It's the second day of classes. You're just collecting syllabi and books galore. There may be a few readings, but you don't really have any work. You're in an optimistic daze, telling yourself that this semester, you're going to be on top of deadlines and your overall schedule.
And that's all well and good, but let's be serious—by some time next week, many of us are already going to start tearing our hair out. It's a fact of Columbia life that we be in an almost-constant state of elevated stress. And you know what? That's ok. We can hack it. We've done it before.
But what isn't ok is having part of that anxiety be over finding somewhere decent to study. Even during non-finals season, Butler proves for many to be a source of stress, not study solace. It's already a pretty miserable atmosphere—add limited seating, cutthroat outlet hunters, and questionable smells and it's downright dismal.
Don't worry, though. There are alternatives. There's no need to be a slave to Butler.
The Diana: Seriously, the Diana is a revelation for downtrodden Butler-ites. It's new. It's properly lit. It's clean. It even smells clean. And there is always somewhere to sit. Most important, there is a Starbucks. If you've had the unfortunate luck of becoming acclimated to Blue Java, you may not realize how significant this is. But the rest of us realize that while Starbucks isn't the best coffee out there, it is sure as hell better than the battery acid being served in Butler.
NoCo classrooms: Invitations to study in most academic buildings aren't really that enticing, or even that worth it, since Hamilton janitors usually kick you out. However, NoCo has ushered in a new era of available and bright classrooms that are perfect for a study camp-out. And, for whatever reason, the janitorial staff in NoCo has no problem with students doing just that. Also, unlike the actual NoCo library, classrooms allow you to bring coffee from Joe (or wherever you so please).
Teacher's College: Obviously not as shiny and new as the Diana or NoCo, Teacher's College still has many merits. You're not going to be distracted here. It's far-removed and an uncommon choice, but not at all depressing. And you're not going to find a frenzied sea of CC students all reading the same LitHum or CC books, undergoing a unified and terrifying freak-out. No one needs to see that.
Lerner: This suggestion is one that needs to be accompanied by a consideration of hours. Obviously, you don't want to be sitting in Lerner during peak traffic times (mealtimes, meeting times, right before the packaging center closes, etc.). But if you're going towards the later hours, you'll find that there are myriad rooms up for grabs, and even the seating areas on the ramps can prove workable once the building has quieted down. Moreover, there are approximately a million vending machine options. You can't argue with that.