Super Study Spots

By Emma Grace Howlett ‘25

During my first semester at Pomona, I found myself swept away by a shower of fun social events and extracurricular opportunities. However, I found it hard to balance a heavy school workload with such a wealth of social resources. It took a few months to find an equilibrium, and, most importantly, good study spots. Thanks to the natural beauty and Edenic weather of Pomona’s campus, most of my favorite study spots happen to be outside and can be enjoyed year-round. (Especially helpful during a pandemic!) Here are a few of my most cherished study locations in the Claremont Consortium:

Marston Quad at Pomona College:

Ah, the iconic Marston Quad. This is not only one of my favorite study spots, but also one of my favorite people-watching haunts. Whenever I need a break from a long reading, I enjoy observing my fellow students. Often there will be someone stretched out on a blanket with a guitar, or groups of people playing hacky sack or passing a soccer ball or frisbee. This is also a great place to see cute dogs, or, on rare occasions, slack liners as they hone their impressive balancing skills.

Bookshelves on walls, person studying at tableThe History Library at Pomona College:

Tucked away in the southern wing of Mason Hall, the history library is a hidden gem. Reminiscent of the libraries in Beauty and the Beast, the walls, bookshelves, and tables are all constructed of a lustrous wood. Most exciting of all, the shelves are complete with sliding ladders! This library strikes the rare balance of natural light and the coziness of brooding academia, and has just the right amount of comfy armchairs to counteract the classical wooden tables.

Stanley Quad at Pomona College:

More secluded than Marston Quad, Stanley Quad is bordered on three sides by buildings housing the history, English, and language departments. Benches encircle a blue mosaic fountain, and quaint paved paths radiate out from it to form triangular lawns. I like to study at an outdoor table with an umbrella (to shield me from the sun, not the rain). This is a picturesque, quiet study spot, and is right outside the history and English libraries, making it perfectly located for my humanities homework.

young woman standing on golden leaves with golden elm trees aroundElm Tree Lawn at Scripps College:

As the name suggests, this lawn is lined with two rows of slender elm trees, draped with lines of outdoor fairy lights that twinkle magically in the evening. In all seasons, this lawn is a beautiful atmosphere in which to write an essay or solve a problem set. In spring the elms boast a bounty of greenery, and in winter their bare branches display a delicate framework. Yet my favorite time of year at Elm Tree Lawn is in autumn, when the trees shine with golden leaves, their glow heightened by the fairy lights. As I sit writing my essay, a gust of wind brings a brilliant array of lustrous leaves fluttering to the ground like falling stars.

Emma and a friend on a rooftop with San Gabriel mountains backdropKravis Roof at Claremont McKenna College (CMC):

The coolest feature of CMC’s Kravis Center is its array of multi-tiered rooftops. I prefer the second-floor, garden rooftop, which sometimes hosts outdoor classrooms during the day. Potted trees provide shade, and the study tables command an expansive view of the entire San Gabriel mountain range. In the winter, Mt Baldy dons a snowy cap, beckoning me to hike in its foothills.

As you can tell, I study best when surrounded by nature, and I am grateful that the 5Cs have an abundance of beautiful outdoor study spaces enjoyable every month of the year, with views of towering trees, inspiring architecture, and snowy mountains.