As a graduate of the BuzzFeed School of Pop Psychology, I know what kind of person I am based on my favorite fast food and how many kids I’ll have based on my dog breed of choice. But there’s one question I haven’t found answers to online (yet): What does my preferred study space say about me?
For much of the semester, I made my home in the little vending machine hallway connecting Richter’s two wings. Holed up against a then-in-progress dead end, there was nothing behind me but the buzz of construction. No one to walk behind me or judge me for split-screening “This is Us” on Tuesday nights.
Some passersby definitely saw me crying over particularly heart-wrenching episodes but probably just chalked it up to midterm blues, rather than my incurable procrastination. I liked the disguise.
The library’s new Learning Commons forced me to address this introversion. The renovated space boasts an openness, an air of collaboration marked by colorful clusters of chairs and big, beautiful work tables. I’m certainly not complaining – if my spot had to go to make room for some really comfy seating and outlets (a hot commodity) every few feet, it was a worthwhile sacrifice.
But you’ll still find me clinging to corners wherever I can find them. Life experience can affect choices like this. (It’s a common preference for members of the military, for example.) Though in my case, I do it for the same reason people choose green over blue, rap over rock – it’s just a personality thing.
We already know that where you sit at a table, whether it’s for a work meeting or family dinner, can say something about your role in the group dynamic, and how much (or how little) you want to be there. Sitting at the head of the table conveys that “you are in control,” according to body language expert Bernardo Tirado in a blog for Psychology Today, while picking a middle seat communicates your team-player attitude.
It’s not so far-fetched, then, to think our personalities play into our study spots of choice, too.
Maybe a BuzzFeed quiz on the topic would tell you that your preference for the stacks means you’re “committed to concentration, and will happily tease yourself with views of Coral Gables from behind prison-esque windows to motivate yourself to finish studying.”
Or your penchant for poolside reading says you’re “an able multitasker and find inspiration in sunscreen and clear, blue H2O.”
For those corner and cranny-dwellers, maybe “you like to observe from afar – you don’t mind the chatter so long as you can spot its source.”
I won’t pretend to understand the real intricacies of your choice, though if you have a friend in psych, that might be worth a conversation. It is clear, though, that your choice warrants reflection, if for no other reason than to better understand yourself and what makes you tick.
Just like you might have a go-to work playlist or coffee order, make the physical locale of your studying a conscious consideration – and see if you can’t cram a little better.
Grace Wehniainen is a junior majoring in motion pictures.