At MUWCI, we like to talk about all the academic work we have to do. Lunch time conversations can easily range from Punjabi food to women’s rights in Zimbabwe, yet somehow, we always end up talking about our impending assignments.
Much of our time is spent on academic engagement. I hear about deadlines and assignments all the time, but what I’m more interested in is this: where do we go to actually write our essays and papers?
I set out on a mission to find out, where in our big and beautiful campus people prefer to study. The results I got were very interesting, ranging from roofs to mountain sides.
Vanisha Sampat, a second year from India, has a routine when it comes to studying in different places. She will move around campus studying in all the common rooms – except her own. The common rooms, which are the students’ shared space for relaxing and cooking, are busy places, with people cooking noodles at strange hours and having various gatherings. So I ask her with confusion why just this was her favorite place. “People are not a distraction,´´ she says, “they don’t stay there for too long.´´ The combination of small-talk, opportunity for deep-conversations and a vast realm of new, easily available perspectives are the things that make the common room perfect for studying. But why not her own common room, I wonder? “It is too familiar,´´ she says with a smile.
Although Vanisha enjoys the company of others while studying, she also needs to be away from noise and commotion once in a while. Luckily, our campus has the fortune of lying in the Western Ghats, which means we have two large hills surrounding our little home. To avoid the distraction of internet and lively conversation, Vanisha likes to study on the side of Internet Hill, ironically the only place without internet on campus. Vanisha has certainly found a way to make use of the best of both worlds when it comes to academic stimuli at MUWCI: one world of rich perspectives and another of pure beauty.
She, however, is not the only one who is inventive with study spaces. After talking to Lara Lebleu, current first year, I learned that she has found a way to escape the acoustics of our school. Albeit gorgeous, the architecture does bring us closer together in that we can usually hear peers conversing about something or the other, laughing and listening to music. Lara, who has super sensitive hearing, does her homework on the roof of her house where the sound of other people’s conversations or music does not reach her. The Indian sun can be harsh, but with the peace and quiet of her kingdom on the roof, Lara is able to contemplate and reflect over the new ideas and theories she learns in class.
The opportunities of places to study in MUWCI are endless. Some students prefer the art-center, where they can work on their visual art projects while writing essays for global politics, or learn how to edit a movie while creating a documentary on our college. Although we all have different preferences when it comes to study spaces, the students of all classes are close and ready to help each other at any time, which brings me to my favorite place to study: My room. With tea and cozy blankets at hand, it is the perfect place to talk with my fellow philosophy student/ roommate about all the interesting theories and ideas we are taught in class. Although we usually end up far away from our original point, there is nothing like a late-night discussion about ethics in the comforts of what has now become my home.
Lærke Hass (Class of ’16)