Ah, fall. The beginning of another year at university in Halifax. Freshly sharpened pencils and lofty goals of daily study sessions abound. If you can get down to business during the day or early evening, you have your pick of campus buildings, libraries and local coffee shops.
But with part-time jobs, busy class schedules and extra-curricular activities, late night study sessions are the norm for many students. That poses a bit of a problem. Sure, you could pretend to work in your dorm room while actually watching Homestar Runner. Or you could try to buckle down in your apartment until the urge to spit-shine the entire kitchen derails your 10-point plan for studying biology.
If home is too distracting or your roommate is the early-to-bed type, you need options. Where should you go when the need to study strikes? Fret not, noble student. There are places both on- and off-campus for hitting the books.
All of the campuses in Halifax have at least one 24-hour study area, with the exception of the Nova Scotia Community College. Building hours at the community college vary depending on the campus. Students can get into the Akerley or Halifax (Granville Street) campuses until 10pm on weeknights. At the IT campus on Leeds Street, the building is open to students until 11pm during the week. Weekend hours are reduced. Students should always take ID with them and be prepared to show it if asked.
At Dalhousie, students can head to the Computer Science building. With a picture or student ID, anyone can use the study area 24 hours a day. If you have permission, you can even use the computers. The building is the only 24-hour study space on the campus. There are two reasons for that, says spokesperson Charles Crosby.
“First, we go to security—the cost of having to monitor multiple spaces obviously gets considerable,” he says. “But it’s also because of the number of requests we’ve had for that kind of space.”
Crosby says the university would revisit the issue if there was an increased demand. Right now, the Killam Library is open until midnight, with extended hours during exam periods, and students seem to be satisfied.
Across the way, King’s College students get the best of both worlds. They can wander from their dorm rooms to campus common areas 24 hours a day, and can also take advantage of Dalhousie’s facilities if they need a change of scenery.
Down the road at Saint Mary’s University, most of the campus is open around the clock. In the Loyola colonnade, students can settle down at benches and tables to study whenever they want. There are also 24-hour computer labs for students to use. The areas are monitored by web cam for safety, and security also patrols. The best part? Students who live in residence can get from their rooms to the study areas without going outside—perfect for a chilly winter night.
Spokesperson Paul Fitzgerald says the campus has to be open. “We’ve got a lot of late-night and weekend classes,” he says, “and because we’re always making moves to make education accessible...there are people who are single parents, etc., and we want to make it accessible no matter who you are.”
Mount Saint Vincent University, on the Bedford Highway, may be smaller than Dal or SMU, but it offers its students several late-night study spots. The Rosaria Student Centre has tables and chairs for studying, and is available 24 hours a day, with wi-fi access. Likewise, students are allowed to stay in the RBC Link and the Seton Cafe late into the night. If you need a computer, you can work until midnight at the lab in the Seton Academic Centre. Escorts home can be arranged at 457-6412.
If you’re a night owl with an artistic temperament, NSCAD University has got you covered. Their studio spaces are open 24 hours a day because, as communications coordinator Suzanne Jordan says, “it’s kind of hard to put limits when you’re trying to encourage them to break out of that in every other area.”
And inspiration can strike at any hour.
But what if inspiration strikes along with, say, a craving for pizza? Or if you just can’t stand the sight of campus anymore? Then you, my friend, need to get yourself to one of the few study-friendly late-night spots around town.
Halifax is known for its bars, but the Shoe Shop and Reflections aren’t exactly prime study spots. Freeman’s Little New York on Quinpool, on the other hand, is a great option. They’re open until 5am and you don’t have to make a purchase to be there. Of course, most people do get a pop or a slice, but staff say they don’t kick folks out for studying.
If you’re more in need of a caffeine jolt, Perks Coffee on Lower Water Street could be the place for you. Unlike their sister store on Quinpool, which closes at midnight, the waterfront store is open 24 hours a day. You might even get a good deal on a doughnut.
The Apple Barrel restaurant on Grafton Street is also open 24 hours and you can order a lumberjack’s breakfast with a side of Economics 101. Beware the nearby Dome, though—it may hinder your studying experience, depending on the day of the week.