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Virginia Commonwealth University is an excellent place to learn. There are many spots on campus designed for students to get some good old studying done. If you are new to campus however, these are 5 places you will want to steer clear from if you need a quiet and distraction-free place to focus.

5. The Compass

There is always something going on at the Compass. Placed right in the middle of the Cabell library and the Shafer Dining Hall, this area on campus is like the Times Square of VCU. There are always people congregating, moving about, dancing, chanting, singing, protesting, or simply bumming it. This year in particular, there seemed to be extra protesting going on (watch the news). And you should know, this is not just any type of protesting. If you like hearing different people’s versions of the Bible being shouted aloud, or having to walk out of your way to walk around someone’s sign, then you might enjoy this area of campus. However, if you are trying to read, study, or do any type of focusing at all, you might want to take your books/laptop somewhere else.

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4.  Shafer Dining Hall

This one seems like a no-brainer. The dining hall is for eating and socializing right? Well, not exactly. If you venture to the back where the only available electrical outlets are, you may find some students Netflix-and-chilling it with a bowl of cereal or french fries. In fact, if you ask most VCU students, they will admit that being able to eat and turn in homework assignments simultaneously does have its advantages. The only problem is, there are only about three places to charge, and in the process, you may put on a few extra pounds past the freshman 15.

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3. Academic Learning Commons

This building, also known as MCALC, always has an ungodly amount of classes/students going on during peak hours. Whether its math or science, the class sizes here average about 300 students (if everyone shows up), and it is unconfirmed if the third and fourth floors of the building actually exist. Not only is it impossible to find an open place to sit down on the first or second floors, it is nearly impossible to walk through the hall or out the doors without blind-siding someone. Come here for class only, unless you are brave enough to venture to the third and fourth floors.

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2. The West Main Street Deck Parking Garage

If you decide to park here, just know that there may or may not be other people in their cars sitting there(you are being watched). Whether these people are checking their emails, doing homework, or doing anything in between, remains unclear. However, what is a known fact is that sitting in your car to study can get cramped, and you won’t have a desk or table by your side. Your best bet is to head over to the Trani Life Sciences building where you are bound to find an empty classroom to sprawl out and get your studying on.

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1. The Cary Street Gym

You’re probably wondering why this is on the list….but hey, who says you can’t look over your notes while biking in place. Apparently, some VCU students agree. From study session yoga to Chemistry club basketball, VCU students do it all. What would really be impressive is to see someone getting schoolwork done while rock climbing. This may be why rock climbers at VCU do not have the best GPAs……. Anyway, if you do decide to catch up on your classes while you sweat, you may want to bring your earbuds….headphones or…….. headphones that go over your earbuds. That should do the trick.

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While these locations on VCU campus are not places necessarily inclined for hard-working students, they are places you should definitely visit if you’re trying to get away from the books. VCU is not just a school for academics. Along with these 5 places, there are many extracurricular clubs and community activities to enjoy that add to the overall diversity of the college.


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Jack Rhodes


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