In Fall 2013, when I was but a freshman, an article in the then-Student Life section of the Wheel, written by my Orientation Leader Lane Billings, offered a wealth of information to that young, bearded Sam who wanted to escape the dark, dank halls of Dobbs to study and do homework in his (little) free time. This article, “Lane’s Secret Study Spots,” became my bible of dorm escaping. Can’t find a spot in the overpopulated stacks? Hit the (now defunct) Pitts Theology Library. Want to take a nap on campus? Sleep in the (now office-ized) Schwartz Center’s music student lounge. The places it listed were underused and easily accessible, but, sadly, for several the ship has sailed. I hope to detail here, then, the current state of the (not entirely) secret study spots.
Candler School of Theology
Perhaps the most popular option on this list, the current Candler School of Theology building replaced the quad-facing, somewhat mustily historic library that occupied the earlier list.
It is a stunning, clean building that houses study spaces throughout, including some comfortable chairs on the ground level (entrance on Dickey Drive) and numerous other seating areas spread throughout the building.
The building’s patio in the space behind Cannon Chapel and next to White Hall is probably my favorite outdoors space on campus, because when it is warm and sunny there is no place with chairs or tables as comfortable.
Study rooms do exist in the (new) Pitts Theology Library, as well, on the second floor of the building. These need to be checked out, but they are chock full of modern amenities, including WiFi (a luxury its predecessor effectively did without).
Schwartz Center Lounges
Probably nearest and dearest to my heart are the options in the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts. The former music student lounge on the third floor, which faces Highland Bakery and the Goizueta Business School, is now a professor’s office, but that is not to say that students are out on their luck if they hope to sneak a nap as they are waiting for their Financial Accounting exam.
On the third floor, the theater student lounge is on the western end of the building above the dance studio. There are two musty, somewhat lumpy couches and a couple of tables. Occasionally populated by music students missing their former home or members of the theater department holding a meeting, one can go hours without seeing anyone, making it perfect for a dimly lit nap.
If one were to go down the stairs connected to this lounge, one would find the dance student lounge (or, alternatively, if one walks past the dance studio and turns to the right it will be on the left at the end of that short hall), another comfy performing arts student lounge. While this one definitely gets more traffic (it always looks clean and with somewhat up-to-date announcements posted), it is also more often than not completely empty. The lounge also has a window, offering some natural light in contrast to the theater student lounge.
Woodruff Health Sciences Center Library
While not particularly secret to those that make the trek out to the Rollins School of Public Health/Bio building side of campus, this library often has many open desks and comfortable chairs as well as computer workstations. Located just on the other side of the bridge from Longstreet-Means Hall, many students view it as too far of a trek to be worth it, but for those that enjoy a little walk or live in the nearby Woodruff Residential Center it can be a blessing worth looking into. The couches here are pretty hard to beat.
Law School Library
Mentioned on Lane’s earlier list, the law library has not changed too terribly much in the intervening years. It features broad windows, plenty of natural light and a sense of decorum that leaves the place utterly silent and devoid of riff-raff. Undergraduates rarely venture in here, but those that do quickly appreciate the change of pace from Woodruff Library’s regularly scheduled sorority girl conversations. The chairs are fantastic, the place is clean and no one will bother you.