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Davis, California

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

The benefits of outdoor study spaces

Students report that taking advantage of the spring weather can increase academic performance


By ZOEY MORTAZAVI — features@theaggie.org


To many college students, productive studying is often associated with dark, stuffy library rooms and secluded corners. Whether this reasoning stems from trying to cut off distractions, staying away from people or just because libraries are a typical study space, consider changing the scenery as we plunge deeper into the spring quarter. 

Studies show that spending time outside can have numerous health benefits. Davis is a place where students can access both indoor and outdoor study spaces. When it gets closer to being time for midterms and finals, Davis students are commenting that utilizing outdoor study spaces can boost their productivity, as well as benefit overall mental health.

“I do think that outdoor study spaces are beneficial. For me personally, being outside puts me in a better mood,” Violet Ichel, a first-year agricultural sciences major, said. “This motivates me to do work, although it’s better for me to be in an outdoor study space by myself rather than surrounded by people. I’d recommend for people to go outside to study because it’s good for their health, and it’s a nice break from the constant indoors of classes.”

While utilizing the outdoors to focus on work for some more difficult classes may be easier said than done, attempting outdoor studies may actually be good for your health.

Students can demonstrate increased coherence and a more detailed understanding of academic subjects after being taught them outdoors as opposed to an indoor class setting, according to Psychology Today. In addition, variation in study settings has been shown to increase productivity and memory retention. 

UC Davis students have access to many different outdoor study spots on campus. Popular spots include the Quad and the Arboretum, as well as the lawns near each of the student dorm areas. Students have reported that changing up where they choose to study can help bring a fresh perspective to their coursework. 

“I definitely utilize outdoor study spaces a lot,” Sonia Boughaffour, a second-year English major, said. “Being outside rather than holed up in the library all day is very beneficial. As an English major, I do a lot of reading, so taking the time to study at the Arboretum or Quad is helpful and I would definitely recommend it to others as a way to enhance their learning experience.”

For many students, adapting to a new environment for college can be a very challenging experience. Becoming aware of what type of studying environment works best for you can be an important aspect of adjusting to university life and ensuring that you are completing and comprehending your work. 

Melissa Caltacci, a first-year nutrition science major, shared her experiences with accommodating and learning to study productively as a new college student.

“As a first-year student at UC Davis, I think I can speak for most new students when I say that finding your groove and efficient study habits as well as areas [to study] can be difficult to find,” Caltacci said. “Especially with the seasonal changes, depression can hit harder during the winter, making it harder to focus with all the rain and gloomy nights.”

Caltacci continued by giving advice to students, explaining that students should take the warm weather as a way to improve their mental health.  

“Since we’re now entering spring quarter, the sun is shining again — being outside is proven to boost serotonin levels, which really motivates me to get my work done. Campus is also beautiful this time of year, especially areas [on] campus like the Arboretum,” Caltacci said. “People should reconnect with nature during the springtime; it can help relieve their stress while also increasing concentration. Plus, it always puts you in a better mood.”

Whether you tend to combine productivity and the outdoors in your day-to-day life, consider taking some of your books outside in the upcoming months to see if outdoor productivity will click for you. As many students have reported, having access to a campus with so many scenic study spots is definitely something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. 


Written by: Zoey Mortazavi — features@theaggie.org



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