Sit, study, sob: Places to cram or cry before finals

Let’s face it: Although an NYC college experience is desired by many a student, living with eight million of your closest friends isn’t always ideal. Now that finals season and its accompanying let-me-go-home emotions are lurking, here’s a list of solitary hideaways to study and weep in.


Believe it or not, there is still a golden handful of semi-abandoned campus spaces for you to study and/or cry. If your quest to find seating in Butler has ended in an inevitable failure, head to one of the following locations for some alone time.

Altschul seating areas

Expect unique seating areas on any of Altschul’s 13 floors. There’s often ample table space with very few people taking it up.

In addition to the killer views and the third floor seating area being professionally rated as one of the comfiest sofa spots on campus, most of Altschul’s work areas tend to be abandoned, even during peak studying/crying hours.

Your only visitors will be students leaving class and office hours (if you’re there during the day) and the sympathetic janitors (if you’re there during the night).


13th floor of Altschul. Top floor of Diana

With its colorful mural and floor-to-ceiling windows, the top floor of Diana is the perfect place to escape your stress; just take the elevators up to the top floor. Bonus points if the glass doors are unlocked and you can step outside onto the grassy rooftop for some fresh air and Broadway views. (But don’t. Very danger. Very trouble. Make Public Safety sad.)

Bear in mind that since the sixth floor isn’t too tucked away, you’ll probably encounter other studiers and criers. That being said, the door to the staircase (to the right of the mural) is a lovely, secluded sob statio.


The back corners of Butler’s second floor stacks

It is unclear if these parts of the stacks have seen life since 1935 (besides the occasional hookup or overnight ghost hunt). If you’re seeking solitude, try moving into one of the shelf nooks along the far walls. Bring a blanket though; the floors are hard and the temperature is Antarctic.


Dodge’s squash courts

“We have squash courts?!” my surprised roommate, Ella, exclaimed. We do indeed have squash courts, and for much of the day they remain unused. Drag a yoga mat in there, lay down, and whimper to your heart’s desire.

` Screen Shot 2016-12-05 at 8.36.01 pm.png

@columbiamenslax / via Instagram Geology Library

One of the less-crowded libraries on campus, this space is safely tucked away on the sixth floor of Schermerhorn. Surrounded by rocks as emotionless as your professors, feel free to express your finals angst by any means necessary here.

Over reading period, classrooms on this floor are also often empty. They make nice solitary confinement dens if you need to be away from people.


Be sure to take time for yourself this finals season (even if that involves stress-eating Cheetos on the floor of your dorm room). Get some distance between you and your stressors. Looking back in January, you’ll be glad you did.

Find any other abandoned study spaces? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat @CUSpectrum.
Mariella Evangelista is a Barnard first-year and a Spectrum staff writer. She is not afraid to admit that she has contemplated crying in all of these places. Reach her at

Images by Mariella Evangelista.


Plain text

  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.