Midterm season: What coffee and dessert shops are students studying at?

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Graphic by Kayla Roberts

As midterm season ramps up, the libraries and study spots at UNLV start filling up. Many find more peace and quiet at coffee shops compared to their homes and on campus, begging the question: what coffee shops are UNLV students studying at?

The Writers Block in Downtown Las Vegas is a coffee shop that biology student Teresa Nguyen studies at with her best friend. Nguyen jokes, “At home, I get distracted … How did I hear about the coffee shop? Because [my best friend] told me to go.” She continues, “There’s a giant bunny that’s always sleeping, with those big marble eyes. Normally, I don’t order anything but [my best friend] orders a Thai tea latte.”

Film student Matthew Mondschein also thinks the Writer’s Block is a great place to work. “I think it has to do with the environment,” Monschein said. “In places like Writer’s Block, you’re surrounded by great books about different things. So when I’m writing, I find being in the environment is motivating; I can do it too.”

On the other side of town, a new coffee shop in Southwest Las Vegas has been gaining popularity amongst students. Ka’iulani-joy Conlu, Janel Gozum and Alyssa Soliven are occupational therapy (OT) students who found a new home away from home this midterm season at Domie’s Yogurt. Conlu thinks Domie’s is perfect, enjoying their “cute aesthetic and silly little drinks.” 

Students find many reasons to frequent coffee shops for their study needs. “Going to coffee shops really motivates me, especially when there are other people there that are studying,” Conlu explained. “When you’re at a cafe, you can’t sleep or do anything else for the most part, so it forces you to slay your studies.”

Soliven shared a similar testament, claiming she works at coffee shops any time she has an assignment that will take her over an hour to work on. “Going to a cafe for me is the equivalent of going to a library to study,” she said. “I think I need [the environment] to be a little more upbeat and lively in order for me to be productive.”

Additionally, they found collaboration is key to tackling their OT school studies. Gozum thinks “going to a coffee shop with others can reinforce productivity.” They spend a lot of time sharing notes and quizzing one another, so coffee shops provide a perfect meeting spot. However, not all coffee shops are created equal.

Soliven needs “comfortable seating, food, power outlets, and reliable Wi-Fi” at any coffee shop she visits. She is even so particular that securing her spot makes or breaks her study session. She explained that “if my spot is taken, I get a small drink because I won’t be staying long.”

But not everyone is as particular as Soliven; Gozum simply operates best at any coffee shop. “If I can’t concentrate at home, I go out,” Gozum said. “If I want boba or coffee, I bring my laptop and a textbook … If you need to focus and cannot get that at home, going to a cafe could be the space you need.” 

The stress of midterms dissipates for these students, as they gather to form study groups, flip through their notes and fill out study guides. Even during this stressful time, students still find a way to laugh with their classmates, enjoy drinks and make memories. To many, being productive is not a function of personality; rather, it is the environment that allows them to be their most productive and successful self.

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