Top 5 COVID-Friendly Places to Study if You’re a COM Grad Student

Being a COM graduate student is a little weird. You haven’t been on BU’s campus for four years so you don’t really know how to navigate it. You don’t know any other buildings besides COM and GSU. Now, add being in the middle of a pandemic to the equation and you’ve got yourself a confused and slightly lost grad student. 

Consequently, when it comes to looking for places to study on campus, you probably don’t even know where to start. The dorm study rooms with beautiful panoramic views of Boston are out of the question because you don’t live on campus. And more than half the libraries are closed due to COVID-19 safety precautions. So, where do you go when you need a change of scenery from your cramped apartment?

Here are the top five places to study on BU’s Charles River Campus as a COM graduate student:

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  1. The Zimmerman Family Social Activation Center

Located on the first floor of the COM building, the Zimmerman room has become my No. 1 place to study when I want to get away from the dreariness of Mugar. From comfy chairs to sofa seats and an abundance of outlets (seriously, what’s up with the COM building and its lack of outlets?), this place is what Mugar wishes it could be. I like to come here in between classes to get work done, especially if I want to have socially-distant conversations with my friends while I work. 

Third Floor Mugar Library

2. Mugar Memorial Library – Third and Second Floors

There’s something almost addicting about Mugar’s third floor. It definitely has some flaws, and yet I find myself there multiple times a week. Maybe it’s the weird office chairs that lean back just a little too far yet feel like a comfy worn-in recliner. Maybe it’s the heat that never works but helps me stay awake and alert. As much as I want to hate the third floor of Mugar, I still find myself gravitating towards it. It’s the best place to hunker down and spend hours being ultra-focused on your work. 

Second Floor Mugar Library

Moving on to the second floor – where the view of the Charles River Esplanade glistening in the snow almost makes up for how uncomfortable the chairs are. This floor is best when you only plan on studying for a few hours. It’s slightly cozier than Mugar’s third floor and offers the same productive atmosphere. The space – with its lower ceilings and old tables packed together like sardines – reminds me of a classic high school library, and lets me reminisce of simpler times as I study. The only downside is that the high school-esque chairs will only enhance that notorious grad student back pain. 

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3. Frederick S. Pardee Management Library

While Mugar makes you feel like a studious scholar stuck in the 1960s, Pardee will make you feel like an innovative thinker ready to take on the early half of the 21st century. Refreshingly modern compared to some of BU’s other buildings (*cough,* CAS building, I’m looking at you), the Pardee Library offers students the same studious atmosphere as Mugar but at a much smaller capacity. Also, that spiral staircase? Yeah, it’s everything

The doors close at 7 p.m., so I recommend coming here to accomplish a quick task that doesn’t require settling in for the long haul. 

George Sherman Union (GSU)

4. George Sherman Union

Besides Panda Express and Starbucks, the GSU has a couple more gems to offer. Located on the second floor of the building is the Ziskind Lounge. The large room features sizable windows, allowing you to gaze dreamingly at the Charles River when you need to take a break from staring at your textbook. Also, the GSU offers plenty of seating on its first floor, where you can eat and study to your heart’s content. There are also several classrooms to sit in (permitted there’s no lecture going on), as well as another small study lounge on the third floor. 

Study rooms

5. Study Rooms

There are study rooms in almost every building on BU’s Charles River campus and now, thanks to the new Student Study scheduling app, you can reserve them in advance and safely study while following COVID-19 regulations. Study rooms range from spaces for individual use to rooms that can hold multiple people. My favorite locations to book rooms are at the COM building and the third floor of the GSU. The COM building offers rooms with a variety of setups from tables to individual desks, while the GSU offers private conference rooms and the option for delicious food only two floors down. 

Have you ever wanted to take notes while on Zoom but find it too tedious to get all the windows on your laptop to work exactly the way you want them to? Well, here’s a pro tip: some of the study rooms come equipped with TV screens, allowing you to hook up your devices via Bluetooth or an HDMI cable. Put your Zoom lecture up on the TV and use your laptop to take notes. Trust me – it’s a game-changer.

Reserving a study spot with this app is as easy as selecting a location and time. Just remember that you are booking seats, not rooms, so if you and your friends want to share a room, make sure each person books a spot.

Ally Corlett, Staff Writer

Ally Corlett is a first-year graduate student studying public relations at Boston University’s College of Communication. Originally from Virginia and Florida, Ally grew up abroad, having lived on every continent except Antarctica. Prior to BU, Ally received her bachelor’s degrees in public relations and psychology from Florida State University. It was there that she ignited her passion for writing and storytelling. In her free time, Ally loves to travel and explore with friends (when safe), take pictures, listen to music, and watch funny shows.

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