You walk into your home, grumble hello to your parents and go to your room. You sit and try to relax–until you remember all the homework you have to do.
Just as you sigh and open a much-too-large textbook...BAM! the vacuum starts running, the TV is clicked on, video games start blaring, and music is on full blast--all making it into your room.
There is a simple solution to these after-school woes. Get out of the house. Here’s a run-down of the top eight places to get work done around town.
Cook Memorial Library
Best for: Anything. But you have to keep project noise low.
The Environment: It is very quiet, and the new modern feel has opened the layout of the library. It is now much more open.
Pros: The library inspires learning. Plenty of computers are available for use. Cook Library offers WiFi, and all tables are near electrical outlets. And with three private study rooms available to people 14 and older, two study rooms for children 14 and younger, a quiet reading room–equipped with firepace–many tables of varying sizes, and books, there is no reason not to focus on work (and no reason not to finish work).
Cons: There isn’t any food or beverages available except for the occasional water fountain. The other drawback is the constant silence, helpful to some people but agonizing for others. It’s easy to come here for group work, but you have to stay fairly quiet.
Best for: Reading, writing and partner projects.
The Environment: Walking into Caribou can make you feel like walking into a lodge: oversized couches and wooden chairs. Plus, the smell of coffee always hangs in the air.
Pros: Tables range from two to four people. So spreading out is possible for one or two people’s things. Varying seat choices allow for multiple places to work, and the fireplace adds a bit more light–and a more homey touch–thus making it easier to get to work. All of the furniture can make it tough to get around, though.
Cons: It’s located right next to a train stop and, thus, many loud, unexpected sounds. It’s also very expensive and is always busy. This causes many distractions, and can make it hard to focus.
Best for: Writing creative papers, journaling and reading books.
The Environment: Starbucks has an ever- present scent of coffee, and the door never seems to close. On the right there is the counter, with food and other various coffee making items. To the left are overstuffed chairs, some smaller wooden chairs, and square tables for two to four people. There is one communal table with seven to eight seats.
Pros: Caffeine is always at your fingertips, always worth the price and great for boosting energy. It is the type of place that encourages creativity.
Cons: It gets busy, so get there before the before-school and after-school rush. Otherwise, all of the larger spaces will be taken. It’s pretty tight to walk around when carrying a backpack.
Barnes and Noble
Best For: Reading any type of book.
The Environment: There are walls of bookshelves all around, but in between is an open floorplan, so navigating is easy between the sections of books. There is a small Starbucks in the corner, and tall windows along one wall. There isn’t much noise, and there isn’t much seating except in Starbucks, which has shallow window seats, some benches in the magazine section, and a tall counter with stools.
Pros: Coffee is nearby, as is sunlight by Starbucks. There are also books everywhere.
Cons: They frown on reading without purchasing, and near the bulk of the books there isn’t much seating, unless you count the floor.
Best for: Writing, reading and art.
The Environment: Cook is outside, so there’s fresh air, soft grass, trees and the Cook House all around you.
Pros: There are metal benches and wooden picnic tables everywhere. With all the nature around, there are plenty of inspirations for more creative assignments, and sometimes being outside can help you focus and actually do work.
Cons: A major drawback to the park is the wind and sun. There are some buildings to block wind and some trees to block the sun, but otherwise you are at the mercy of the elements. The roads near the park are very busy and can cause distractions. It is next to Cook Library, so resources are nearby but not accessible right at the park. Overall, it’s a peaceful place to do work.
Best For: Doing daily homework
The Environment: The cafe feeling of Panera is sensed from the moment you open the door. With brightly painted walls and abstract paintings on the wall–and sun pouring in–energy is abundant. There are raised wooden tables and chairs, normal tables and chairs, and booths everywhere.
Pros: There are many options for refreshments, which add decadent scents to the air.
Cons: People always are coming in and out, and always talking loudly. There isn’t room for group work, but solo work can be done easily. There is also a lack of resources, such as books, computers, etc. In the end Panera is okay for
Bagels by the Book
Best For: Simple, quick homework.
The Environment: To the left are the myriad of bagels. It always smells of bacon and breakfast foods. There are a lot of windows towards the front of the store. To the right are metal chairs and small tables. In the back is one large table.
Pros: Good food for a good price, keeping energy up, and focus on the work to be done. Lots of sunlight comes in too.
Cons: Most tables are quite small. It is always busy, which can give you the feeling of claustrophobia. Overall, it’s a great place for bagels, but not the best place to do homework.
This editorial was written by Aubrey Clement, for Drops of Ink, Libertyville High School's student-produced news publication. This article was first published on Drops of Ink in March. The opinions expressed in the editorial do not necessarily reflect those of Patch.