Students are Grinding Work in Study Cafés

Why do students study and do their schoolwork in cafés instead of in the comfort of their own homes?

November 7, 2019

More and more, students are studying at coffee shops, sipping on drinks while doing their work.

Gif Created by Leena Shin

More and more, students are studying at coffee shops, sipping on drinks while doing their work.

Laptop? Check.


Homework? Check.


A Starbucks Strawberry Frappuccino? Check.


As I look up from my laptop, I carefully observe the scenery at the Starbucks I am working in. 


Study groups take up the larger tables. Some groups are louder while others are more focused. Some sit in pairs at smaller tables, working quietly. Others sit solo with earbuds wedged in their ears. Someone spills a drink on the left, narrowly missing her homework. 


Sure, there are sprinkles of adults conversing over coffee here and there. But a large majority of the population in the café are students, both high school and college. 


It is something I noticed from all the days I annotated books or solved math equations at Starbucks. Instead of studying in the comfort of their homes, students are studying in cafés. I myself have caught on the trend and often find myself typing away at my laptop in Starbucks while sipping on a refreshing drink. 


But why do a good number of students study in cafés instead of studying at home?


According to Ashley Meise from the University of North Carolina, scholars call cafés such as Starbucks to be a “third place.” A third place is defined as an environment that is separate from work and home and provides comfort, community and retreat. 


A café provides a warm and comforting atmosphere with comfortable chairs, the scent of coffee brewing and the dark colors of the walls and furniture.


Caffeine is also available for consumption so that working students will be able to labor without falling asleep. Caffeine does not just help a student to stay awake, however. According to Erin Thomas from American University, in addition to inhibiting the sleep hormone and adenosine, it also energizes the brain. 


And there is not just caffeine. Other refreshing drinks and snacks are ready for purchase at any café in order to motivate and lift the moods of individuals who choose to study in cafés. 


In addition to the drinks and snacks, coffee shops and cafés often have free access to the Internet. Anyone is able to walk into the café and hop onto the Net freely. This makes it incredibly simple and convenient to complete projects and school work, which often requires using WiFi. 


Photo taken by Leena Shin
My view of the Starbucks I work at: students work with their laptops and earphones while others come and go for drinks.

Also, a study from the University of Illinois found that people are able to come up with more creative ideas if they are exposed to ambient sound at around 70 decibels, which is the average volume of a coffee shop. 


This is certainly true, and I attest to it. But as a regular who often studies at Starbucks, I would like to explain myself. Why do I often study at Starbucks and not at home? 


Well, I first started going to Starbucks because I felt distracted at home. Home is a sign of comfort. Your brain recognizes that you are at home and, therefore, automatically relaxes. It is harder to concentrate at home with so many distractions like your bed, your phone and more. 


However, for me, going to Starbucks changes my mindset. My brain is fully aware that I am making an effort to go out of the comfort of my home to study. Sitting down in the café and pulling out my work signifies to my brain that I am only there for one purpose and one purpose only – to study. 


This allows me to stay on top of my work and check off all the items I have on my incredibly long to-do list. Hence, I usually go to Starbucks if I especially have a lot of work to do so that I can be more productive. 


Another beneficial aspect of studying at the café is the close proximity to my house. The Starbucks that I usually work at is of reasonable walking distance from my house, and, therefore, I am able to commute back and forth between the two locations with ease. Even if I do not drive or have a car, I am able to transport myself with no trouble. 


This is another reason that students often study in cafés instead of studying at home. While many students may drive, not many have the financial ability to own a car. And there are plenty of students who are not able to drive in the first place. However, cafés are readily available in many places and are very common in most shopping plazas. It makes it efficient to study at the café and quickly go back home after completing all school work. 


Therefore, through all the numerous and beneficial reasons that come from studying at a café, I fully support the many students who are doing just that. It is incredibly productive to study at a coffee shop or a café instead of doing the work at home. 


The café serves as a “third place,” a place separate from school that students can complete their work in. And when they are finished, they are able to peacefully go home knowing that they have earned their rest. 


Cafés are a great environment for students to work in. Technological access, comfort and caffeine. 


In the end, it is wonderful that students are grinding out their work in cafés instead of their homes.


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