Not only is it midterm season (honestly, it's always midterm season at Northwestern), but my weather app tells me the temperature has officially dropped below 40 degrees, which means my early onset seasonal depression has officially begun. It feels like just yesterday I was taking pictures of the colorful fall leaves and breathing in the crisp air as I sipped a Pumpkin Spice Latte - but maybe that’s because it was just yesterday? Anyway, if you're looking for a place to buckle down and learn Orgo, cry about it, and then drink enough coffee to make it better, follow this guide to the best places to study alone at Northwestern. 

Starbucks in Barnes and Noble 

coffee, milk, tea, beer
Sarah Yanofsky

Honestly, I was hesitant to include this gem purely because this happens to be my go-to private study spot. It’s a Starbucks, minus the crowds and conversations, which means you can drink that PSL without having to fight for a table or listen to yet another hopeful intern rave about their greatest accomplishment. And maybe it’s just me, but there’s a certain coziness to a bookstore that makes studying a little less mundane. But fair warning: Starbucks gift cards DO NOT work here due to some contracting issue you'd have to go to law school to understand. And if that's your goal, I promise it’s worth the couple extra bucks to study alone for that LSAT, distraction free. 

Fourth Floor of Kellogg

If you live north, and trekking south isn’t your thing when it’s 30 degrees and windy, the fourth floor of Kellogg may just be the picturesque, private study spot for you. You’ll be grinding amongst graduate students and Econ professors, so maybe some of their brains will rub off on you?? It's worth a shot, and at the very least you’ll be treated to sweeping lake views, which might make you cry a little less over the midterm you’re cramming for. There’s also a café on the ground floor of Kellogg with gourmet eats that put Sarge to shame. You might get some glares from the grad students who would like to claim the architectural beauty that is Kellogg as their own, but you just keep cramming away. 

Evanston Public Library 

As a Northwestern student, you’ve probably walked by the Evanston Public Library thousands of times but never once ventured in. Little did you know how much this hidden gem has to offer. It’s located right in downtown Evanston on the corner of Church and Orrington, which means you can grab a study snack or a cup of coffee from one of the many restaurants around (my favorites are Aloha Poke or Andy’s) and then head to the library to buckle down with the books (finish your concrete on the road, of course). Or better yet - pig out on all you can eat Flat Top Grill right across the street and then go to the library to sleep away your food induced coma. Either way, you are guaranteed privacy to do whatever it is you need to do to maintain your mental health. 

The Stacks of Main 

The thing is, no one ventures to the stacks of main for a reason - it’s depressing and hard to find. But when I say no one goes here, I literally mean you can cry as much as you want and no one will be around to stare. So go to Bergson’s Cafe and pick up a cup of Brew Bike Coffee to support your fellow Northwestern students, and maybe a chocolate bar or three, and then take the elevator to the top floor and find the most hidden desk among the stacks of books and get to studying. You’ll feel like the outside world doesn’t exist, but sometimes that’s what you need when you have to teach yourself the entire history of the 19th Century the day before the midterm.