Studying: Location, Location, Location

Alana Jones, GS-1

One of the upsides (if there is one) of studying for Step 1 is that it forces you to get acquainted with new study spaces. I wished I could have been the kind of person who could sit on my sofa for 10 hours a day for 3 months, but I realized about three days into our dedicated study time that I easily get cabin fever. I started going to a coffee shop near my apartment, but quickly tired of that, too. Ultimately, I ended up with a rotation of coffee shops, public libraries (yes, they still exist), and different rooms in my apartment. Check out some of my favorite spots below.

 

Coffee Shops

Revelator: Mountain Brook, Homewood (image featured above)

Sweet Jon’s Café: Homewood

Octane: Uptown (near Top Golf, BJCC)

These coffee shops are under the Revelator franchise. I’ve studied regularly at all but one of their Birmingham locations.

Pros: great hours (7a-10p, although some locations close earlier), great natural light, good wifi for streaming videos, and a 10% discount with your UAB ID.

Cons: a bit pricey, menu items aren’t always available.

 

Libraries

Library in the Forest: Vestavia

Emmet O’Neal Library: Mountain Brook

Homewood Public Library: Homewood

It seems obvious but public libraries are one of the most important aspects of a community’s infrastructure. I typically studied at the library 1-2 times per week. On days when I wanted an early start, I studied at home in the morning and spent the afternoon/evening at the library. The only downsides to studying at the library are that they usually open later than the coffee shops (around 9 am) and tend to get a little rowdy around 3 pm when the kids get out of school.

I found that having a rotation of study locations established a pattern but allowed me to not get too comfortable in one place. It also ensured that I spoke to at least one person per day. But whether it’s a coffee shop, library, or your couch, what’s most important that your study spot has a balance of comfort and productivity. (And a pair of noise-cancelling headphones doesn’t hurt either.)

See this post and more in our last MSTP Newsletter! https://www.uab.edu/medicine/mstp/current-students/newsletter

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