Reviewed by Kimberly Johnson
Once upon a time there was a young, incredibly stressed university student. His kingdom was overpopulated, his chambers loud, and he had not the time nor the hour to search for a fair maiden. He was but a broken man clinging to the ever-thinning stands of sanity.
Of course, we’ve all been in the situation where life provides more than enough distractions on the dizzying rollercoaster that is the academic season. Our young man had heard of taverns far and wide, but alas, none found his favour. “Where to study!” he cried. “Where to learn!” His heart sank in despair and his marks came tumbling after.
But fret not, dear friends! For indeed there is hope for our young student—and for you as well. For behold! I bring forth a haven that will raise your spirits and your marks. May I present: Panera Bread.
If studying at home is not a reality for you, then Panera Bread is definitely ideal. This fine café and bakery boasts a wide selection of breads, pastries, sandwiches, and soups that really do taste as good as they smell. Let’s admit it: if you have to cram for a test, you often want to cram your face with cookies, too.
As you drag your exhausted rear end into the store, you are greeted by a grand selection of wide tables and soft plushy couches. Imagine—learning and being comfortable at the same time! Oh, sweet wonder! As you set your “life in a backpack” down, take a moment to be thankful for the welcome emptiness that is but a rare treat in your world. Panera Bread also offers bottomless coffee, tea, and pop. (Yeah, you read that right. BOTTOMLESS.) As in you have an unlimited access to the most wonderful legal stimulant there is. So yes, you sweet, exhausted pursuer of a degree, sit back, open your textbook, sip your drink, and study away. That is why you came here, right?
Imagine this. You watch raindrops cascade down the translucent window before you stare at the wordless open document on your screen. Words. You need words. Brilliant words. Yet none appear.
You sigh and look down at your heavenly cup of coffee, the golden elixir for which you came. You raise your eyes and glance over the groups of people huddled around tables, laughing, eating, talking. Families, friends, and dates surround you, each with their own story.
This is Coffee Culture. A place where people come to socialize, write, and, yes, study. Coffee Culture offers a wide array of food, drinks, and ice cream, all at an affordable price. In order to classify as an ideal study space, a place needs food, and this café has it. Coffee Culture offers cheesecake, sandwiches, soups, salads, pastries, and even coffee.
But to be honest, the best part of Coffee Culture isn’t the food, it’s the environment. The café is littered with large tables and plushy couches between walls painted in warm colours. Coffee Culture has an amazing environment, perfect for studying, reading, or group projects. The café’s free Wi-Fi also helps you access Facebook… oh, and the material you need for school. You write your essay that’s due soon—or you frantically cram.
So if you’re ever in the area and you know you need to study, check out Coffee Culture, grab a drink and a slice of cake, sit down, and get to work.
Reviewed by Aliza Khalid
Centre for Education and Training
The Centre for Education and Training in Mississauga is a resource facility set up by the provincial government intended to help residents find employment. The Mississauga centre is located on Burnhamthorpe Road, a five-minute journey by bus from Square One. Unexpectedly for a government facility, the centre is elegantly designed and furnished in a way that could put anyone at ease.
The reception area is lit by soft ceiling lights and painted in warm yellow and green tones. The centre provides free access to computers, printers, and photocopiers, and offers employment and education advice. All you have to do is to fill out a form regarding your status in Canada (Canadian citizen, permanent resident, student visa, etc.), and then a counsellor comes up to you, explains how you can take advantage of the centre, and hands you an identification card that gives you access to the computers.
What you do next is up to you. You can go up to the rows of blue workstations and spend hours studying on a comfy rolling chair and print 20 pages of lecture notes for free, or you can quietly take a seat among the many study tables and prepare for your quiz next week. You can also sign up for one of their programs for youth or browse through their other career resources.
One thing’s for sure: you will have unbroken concentration on the task you set for the day. I could suggest no better place for studying for a university midterm or quiz, because the centre is literally unmatched in its feeling of quiet familiarity and yet independence to work without the distraction of family and friends.
Sheridan Learning Commons
Upon entering the Sheridan Learning Commons, the first thing that hits you is the cheerfulness of the space. The second-floor hall looks upbeat, with a high ceiling and equally high windows overlooking Square One and Duke of York Boulevard. It’s amply lit from inside, and the rooms are even brighter during the day. The natural light is the biggest plus of the Sheridan Learning Commons, making the space seemingly larger and more optimistic—which is always a plus when you’re under pressure to do well on your next test.
Each table is painted a different colour and comes equipped with sockets for laptops and the comfort of cushioned rolling chairs. Moving along the curve of the hall, you come across the Mac desktops (which are sadly inaccessible since they require Sheridan usernames and passwords).
The Learning Commons hall branches out into the Sheridan Library for research work, which seems dull and dark in comparison to the hall. But a well-lit room peeks out from the far end of the library. This is the silent study area, a bright room furnished only with 15 individual wooden desks and rolling chairs, each with opaque partitions on three sides. This room in the deep corners of Sheridan College’s new campus sets the right mood for hours of smooth, uninterrupted study.