By Katherine Hamilton | email@example.com
Few things measure up to the amount of dread that fills my entire being when I hear that I must spend my free-time studying. Annoyance, procrastination, anxiety: the cycle repeats rhythmically, drumming like Chinese water torture, driving me mad.
When I made the move to St. Augustine for college, I assumed my outlook on homework would remain solidly unchanged. I would go to class, be as studious as possible, nod in agreement with the professor’s expectations, and then proceed to study the night before. While I do tend to procrastinate (not my most stellar attribute), St. Augustine has been a source of creative inspiration.
I think I always pictured homework as this steadfast, gray discipline, which would force me into the nearest quiet room to be isolated from the many of the curious things going on around me. Being bored has never been an option for me, so one day I started thinking, “Does studying have to feel like a punishment?” The answer: it doesn’t.
From my epiphany, I developed the concept of making studying an enjoyable event. Now, I don’t just simply shuffle myself into oblivion, but instead, I take to the streets to find sparkling views and inspiring conditions to accompany my educational experience. Even though homework can sometimes call for fervor and isolation in the hardest of times, I try to introduce much needed levity. Making studying an adventure, I go for a walk, get myself a coffee or some sort of treat, and find the perfect place to pleasantly wile away the hours.
After a semester of practicing what I preach, I am proud to humbly share five studying destinations sure to make academia feel more like leisure and less like torture.
- The Lightner Museum and Reflections Bistro
While remaining a spectacular ode to the Gilded Age, the Lightner Museum seems to be more of a forgotten relic to most students at Flagler College. However, upon my discovery, I realized the former Alcazar Hotel has a great deal more to offer than just being the aesthetically pleasing building across the street.
Upon entering, the courtyard of the Lightner unveils itself in dazzling layers of color and sound. There is a cobbled bridge bolstered over a blue pond, and koi fish languidly glide through the water, popping up their heads hoping for pellets of food from the dispensary. Classical favorites dance through the air: a perfect backdrop for intelligent thought and pondering.
To the left there is a small café called Reflections Bistro. They serve lovely hot and cold drinks as well as sandwiches and other snacks. I like to bring my homework, order a coffee, and sit at the outside tables, observing the tranquility of my surroundings.
- Aviles Street
Juxtaposed to the heart of town square, Aviles Street possesses the appealing draw of mysterious alleys, back roads and places undiscovered. Walking down the street I noticed several nooks and crannies I had not initially taken note of. In addition, there are cafes, restaurants, and more. Gaufre’s and Goods is a personal favorite (the pierogies are divine). Aviles Street is a wonderful place to curl up on a bench, people watch, and read my book for class. An ice cream sandwich from Peace Pie may or may not be involved.
- Crucial Coffee Café
Crucial Coffee Café looks like it is a magical garden that has been lifted right from a fairytale. The small wooden shack with red trim is enshrouded in greenery, lights, and the scent of fresh brewed coffee.
Even though the café looks like it is from a time when technology did not exist, it has Wi-Fi capabilities and an accommodating bench with graphic pillows. The eclectic decorations and enchanting atmosphere are enough to make me forget how much I detest doing math homework. While the café does see its share of foot traffic, it is, more often than not, a peaceful place to do my assignments.
- Hot Shot Bakery N’Café
Another Wi-Fi hotspot, Hot Shot Bakery N’Café is the tree house/loft I never had. It may be a charming and deceptively simple bakery downstairs; however, in the back there is a stair case leading to an upstairs area. The loft feels like a secret hide out for grown-ups. Hot Shot is the perfect place to hang out and study with friends because there are lots of plush chairs and board games for when a break is needed. Overall, the café can turn what would have been a boring solo study session into a fun, productive time with friends.
- Julia Bailey Jones Garden
A lesser-known feature of the Flagler College campus, the Julia Bailey Jones Garden is a secluded place located behind the Crisp-Ellert Art Museum. I found it by accident one day when my friends and I were looking for a place to study and take pictures.
The surrounding building always make for a cool shady place to relax, and hear the rustle of the trees from the ocean breeze.
As the garden is on campus, it has access to the Flagler College Wi-Fi. I usually like to prop my back up against one of the cement pillars and stretch my legs out while I do my work. While studying in the garden, it is unlikely that anyone will find you, unless they know about it too!