Craving a change of study scene?

By Salima Stanley-Bhanji

Fear of failing an exam can provide some of the best motivation there is, but for real slackers even this is not enough. For us–and I mean you–it is important to assess every little detail in your study routine in order to identify the “study inhibitors.” These SIs are like little crawly creatures that seep into the very cells of our cerebral matter. They penetrate so deep we are rendered completely helpless, like a cockroach laying on its back, legs flailing.

A common reason for SI attacks is burnout. You’ve been at the library every waking hour for the past three days and you’re just not getting anywhere. Stop being dense. Studying is like dating, you don’t take your date to the same place every time you go out, so why do that to your books? If they are going to be good to you, you have to be good to them first, so abandon the MacKimmie Library, the Law Library and MacEwan Hall. Try a new study spot and free yourself from the creepy, crawly SIs once and for all.

Here are a handful of destinations for your off-campus study session:

Extreme Bean Cafe
3303 3 Ave. NW
An undiscovered gem, Extreme Bean is pretty close to the university on the banks of the Bow. Quick and friendly service, a cozy fireplace, a couple of armchairs and excellent food make this a great destination.

If you’re going to be hitting the books for awhile, this is a good one as there’s real fuel here, not just coffee and muffins. The organic salad is a favourite (feta, cranberries and almonds on organic greens with a sweet and creamy lemon dressing), and the sandwiches are huge. They also have smoothies and the menu is well priced.

Extreme Bean isn’t too noisy or crowded and seems to be a bit of a hot spot with the seniors set. The main drawback is the lack of power outlets for your laptop.

Bad Ass Coffee Co.
1103 17 Ave. SW
If you’ve just started studying and it’s already 10 p.m. then this is the place to head to. Open 24 hours, the Bad Ass clientele is a diverse crowd and will keep you alert well into the wee hours. Anyone in a cafe at 4 a.m. has a story– just don’t get caught listening to one as the daylight hours approach, along with the final you’re cramming for.

If you need something to keep your eyes open, Bad Ass specializes in Hawaiian Kona coffee. They also have a variety of inexpensive, late night snacks like nachos or mac and cheese and the service is friendly. There are a couple of power outlets, some couches, tables and a separate smoking room.

Higher Ground
1126 Kensington Rd. NW
What makes Higher Ground so popular? Perhaps it is because you can study and be seen at the same time. I’ve definitely had some very productive studying spurts at Higher Ground on more than one occasion, so maybe it just has good feng shui.

Located in the core of Kensington, Higher Ground offers a wireless connection, lots of armchairs, a fireplace and a good selection of loose-leaf teas. If you’re getting nowhere and are certain you’ll never master organic chem, you can always head to nearby Molly Malone’s or Bass Bros. for beer and wings.

A good mix of students, professionals, intellectuals, yuppies and average Calgarians come here to catch up, read, hang out or study. It’s always busy, but if you managed to find street parking outside, then you’ll probably get a table.

Good Earth Cafe
1502 11 St SW
There are five Good Earth locations around Calgary, but this is the one I frequent. Open at 6:30 a.m. everyday and until 11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, it’s a laid-back scene. Although the lunch period can get busy, things aren’t too noisy during the week.

A wee bit of sunshine filters into the cafe, which has plenty of tables and power outlets. The frappe latte is amazing but expensive at $3.95 for a small. Good Earth has a pleasing enough menu and bakes their own fresh bread, but the plastic cutlery is a bit McDonald’s-esque.

If you’re in dire need of a study break, 17 Ave. is just around the corner and there are a couple of interesting little stops and shops on 11 Street that make for good procrastination.

Heartland Cafe
940 2 Ave. NW
Not the best place to study, but a great place to hang out and pretend you’re studying. Lots of sunshine trickles in to light this heritage-style building’s hardwood floors and colourful walls. Heartland is attached to an overpriced kids’ store and brings in a lot of affluent young families on the weekend. When it gets busy, staff have been known to suggest it’s time to go if you’re not ordering. The tables are small and there is only one power outlet, but the charm of the place is still alluring.

A little pricey, Heartland has the best cider in town and a fabulous spinach and feta omelette which comes with fresh bread and salad. It also serves Vietnamese coffee and sells a selection of magazines.

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