Ranking the UNB Saint John Study Spaces

Reading Time: 9 minutes

Ever since the beloved Ward Chipman Study Room was closed for renovations, students have been at a loss for space.

We at The Baron took it upon ourselves to grade all the other study spaces on campus! So, while your favourite space may be gone, your new one may be just around the corner!

The Commons

Basement (A.K.A. The Dungeon)

Noise level: Silence. Absolute silence. Don’t be surprised if you begin to question if you have gone deaf or have transcended space and time.

Proximity to coffee: For the lazy people out there, here’s the great thing: it’s just an elevator ride away! But then you do have to pour your own coffee

Proximity to bathroom: It’s super close! But you’ll probably have to wait a fortnight to actually use it though.

Lighting: What are windows? You’ll forget, after about an hour down there. Students have been known to evolve like those weird cave fish and completely lose vision during exam season.

Comfort: Severus Snape would probably dig it. But if eerie dungeon-like spaces aren’t your thing, you’ll probably want to pass.

Smell: Ah, yes. The glorious combination of Old Book Smell and metal…

Strangest thing overheard: Anything. Any sound at all besides the calm white noise.

Verdict: If you’re looking for the type of silence you’d find in a horror movie right before the killer shows up, this is the place for you!

Main Floor

Noise level: Dumpster fire during high traffic hours, bonfire during slow ones.

Proximity to coffee: The Commons Café is very close! Just don’t be spooked by the ghost that lives in the cupboard.

Proximity to bathroom: Very good. Risk of losing your seat? Very high. Side Note: bathrooms are usually out of order, especially during exam season.

Lighting: Surprisingly adequate considering you’re in a cube.

Comfort: A bit unpredictable. First you need to find a seat. Once you have your seat, your level of comfort relies on your level of OCD and whether the seats in your section match which they probably won’t.

Smell: The scents of excessive late return fees and freshmen miserably failing Stats 1793.

Strangest thing overheard: “I’m TRYING to STUDY.”

Verdict: A great place to hangout! Oh, sorry, I forgot we were looking for good study places. Very poor. Very very poor. May I suggest the Quiet Areas located on the upper floor or the basement?

Upper Floor

Noise level: All things considered, surprisingly respectful.


Proximity to bathroom: BITCH, YOU HEARD ME!

Lighting: Trying to pull off Spa Day but is mostly like a tanning salon.

Comfort: We’re pretty sure they specially designed the chairs to add more stress to your body.

Smell: Anxiety and lost hope, coupled with procrastination and distraction. Also carpet glue.

Strangest thing overheard: “You can push the door open AND pull it open? Who designed this?”

Verdict: It feels the way Fresca tastes.

Commons Café Cupboards

Noise level: Moderate to loud.

Proximity to coffee: Don’t look now but it’s right above you!

Lighting: You do need to provide your own but it’s worth it for your own kickin’ pad.

Comfort: If you’ve sat in Oland Hall 104, you’ve been through worse.

Smell: Do you dig the smell of cookies?

Strangest thing overheard: “The selection and price of food here is amazing!”

Verdict: 7/10, definitely a step above other options. We highly recommend hanging a boss Nick Jonas poster to make this place one of a kind. #OnlyHere can your study space be this customizable! Plus, everyone will think you’re a ghost!


Noise level: Remember during the 2010 FIFA® World Cup when vuvuzelas were all the rage? Yeah, like that.

Proximity to coffee: Deadly close!

Proximity to bathroom: Also decent!

Lighting: It’s industrial but honestly if it’s good enough for Don Draper then it’s good enough for you.

Comfort: Wear sweatpants.

Smell: All the smells, like all dressed chips, in a scent. You could have worse.

Strangest thing overheard: Anything overheard during the PC leader convention.

Verdict: Look. It isn’t ideal but if you’re just looking for somewhere to vapidly stare at your books without any concrete knowledge actually cementing itself in your brain, this is the place for you. Also, there are mozza sticks!

Clock Tower (A.K.A. The Bat Cave)

Noise level: Like an echo chamber. The EDM kids love it for their ~*a e s t h e t i c*~.

Proximity to coffee: Dizzying. Seriously, it’s down a spiral staircase

Proximity to bathroom: So… Many… Stairs…

Lighting: Dim. What did you expect? It’s called the Bat Cave!

Comfort: A very scary looking couch, but If you’re lucky, Alfred will bring you some snacks.

Smell: Like if you put a dorm room in an unventilated time capsule for fifteen years and opened it.

Strangest thing overheard: A very sudden, very intense jam session by the Saint John String Quartet. Colour me classically startled!

Verdict: It may be that place you pass by and never actually walk up the stairs to, but know the stairs end. However, you have every right to be afraid of the awkwardness of catching someone hobbity-bopping on the dirty, dirty couch.

The Corridor of Sideways Glances

(Commonly referred to that hall with plants in Ganong Hall)

Noise level: Pretty quiet. THEN SUPER LOUD FOR FIVE MINUTES. Then pretty quiet again.

Proximity to coffee: So close, and yet so far… Worst off all, you’ll have to use the stairs. Twice! Not to mention navigating that hallway that seems to go in a circle.

Proximity to bathroom: It’s just through the doors at the end of the hallway, but thanks to the windows in said doors, everyone will know you’re going to the bathroom.

Lighting: Not too bad. Unless you’re studying there at night, and then find yourself constantly distracted by the eerie darkness of the Quad…

Comfort: Surprisingly good. Why are those leather arm chairs with the desks not available all over the place? And if you get lonely, you can cozy up to all of the plants, you hippies!

Smell: Typically depends on what the person beside you got at Tim Hortons.

Strangest thing overheard: The person beside you, eating their smelly Tim Hortons.

Verdict: Not a good place for you if you are easily irritated by noise. Because people don’t care if you’re studying – they are going to talk. So, so much…

Howlers (the bar no one knows about)

Noise level: surprisingly quiet, occasionally interrupted by the muffled arguments on the other side of the wall in the Hume council room.

Proximity to coffee: Why are you drinking coffee? IT’S A BAR!

Lighting: Tinted windows provide a muted view of the Saint John river valley.  

Comfort: If you dig sitting at cafe style tables in a dimly lit, drafty room you are set.

Smell: Stale beer, poor choices, and regret.

Strangest thing overheard: “Howlers was bumping last night”

Verdict: Not awesome, feels empty of meaning and people, but at least there’s a pool table to distract yourself with!

Hume Council Chambers (SRC office)

Noise Level: Similar to that of a Donald Trump/Hillary Clinton debate

Proximity to coffee: Not nearly as close as it should be, but personal use of the saferide van is acceptable for Starbucks runs.

Proximity to bathroom: Almost too easy…

Lighting: Doesn’t matter, you’ll be too busy eavesdropping and you don’t need light to use your ears

Comfort: About as comfortable as a worm between two crows

Smells like: Seamore the seawolf, and a hint of pumpkin spice latte topped with bitterness from last night’s council meeting, and teen spirit.

Strangest thing overheard: “We ran a deficit?!?”

Verdict: Unfortunately you have to know someone to get in, but it’s a good place to go if you don’t actually plan on studying and want to hide from the world while convincing yourself you are studying. #CsGetDegrees

Gym Mezzanine (yes, the cardio room)

Noise level: If the whirring of treadmills and the sound of people lifting things up and putting them back down helps you focus we can’t see any problem.

Proximity to coffee:  Not so much coffee, but we’ve never had a problem sneaking a sip protein shake from an unsuspecting meat-head.

Proximity to bathroom: Pretty not bad, shower and locker facilities included, along with all the anxiety that comes with public change rooms.

Lighting: Terrible, just awful. The people who decided 16 shades of fluorescent from all angles was a good idea, were wrong.

Comfort: If you’re comfortable, you’re doing it wrong.

Smell: Sweet sweet sweat

Strangest thing overheard: “I can’t wait to work out again!”

Verdict: Actually not bad, there is good wifi, you can get your sweat on and there are convenient book holders laying around for use.  Show up on the weekends and you will most likely be able to distract yourself with some varsity-sport action.

That Hallway in Oland with all the Grad Pics

Noise level: Sit in front of one of the red soundproof cushions and you’re golden, Ponyboy. Stray and the weird harmonic echoes will drive you completely mad (not that any of us are far off as it is)

Proximity to coffee: Recommended you bring your own but you could probably steal some from the academic advisors when they aren’t looking.

Proximity to bathroom: Pretty close, but since there are only like 6 wall cushions you better hurry or your place will get snatched.

Lighting: It’s like a strobe light that doesn’t flash, which is to say you will get a headache but you won’t have a clear reason why. Wear sunscreen.

Comfort: If you have Advil® and extra notes to use as a cushion, we’d say B/B+.

Smell: Hope you like the smell of quarter-life crisis! Also vaguely of chlorine with a hint of sadness.

Strangest thing overheard: “I totally have my life together and I am doing well!”

Verdict: There is an inevitable feeling of deep emotional distress but if you are a robot, you’ll fit right in.

Secret room, Oland Hall, 2nd floor (Chamber of Secrets)

Noise level: Who knows?

Proximity to coffee: No idea. It’s secret.

Proximity to bathroom: Maybe there’s one in the room?

Lighting: Unknown, like bring a couple tea lights in case.

Comfort: Could not tell you.

Smell: This place is so secret.

Strangest thing overheard: “I know where the secret room is.”

Verdict: Don’t even bother, you’ll probably never find it.

The Forest (aka Narnia)

Noise level: Generally predictable, unless an animal sneaks up on you…not for jumpy people.

Proximity to coffee: Yikes! Bring your own, but chances are you are already brewing up some rose hip tea over a fire.

Proximity to bathroom: NATURE

Lighting: Au naturel, headlamp needed after 6pm for the duration of the winter.

Comfort: Like a 6? But you could easily make it a 10 with a quick stop at the Walmart camping section.  

Smell: Very crisp, very nature-like.

Strangest thing overheard: Any human voice at all would be the strangest thing.

Verdict: Honestly it’s worth it if the Commons is full (which it probably is),BYO hammock and woodstove. Don’t forget the lantern.

Hazen Hall Computer Lounge

Noise level: All we heard is 1’s and 0’s, and the faint sounds of an A.I. army slowly destroying the human race.

Proximity to coffee: you can probably sip it out of the keyboard, which explains why the “Z” “A” and “S” keys don’t work on the keyboard.

Proximity to bathroom: You have to walk all the way down the hallway… Like all the way down it.

Lighting: Good natural light, reflected by the stares of confused C.S. students who don’t know how you found them, and are wary of you stealing their code.

Comfort: Fully adjustable computer chairs, complete with wheels.  The engineers obviously don’t know about this room or else the chairs would have long ago been raced down University Avenue (for science, of course).

Smell: Processors and printer ink

Strangest thing overheard: An uproar of laughter at a coding pun that not only flies over your head, but smashes through the ceiling.

Verdict: If you can handle the snark, you’re gonna be fine.

Your (or a kind friends) Car

Noise level: Fairly decent, except for Douchy McDoucherton with his new “muffler” that is anything but, treating the search for a parking spot like the indy 500.

Proximity to coffee: Cupholders are pretty much standard these days. An in-car coffee maker sounds like something Canadian Tire probably has, and if not, quit school and hit up Dragon’s Den cause we just made you a millionaire.

Proximity to bathroom: Terrible, unless you have an RV because that means you win life, as you have skipped straight through to retirement.

Lighting: Directional interior lights are swanky as, limited by battery life may cramp your style.

Comfort:  Adjustable seats are nice. You’re legs will fall asleep in the back of your friend’s two door Ford Probe however.

Smell: Most likely an unfortunate mix of “new car blue”, “black ice” air fresheners, and the lingering scent of that guy who wears too much cologne.

Strangest thing overheard: Tuning into local 107.3 at 1:30 A.M. on a Friday night.

Verdict: A great place to get baked while hitting the books, comfort is hit or miss, lack of facilities and a low carbon heat source is an issue.

Under the Ganong Hall Stairwell

Noise level: Lots and lots of people stomping up and down the stairs. On the bright side, at least you won’t fall asleep!

Proximity to coffee: Thankfully coffee is only a few hallways away – if you can avoid being trampled by the stampede of students between classes, like something out of The Lion King.

Proximity to bathroom:  First, you have to walk up the stairs you’ve been hiding under, which means you could potentially lose such a great study space! And then, just a quick jaunt through the Corridor of Sideways Glances between the staircase and the lecture theatre, and you’re there!

Lighting: The dim light that filters through the gaps in the stairs is great if you want to mess with your eyesight! Then you can go for the glasses, and really follow in Harry’s footsteps!

Comfort: It’s certainly not the Gryffindor common room.

Smell: A strange mixture of coffee, paint, and crushed med school dreams

Strangest thing overheard: “Why are ye studying fer… Economics? Yer a wizard!”

Verdict: Albus Dumbledore would never make his students study in a cupboard under the stairs…