In the woods: Study hard and get in touch with nature by taking advantage of one of St. Olaf's many wooded areas on campus. The college has several decent trails, most of which are dotted with park benches for relaxing and reading. Spend an hour or two of your weekend on a hike with friends in search of study spots. Be especially sure to check out the trails behind Mohn and Thorson and beyond the soccer field.
Pros: Peaceful, natural, few distractions.
Cons: Mosquito bites, chance of rain.
Rolvaag Memorial Library: We know the library is hardly a "secret" study spot, but what are the best places to study in the library? For those who are already convinced that St. Olaf is a thinly veiled Hogwarts, nothing screams "Harry Potter" like the third-and-a-half floor. Though it's not a "Super Quiet Study Zone," how many colleges can boast that their library has a full floor between the third and fourth floor? (Answer: very few.) For a quieter studying experience, try studying by the fifth-floor windows. The picturesque view ought to get your academic juices flowing.
Pros: Quiet, academic, easy access to resources.
Cons: Easy to get lost.
Goodbye Blue Monday: If studying in the Cage when all your friends are around is just too distracting, why not get a change of scenery by exploring historic downtown Northfield? Goodbye Blue Monday offers a relaxed, friendly atmosphere, and the distance from campus will give you plenty of space to focus on hitting the books. Though the coffee shop is a favored haunt of Carleton students, there's plenty of room for Oles as well. Who knows? You may even befriend a Carl or two (we won't hold it against you).
Pros: "Hip" atmosphere, continuous caffeine flow.
Cons: Distance from campus, chance of getting caught in a rumble.
Nooks and crannies: Often the best study spots are right in front of your eyes. As your day goes on, be on the alert for little corners and nooks, both inside and outside of buildings. The outside of the science building is particularly nook-ridden; try walking the perimeter of the building to find your own little alcove.
Pros: Secluded, cozy.
Cons: May be cramped, possibility of getting stuck.
The most important thing to remember about finding a study spot is to make it your own. Nobody wants to have to share their stakeout, so don't just follow other students around and use their locations. Explore thoroughly until you find a spot you can call home. Happy studying!