By Kiana Bowden
Mayday, mayday- it’s that time of year again: exams are almost upon us. Ready to hit the books but not the library toilet queues? If working in the University libraries isn’t your thing, or you feel like mixing up your revision venues a bit, here are a few unique (and generally less crowded) study spaces around town!
Just round the corner from St Mary’s College, you will find The Byre Theatre. Regular theatre-goers will be familiar with the bar and reception area they have, which has seating in it suitable for studying. The wide glass windows and skylights on the second floor make for a bright, welcoming space. The natural light and relaxed set-up provide a comfortable atmosphere to work in. At night the foyer remains well lit, with the fairy lights in the trees outside setting the scene on what may well have been an evening buried in books elsewhere. Food is served in the café during the day; the only downside being noise from people coming in to attend shows. A brief distraction, if you prefer quiet studying.
Although somewhat less cosy, The Botanic Garden is perfect if you like studying outside. Aside from their own little café, outdoor picnic tables dotted around the pond and seating near the greenhouses are available to use. Weather permitting, a day of studying surrounded by nature can be a real treat. It is important to take breaks of course, so there’s a variety of potential walks through the garden, as well as a trip into the tropical butterfly house on offer. Butterfly house entry comes at a small fee but students can go into the garden itself free of charge from 10am till 6pm every day. I could go on to describe the scientific reasoning supporting the benefits of fresh air and sunshine to your brain… but for now let’s not forget to mention that they sell Jannetta’s ice cream there too.
The Balgove Larder is a little further afield- but with it comes two study buddies in the form of Highland cows. They may not be the best help with academics, but what’s wrong with a little Scottish culture? While you’re there, plenty of local produce can be bought from the farm shop. Before doing the grocery shopping though, you can study in the rustic café which has lots of blankets and cushions- perfect for staying warm while revising!
You don’t have to play golf to enjoy the British Golf Museum Café. With views spanning across the Old Course and West Sands, this is the perfect place to settle down and revise. Flooded with light, and very spacious with lots of tables and chairs, you won’t be wasting time finding a seat here (unlike the ground floor of the Main Library during the exam period). Customers’ chattering will create some background noise so this may not be ideal for those who study in silence. However, it can help some people focus, and the friendly staff are often encouraging to those studying in the café, always on hand to help or serve something off the new menu they have. Rumour has it their Afternoon Tea is worth a try if you feel like treating yourself, and West Sands is right outside if you feel like taking a break to walk along the beach.
For such a small town, St Andrews is full of potential study spaces, many of which are not included here. Whether it be one of the libraries, tutorial rooms or cafés, there’s a place for everyone. Remember to look after yourself- go outside, eat well and stay hydrated. Remember to get enough sleep. Try to remember what you’ve revised- and good luck!