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How I Write and Learn

In this blog series, “Ask a Coach!” our Writing and Learning Center coaches answer our UNC-CH undergrads’ burning questions! Check back every month to see what our coaches have to say about everything from taking breaks to utilizing office hours! 

What are your favorite study spots on campus?

A series of shelving units filled with books in a corner of a library. Lucia: I really like studying in the Health Sciences Library (HSL) and in the Michael Hooker Research Center at Gillings! These spots are a bit out of the way from central campus, but I find they’re often quiet or at least have the gentle ambiance that I am looking for while studying. Although I’m not a medical student, being in the HSL and seeing everyone working so hard motivates me to be productive, and I love the furniture options (especially on the fourth floor). For the Hooker Research Center, non-Gillings students are able to enter before 7pm for free, and I love that it’s essentially a big atrium with tons of windows and tables. The study room on the second floor of Rosenau is also nice and gives a great view of the HSL- but is harder to find. I highly recommend booking a room in the HSL for yourself or others for a long study session and getting a coffee from Friends Cafe while you’re at it!

A plant and small bucket full of pens sitting on a desk.

Alyssa: I usually prefer to study in my dorm, but if I’m looking for a change of scenery, the Wilson Library is a great study spot. The second floor has really big tables, and the grand architecture and chandeliers always make me feel really fancy when I study there. When the weather is nice, I also enjoy studying in the Coker Arboretum. There are tons of shady spots to spread out my picnic blanket and enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings while I work.

STEM books stacked with peer tutor name in frontAddison: I may not be the best person to answer this question, as I don’t utilize my STEM textbooks all that often, but I think my perspective may be helpful. When it comes to the most effective way to study, everyone has their preferences. Some see the textbook as the best resource to use while others see it as tedious, boring, and overly complex. In addition, even if the student likes using the textbook in one STEM course, that doesn’t always mean they will think the same of another, as every class and professor is different. Here’s what I’m trying to say: it may not be your fault if you struggle to understand your math textbook, as everyone is different. As long as you’re trying your best, that’s all that matters. If you’re required to read the textbook then, of course, read it to the best of your ability, but, if not, then I encourage you to find a different study resource, such as an online YouTube video or online practice exercises, and invest as much time into those as you would the textbook. Experiment and find out what works best for you, and, once you’ve done so, make it a part of your normal routine. And – one last thing – don’t forget about the abundance of practice problems and keys within the textbook! While not all the readings may not be useful to you, I can almost guarantee that those questions and answers will, especially if your professor recommends it as a resource. 


This blog showcases the perspectives of UNC Chapel Hill community members learning and writing online. If you want to talk to a Writing and Learning Center coach about implementing strategies described in the blog, make an appointment with a writing coach, a peer tutor, or an academic coach today. Have an idea for a blog post about how you are learning and writing remotely? Contact us here.

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