Finals Frustration

Giving up on Gelman? Fed up with Cosi? Done with your dorm room? If you’re one of many students anxiously studying or writing papers these next few weeks, you’re probably also one of many students going stir-crazy from studying at the same tired places. So toss your Cosi sandwiches, ditch your roommates and head out into the city for a change of scenery.

For some beautiful background, try one of D.C.’s many parks or monuments. Washington Circle always has vacant benches and beautiful flowers, if you don’t mind the occasional profanities or honking coming from nearby drivers. For students on the other side of campus, Constitution Gardens is right at Constitution Avenue and 19th Street (it’s that big park with the lake and the Signers of the Declaration of Independence Memorial in the middle). Lafayette Park, which is just a tiny bit farther off campus, is nice, as well.

For those who don’t mind going the distance, there are a few more options. Take a long walk and sit beside the cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin next to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt memorial while some are still in bloom. Or saunter down toward the Smithsonian museums and study in the butterfly garden or the sculpture garden of the National Gallery of Art.

The bad side of spring is the rain that comes with it. Don’t dismay if the weather ruins your plans. Believe it or not, there are places designed with students in mind. They house rows of books and have tables, lamps and even people paid to assist you. Give up? It’s a library, and D.C. has two of the best. First, there’s the Library of Congress. It’s the world’s biggest library and the staff will find your books for you in about half an hour. There’s no need to ever leave (except for when the guards kick you out at closing time). My suggestion is the main reading room in the Thomas Jefferson Building.

If the Library of Congress doesn’t sound too appealing, it may be time to pay a visit to the famous bard from Stratford-on-Avon, William Shakespeare. Relax, this isn’t a trip to the cemetery. The Folger Shakespeare Library near the Capitol is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

Tired of all of the studying? Well, wake up – those finals aren’t going to take themselves. And what better way to wake up than with a cup of coffee from one of the many coffee shops in D.C.

Kramerbooks & Afterwords Cafe in Dupont Circle is open 24 hours on Fridays and Saturdays. Because it’s a bookstore and cafe, you won’t look like a dork showing up with all your books because everyone else is reading, too. Soho Tea and Coffee and Teaism are both cozy places to curl up with a book. Or, if tea isn’t your cup of, well, tea, the Firehook Bakery has amazing hot chocolate and pastries. During the day it’s usually quiet – perfect for a lunchtime study session.

Calorie counters should head across the street (and down a little ways) to La Madeleine for some spinach salad and famous tomato basil soup. It gets a little crowded during mealtimes but is a great place to study during those off-peak hours. Speaking of food, what do you do when it’s 2 a.m. and you get the study munchies? Being a Jersey girl, there’s only one answer – the diner. The one I’ve found around here is called, well, The Diner. Located in Adams Morgan, it is open 24 hours a day.

These are merely a few suggestions as to where to go. If you have to study you might as well take advantage of the city and spice it up a little bit with a change of scenery.

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