engineering or computer science student you can buy a key to the ECS building and have 24/7 hour access there.
8. Multifaith Building
By Finnerty Gardens, the Multifaith Building is quiet, peaceful, and very comfy. If there is no event going on there it is very empty. Generally it will just be you and the receptionist. You can sit on a bench by the garden window, relax in the lounge, or sit in the congregation room. As a bonus, the Interfaith Chapel has the nicest washrooms on campus by a long shot.
The views expressed in this blog are my own, and do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the University of Victoria. I monitor posts and comments to ensure all content complies with the University of Victoria Guidelines on Blogging.