Finals week is creeping up on Cal Poly students. During past in-person quarters that would typically mean the library, coffee shops and dorms would be filled with students trying to get some last-minute studying in. However, COVID-19 has forced students to find other places to study.

Political science senior Amanda Kennedy said they like to study at Linnaea’s Cafe. Part of the reason they like it is because they work there so it’s convenient, but they also genuinely enjoy the environment.

“It’s very quaint and quiet,” Kennedy said. “It’s a good environment, there’s usually a lot of people in their zones, just doing their own thing, so there’s not a lot of distractions.”

Kennedy said that since they already work there, they picked Linnaea’s Cafe trying to limit their exposure to too many other people.

“For a long time I didn’t feel comfortable being in public for extended periods of time,” Kennedy said. “Honestly now that cases are spiking again, I might stick to studying at home more often.”

Kennedy said that the quality of their studying is much better when they aren’t at home. 

“When I’m studying in a public place, because there’s the potential that I’m being watched, I feel more pressure to be diligent. Whereas at home, if I’m just alone in my room I can slack off and there’s no consequences because I’m not really being watched.” Kennedy said.

Liberal studies junior Alexis Van Howe said that her favorite place to study is Kreuzberg coffee shop downtown.

“They have really nice outdoor seating, large tables, and wi-fi, so it’s just really accessible and easy to go to,” Van Howe said.

Van Howe said that it’s been harder for her to find places to study this quarter.

“I used to go to the UU [University Union] and the library a lot, and obviously those are closed so it’s been a bit harder. I do enjoy studying outside now more with COVID-19, they have Dexter Lawn open, which is pretty nice and quiet,” Van Howe said.

Similar to Kennedy, Van Howe said that she studies better when she isn’t at home. 

“When I’m in my room it’s really easy to get distracted by things like my phone. It’s my bedroom so it feels like, ‘oh I can just slack off here and take a nap,’” Van Howe said. “When I make a goal for myself to go out and get my homework done, I’m definitely more productive.”

Van Howe said that her motivation to study has been much lower this quarter. 

“I’ve definitely found it harder this quarter to stay motivated to do my work. I feel like I’m kind of doing the bare minimum, when before I would try a lot harder to get all of my studying done,” Van Howe said.

Business administration junior Tommy Tolod said he likes to study at Throop Park.

“I really love it there because it’s nice and sunny. It’s a great way to get fresh air and kind of get out of the house a little bit while still being productive,” Tolod said.

Tolod said that he feels less pressure when he studies outside.

“When I study away from home it’s generally a lot more relaxed and less stressful,” he said. “I feel like I can take it at a slower pace.”

For Tolod, he has found that it is easier to stay motivated this quarter.

“There’s not much separation between work and home, so I can kind of meld the two together. As opposed to other quarters where it was like, ‘I’m home, there’s no way I’m doing any work right now.’ So I feel fairly motivated when I’m studying around the house,” Tolod said.

Civil engineering senior Itzel Zapata said that she likes to study in her room, because it’s the most comfortable for her.

“My room is the most convenient place for me to study. I don’t have to wear a mask here, which is really nice because I wear a mask all day at work,” Zapata said. “I’ve organized it perfectly to how I need it to function best.”

Although her room is where she likes to study, Zapata said that it can lead to distractions.

“It takes me so much longer when I’m at home to get things done because there’s so many more distractions. Like I can go downstairs and snack whenever I want,” Zapata said.

Zapata said that due to COVID-19, studying outside makes her nervous.

“It’s just uncomfortable. Cases are going up, so when you’re at a coffee shop and people aren’t wearing masks because they’re sipping on coffee, you’re just uneasy the whole time,” Zapata said.

Lisa Hess is the owner of Lucy’s Coffee Co. In a Zoom interview with Mustang News, she explained how the pandemic has been affecting her business.

“It’s been pretty difficult,” Hess said. “It’s hard with not all of the students being back for us, because we really depend on that. It’s nice that they’ve let us have seating now, but we’re only at 25% capacity, so we’re just holding onto that.”

Hess said that she’s been noticing more students coming to study recently.

“It’s definitely picking up a little more,” Hess said. “But it’s been all over the place. There’s been no rhyme or reason this year at all,”

Hess recommends Lucy’s Coffee Co as a place for students to study for finals.

“We have outdoor seating for people that aren’t comfortable coming inside, we have plenty of space and seating on the inside. People can plug in chargers for laptops, we’re keeping it very safe and clean in there,” Hess said. “I always say, I almost feel like that’s the safest place when I’m at work, because we’re just so careful.”

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