Studying, in theory, mostly consists of torture, stress, and more torture. Forcing yourself to take a seat and focus on your schoolwork is tough, especially if you hate the subject or you’re recently coming off of a break. For some, the silence and seriousness of a library shock their systems into focus-time, but for others, the dreariness and quietness is distracting in itself.
Calling all pluviophiles (people who love the rain): I’ve hand picked the coziest places to study on and around The University of Alabama’s campus, so you can avoid the dreaded Gorgas Library at all costs. These locals are ranked on a scale from one ☕ to five ☕, with one☕ being cozy, but it’s maybe a little crowded or loud, and five ☕ being rainy day, New York City during Autumn, level-cozy.
Handwritten class notes, homemade coffee, lofi-music and a rainy day set the mood, if only you didn’t have that biology test tomorrow… If you would rather drape yourself in a Snuggie and curl up with your favorite book on the couch, here’s my top five favorite picks for the coziest places to study on and around campus.
1. McClure Library
I know, I know, I just spent three paragraphs talking about how libraries suck the life out of a vibe, but hear me out! This is the smallest library on campus, and also the most underrated. It’s usually empty (even during finals and midterms!) with plenty of couches to lounge on and plenty of windows to daydream out of. It’s the College of Education’s library, so the bottom floor has rows and rows of children’s books to hide in between and elementary education professors smiling through office windows. As a senior, and therefore an experienced studier, the bathrooms are always empty… Just in case your study session is an all-day event, or that Starbucks venti coffee is, well, doing its thing… There’s always a person sitting behind the desk to greet you at the front door and recommend you a “blind date with a book.” Yes, they do that! It’s mostly quiet, but you don’t feel like they’re gonna drag you out by your toes and jump you behind the building if you want to answer a phone call or meet with a study group. As far as libraries go, you will be hard pressed to find a cozier one on campus.
Cozy Rating: ☕☕☕☕
(-1 because it’s on University Blvd, so sometimes you can hear the DKE frat bros in their yard jamming to EDM music(?), or the occasional, hugely macho freshman with a truck rev their engine while stopped at the red light…)
McClure Library, the smallest library on campus, is a great place to get some peace and quiet while studying!
Turbo Coffee is arguably the coziest coffee shop to study at in Tuscaloosa.
2. Turbo Coffee Shop
Located in Downtown Tuscaloosa, Turbo Coffee Shop is one of those places that’s impossible to find unless you know about it already. The aesthetic gives black and white composition notebook your 3rd grade teacher made you buy for journaling purposes. The coffee is top tier and the Acai bowls are the freshest in town. The atmosphere feels productive but laid back, as young professionals and students alike seek out this spot to enjoy the sun through the floor to ceiling windows. With wooden tables for group work, benches and tables for individual grind time, and a couch/lounge area for casual coffee dates, Turbo is an elite place to sit down and study as compared to the busy, loud, overrated Starbucks on Paul W. Bryant. Turbo has Mom-and-Pop energy that’s ingrained in the walls, and makes you feel like everyone who goes there is a potential new friend. Like, if you had something in your teeth, a Turbo-goer would kindly let you know. Turbo is loyal, warm, kind, but for this reason, it’s also busiest on Sundays and during finals and midterms. Check out this place in the early morning, afternoon and evenings for peak coziness.
Cozy Rating: ☕☕☕
3. Sage Juice Bar & Speakeasy
I bet you didn’t see this one coming. Sage Juice Bar is a fun place to grab quality cocktails on a Friday night, but have you ever thought to check it out on a Sunday morning? Kenny Cupp, the owner of Sage, is dedicated to creating a true speakeasy feel. They often host musicians to play light jazz or acoustic jams that turn the hole-in-the-wall restaurant space into a New Orleans-esq getaway. The food and non-alcoholic beverage items are light and healthy, great for a sunny Spring day. The outdoor seating space is comfy and allows you to grab some much needed fresh-air after all that time spent in class or a dingy dorm room. The brick walls, patterned carpets, and funky artwork make Sage a groovy spot to enjoy your study session. Plus, because this spot isn’t usually thought of as study-friendly, it’s the perfect place to go during the busiest parts of the semester. The wifi is free, y’all, and arguably has a better connection than the all-too-faulty “eduroam.”
Cozy Rating: ☕☕☕
Sit outside & enjoy the spring weather at Sage Juice Bar & Speakeasy
In between classes students can enjoy the fresh air & study in the courtyard between Alston & Bidgood
4. Courtyard in between Alston and Bidgood Halls
While this location isn’t indoors, I’m still qualifying it as cozy based on the quaintness that comes with sitting outdoors beneath tall buildings and old trees. As the name suggests, this courtyard is situated between Alston and Bidgood Halls. During the autumn and spring months, studiers have the pleasure of basking in the sunlight and taking in the changing scenery. At first glance, a walkerby may just see the outdoor seating and look away, but people aged sophomore-and-up know about the “secret Starbucks” and hidden Subway just inside. Much less crowded than the Student Center, this peaceful hideaway has tables perfect for group work and umbrellas to protect from rain, sun, or pollen when it begins to drop like lead at the end of March. With unlimited coffee and snacks mere feet away, it’s one of those places where time tends to disappear and studying for 30 mins can turn into 3 hours without you recognizing it. I can imagine that a springtime study session in the courtyard would make one feel nostalgic about their college experience, would make them wish they could lounge with friends and pretend to study all day… not that I would know or anything!! I’m only speaking hypothetically, of course… This spot is perfect to chill between classes, catch some rays, grab a coffee, or study the day away.
Cozy Rating: ☕☕