Saturday, February 7, 2009

Dissertating in Public

When you'd rather study anywhere than here:




If you're like me and sometimes you just need to get out of your house to read, study, or type notes into your laptop, you probably know all the cafes in a ten mile radius where you can study. And you're probably sick of the ones you have frequented.

So here are a handful of ideas around CGU you might want to try out, if you haven't already:

  • Le Pain Quotidien (175 N. Indian Hill, Claremont Village Expansion, right next to Laemmle Movie Theatre). Unfinished wood tables, incredible menu, coffee that comes in a metal teapot with a cup that's more like a bowl...bowls of coffee are awesome. Upside: did you see the bowls of coffee? Downside: It's a restaurant, so you really should order some food if you're going to be there for a while, and it is a little pricey. Also, you may not feel as comfortable busting out your laptop here, although people do. Just use good judgement / study etiquette. If the place is busy, don't hog your table. If it's empty, feel free to make camp but order food and tip your server well. I've found they're very student-friendly here.
  • Coffee Bean (101 N. Indian Hill, Claremont Village Expansion, next to Laemmle Movie Theatre neon sign). Spacious, unobtrusive music, outlets for laptops, totally fine with you making camp for three days while only buying one coffee. Upside: free wifi, cheesy jalapeno bagels, atmosphere conducive to studying, open late! Downside: is sometimes crowded, limited food selection.
  • Some Crust (119 Yale Avenue, Claremont Village). Small, but great coffee and incredibly delectable sources of sugar rush. High stool seating by the windows make for wonderful typing experience: good natural sunlight and excellent people watching. Upside: Supporting a local mom and pop business, nice feel, unobtrusive music. Downside: can be crowded, closes early.
  • Coffee Berry (2232 D Street, downtown La Verne). Frequented by University of La Verne students and faculty. Indoor and outdoor seating, good selection of snacks. Upside: near lots of shops for lunch or dinner breaks, lots of places to sit. Downside: can be loud, you will run into your students if you teach at ULV.
  • Home Brew (601 W. Arrow Highway in San Dimas. I always take Bonita to get there and turn into the parking lot before Bonita hits Arrow.) It's in a weirdly "Western" shopping complex, alongside Boot Barn and Big Sky Sushi, which has great sushi, by the way. (studying and sushi, what more could you want?) The sign for the cafe is tiny and I had been going there for years before finding out what the name of the place is. Upside: its huge, has great large tables and good lighting, outlets for laptops. Downside: sometimes has live music, tends to have a kind of sketchy contingent loitering there. Wireless can be iffy. (which, from my perspective, is a good thing - I don't need the temptation of the internet!). Get password for free at counter.

and there are multiple locations for Starbucks - eh, you know where they are. I'm just not a big supporter of Starbucks.

Over the weekend, I also studied at:

  • The Gypsy Den Cafe (2930 Bristol Street, Costa Mesa, at The Lab "anti-mall" complex). I spent five entire hours here on Friday and have to rave about it. Lavish with hanging carpets, nude paintings, and gorgeous glass bottles, the Gypsy Den was the perfect study hideaway. Sparrows were flying in from outside, chirping around me and nibbling crumbs on the floor. I felt like some kind of dissertating Snow White. Amazing menu, outlets for laptops, wonderful staff. Upside: they were totally cool with my friend and I and our laptops clicking away for 5 hours. Downside: It was a little bit crowded, but I think it might have been due to people escaping the rain. The restrooms are also really far away, but a bit of a walk can be nice during a mega-typing-session
While on the topic of Getting Stuff Done...

Study Dates

Find people you know who need to get a lot of work done. It might be fellow dissertators from our workshop, it might be underclassmen you know who are studying for their qualifying exams, it might be people who need to grade or publish or get a job. Just people who are motivated enough that they can keep you motivated and won't talk to you too much. :-)

Call these people up, give them a day, time, and cafe, then meet them there.

Study dates can get you out of the house, away from the internet, socializing in public, and properly caffeinated.

Study Aids


When you're packing your materials for working in a cafe or other non-home spot, here are some things to keep in mind / possible solutions for I-need-to-type-quotes-and-the-book-won't-stay-open:Get two of the biggest size of black binder clips (steal them from work!). Binder clips are great because they're easy to throw into your laptop case, will definitely hold your pages flat, and are easy to bend open when you're turning the page. They can eat up your pages a little, so they are not the best bet for high quality books you're preserving for life. But who are you kidding? Your books are full of coffee stains, pen ink, and scone crumbs.

A friend of mine has this incredible traveling book stand that I saw her use while studying today, and I now officially want one.


Lightweight, small, easy to set up on a table top, only $28 from www.levenger.com. And you can personalize it! It costs extra, of course, but if you need "My Name, Ph.D." or "Dr. Me" as incentive to keep going, then by all means, put it on there! There are good pictures here.


Where do you go to get work done? What tips do you have for dissertating in public? Please post a comment and share!

16 comments:

  1. For study locations. Coffee Klatch. The best locaiton is in Rancho, courner of Foothill and Vineyard (aka Carnelian if you are exiting from the 210 south.) Has free Wifi. Old couches, wood interiors, friendly staff. The Klatch is home of the US national Barista champion (Heather) 2008. They do soy drinks and also vegan sandwiches, if it matters. There is also a custom wine shop next door where you can "taste" their offerings in thier outdoor patio, in case coffee is not the stimulant you need at the moment.

    ON campus, the Grove House at Pitzer seems to be relatively underused. There are periodic clusterings of students, but usually spaces in their various rooms. Especially nice on a Sunday afternoon.

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