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We Found Hidden Gem Study Spots So You Don’t Need To

Finals week is coming up quickly, and it’s just about the most dreaded time of the semester. With sunny spring weather in reach and summer break on our minds, keeping focused while studying is no easy task.

Finding a place to study for your finals can be almost as stressful as the exam itself. To help you find your perfect study spot, we patrolled the Pattee and Paterno libraries, as well as a few locations around campus and downtown, to stake out some hidden gems you might not have considered.

Paterno Library

  1. After walking through the east entrance, turn left to face a Starbucks sign. There should be several elevators there. Click the “up” button and pick any floor! We found that the higher the floor, the quieter the environment.

2. All of the floors will have bookshelves that look similar to the one pictured below.

3. Walk right through the middle of those stacks. Scattered throughout, you’ll find lounge chairs and large tables.

Pattee Library

Spot One: The Basement

  1. From the east entrance, turn and walk right. Along the right side of the wall, there should be an entrance that looks like the picture below.

2. Walk into the entrance and go down the stairs.

3. From there, you should now be in the basement. It is a little creepy, but this spot is totally worth any ghosts you may see. This is definitely the most secluded area of the whole library. The pictures below are what you would see upon entering.

4. If you walk around a little, you should find some desks. Below is a featured favorite.

Spot Two: The “Harry Potter” Room

  1. Across from the service desk, there is a staircase. Take that up to the second floor.

2. There should be a set of doors that open up to a large open area.

3. Here, you’ll find an assortment of chairs and desks that might resemble Hogwarts. This room is certainly not a secret to experienced students, but the vibes are great for studying and cramming.


If you aren’t the type to study in the library, there are plenty of other places for you. Here are some more options across campus.

Willard Media Center

Located on the west side of campus, a remodeled portion of the Willard Building is home to the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications. This media center offers a unique change in scenery if you are hoping to check out one of the newest additions to campus. There is even a smaller version of the HUB’s beloved “High School Musical” stairs here.

Westgate Building

Home to the College of Information Sciences and Technology, Westgate has the best studying views and natural lighting. There is an arrangement of tables both inside and outside so there is an even selection if weather permits.

Nursing Sciences Building

If you are the type of student who learns best from being active, head over to the Nursing Sciences Building. This center has bike/desk machines that can keep your legs in motion while studying. There is also a desk with a wonderful view of HUB Lawn secluded in the corner if you like to be more alone while working.

Downtown: Abba Java Coffeehouse

Located on the corner of Locust Lane and Calder Way, this quaint shop offers Penn State students free coffee, tea, food, and Wi-Fi. This space is quiet and has many tables available. Abba Java’s website says it seeks to provide a “home away from home” for Penn State students.

Onward State | Shannon Smith

Abba Java’s hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Fridays, make it a great choice for anyone who needs to get out of the house during the school day.

Final Piece of Advice

After going on this adventure to find secret places to study, the biggest takeaway we can share is that the more you explore, the cooler spots you will find. We challenge you to discover even more bizarre study spots than we did!

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About the Author

Camryn O'Rourke

Camryn is a freshman majoring in digital/print journalism. She is also known as "Cami". She spends her summers at the Jersey Shore and is an avid poet. You can reach her on Twitter @Camryn_ORourkee, by email at [email protected], or by visiting her website: camio1414.wixsite.com/camrynorourke.

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