Cool Study Spots at Dartmouth

This past week was midterms week in Edinburgh, and in honor of the fact that I have done little more than curl up on my bed in a onesie, drink tea, eat chocolate, and write thousands of words about backwards time travel and whether or not watching pornography can lead to violent behavior, I decided to use this week’s blog post to pay homage to some of my favorite study spots at Dartmouth. Before I get into that, let me just say that there is nothing wrong with the library – lots of people love to study there, it’s a beautiful place, and it even contains two cafés, so food is never far away. I’m just not a library person, I guess, which fortunately is not a problem at Dartmouth because there are so many other good places to get work done.

1) Rauner Special Collections Library

In the words of my tour guide self, Rauner is home to the College’s special collections, which is basically just a fancy way of saying “cool old things”. There are SO many cool old things in Rauner, from some of Shakespeare’s first folios to the hat and socks of Daniel Webster (and if you are so inclined I hear they actually will let you try those on)! I’ve been to Rauner as part of a class (my Race & Slavery class went this summer to look at all sorts of original stuff from American history, which included a letter written and signed by Frederick Douglass) and as part of extracurricular commitments (as a DOC First-Year Trips leader, I got to look at pictures and applications that spanned the program’s 78-year history). Besides housing some of the coolest stuff I’ve ever seen in my life, Rauner also happens to be the place I’m most productive on campus with my schoolwork. The second floor is a gold mine of comfy couches and individually lit tables that are never crowded, and with natural sunlight streaming in through story-high windows, it’s easy to pretend you’re outside without having to actually try and read a book in the snow.

The second floor of the Rauner Special Collections Library (picture courtesy of

2) Robinson Hall (Robo)

Home to a number of student clubs and organizations, including the Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC), which happens to be the nation’s oldest and largest collegiate outing club, Robo is also home to a slew of study rooms. They’re pretty big and used most often by sustainability buffs, DOC members, and the varsity ski teams, but even if you’re not affiliated with any of those groups they’re still very open (as in, they’re unlocked so you can just walk right in, but also if there’s already someone in a room, you’re completely welcome to join them).

3) Collis

Much like Robo, Collis, the student center, has tons of study rooms that are open for students to use. The second floor is great for group study sessions, and One Wheelock in the basement is nice if you’re into free hot beverages and quiet, ambient background music. Perhaps the best-kept secret of Collis study spaces is the “sniper table” on the third floor. Situated right by a window that looks down on every floor of Collis, the table is usually empty and it’s rarely loud, even though the table is in the hallway. Pros of studying in Collis include its location (right in the center of campus) and its newly renovated café (my go-to on-campus dining establishment). The only negative to studying in Collis is that it gets crowded super easily since it’s such a good place to work (so that’s when Robo comes in handy).

4) Thornton Hall

Thornton is home to the religion and philosophy departments, and it’s full of professors’ offices and classrooms. The nice thing about classrooms is that when they’re not being used for class, you can just go use them as giant, empty study spaces! Big tables, no distractions, and chalkboards if I feel like brainstorming outside of a notebook. There’s also something awesome about studying in a building that’s almost 200 years old! Also, fun fact: Thornton Hall was originally used as a dormitory.

5) The Dr. Seuss Room

The Dr. Seuss Room (an Imaginative Place to Study, according to the sign outside the room) is the one exception to my I-don’t-study-in-the-library rule. Between two giant desks (great for writing papers) and eight super-comfy chairs (great for curling up with a book), it’s always got an empty seat. There’s a giant window to let in natural light, and the walls of the room are covered with framed pages from Dr. Seuss books, which makes studying seem a lot less intense. The room also gets bonus points for its prime location, nestled in the east corner of Baker Lobby, right next to King Arthur Flour Café (a.k.a. home to the best hot cider on campus).

When I started to write this, I told myself I was only going to pick five places, but this last one’s not exactly on campus so I’m including it anyways.

The Moosilauke Ravine Lodge

An hour’s drive north of campus, most students get their first introduction to the Lodge on DOC First-Year Trips. I got my second introduction to the Lodge later my freshman fall, when one of the upperclassmen in my a cappella group emailed out and convinced me to come to dinner there with the promises of “a million turkeys and also like 8 different kinds of pie.” The Lodge serves dinner every night, and I’ve found it to be a great place to write a paper or curl up with a book, because not only do I get to do my homework right at the base of a gorgeous mountain, but when I’m done with my work, I get the most delicious dinner as a reward. Also, did I mention it’s one of the most beautiful places on Earth?

The Moosilauke Ravine Lodge (picture courtesy of DOC Trips 2011)

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