Second Time Around: Hitting the Books


What is life really like as a transfer? Join me as I figure out the answer to this question! My name is Rachel Gross and this is my Second Time Around.

Speaking from personal experience, the college I transferred from was a whole different academic environment than Brown. I feel that quite a few transfers can state just the same. So as a prospective transfer student, I am here to tell you, oh so gently, that…

  1. The workload is heavier than you may quite imagine.
  2. Every day presents the opportunity to get things done and crossed off the to do list… Use them wisely.
  3. I promise you will also have time for socializing and exploring on top of the schoolwork. Always make time for fun in order to refresh yourself and invigorate your studies.
  4. Find YOUR study spot. And don’t tell anyone where it is. Unless you really want to. 

For this article, I thought it could be fun to give you a quick run down of the study spots I have found most helpful towards actually accomplishing stuff because sometimes Starbucks is just too distracting. Yet you can certainly still find me there if you try!


Brown students could find many hours devoted to that comfy spot on that comfy floor in one of the many amazing libraries. The Rock Library is my personal favorite with little cubbies encircling each floor and gazing out onto the sights of Providence from windows. To me, it is a nice mix of work environment and occasional study day dreaming. The SciLi is a popular choice among the student body. With fourteen floors, there will always be a spot for you somewhere to work. I do recommend the Quiet Floor though if you need the completely silent space for working.

Dining Halls

Readers, please never disregard dining halls as only a place to eat and socialize! These also function as really great work spots especially if you find a spot in a slightly quieter area. The Ratty has a great back room which is usually less crowded than the other spaces. And the endless supply of coffee is a huge plus. A huge plus! The VDub also has a slight cafe feel with appropriate lighting and seating. I have found myself writing whole essays in the back room, making waffle after waffle. The Blue Room Cafe has a sitting area where many go to relax after class and eat some yummy baked goods and iced lattes (ask for Hazelnut syrup and you will not be disappointed). But above this main floor lies another quiet study area with the most beautiful views of the Main Green. With plenty of plushy armchairs and tables, a student is able to find a good workspace to tackle those hefty to dos.


Never knock the power your dorm can have on allowing you to accomplish a bunch of different tasks. I have found this semester that my dorm’s kitchen is a great work spot! A big table area, a window to get some air, a supply of food (that you bring of course), and a little background noise from the goings ons of the floor. Some dorms at Brown, aka New Dorm, actually have classrooms on the ground floors which students are free to occupy when they are not being used. If you get there early enough, you have a whiteboard to use for your notes or calculations or a spot to procrastinate and play Hang Man.


And finally, we have arrived at my favorite section. Working in cafes is always something I find myself doing. I love the flow of people searching for coffee, the creativity that infuses the air as groups meet to discuss new ventures over lattes and macchiatos, the hum of background noise that keeps my mind focused instead of dozing, and, of course, the availability of quick coffee or tea. I would study in cafes every single day if I could and had the finances too! I usually go to one at least twice a week and make sure to knock out a huge chunk off my list. Some cafes in the area I recommend or others have recommended to me:

  1. Small Point Cafe
  2. The Shop
  3. Benefit Juice Bar and Cafe
  4. Seven Stars Bakery
  5. Blue State Coffee
  6. Cafe Choklad
  7. Starbucks

These are in no particular order and truly vary both in how busy they can get and how loud the cafes can become based on population. Depending on your study style, you may prefer one over the other. I would tell you which one is my all time favorite… But remember my tip from above. Don’t share your spot. It is yours to use and feel productive. And, in my case, drink the best mochas ever!

Any other study spot suggestions? Let me know in the comments! I am happily exploring the Providence area this semester in order to find my niche.

Thank you so much for reading! Questions? Comments? Simple hello? Please feel free to email me at or leave a comment below.


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