Slow Train, Oberlin's main coffee shop, works perfectly with my brain. Whether that's a good thing is highly debatable, but it's true. That's why I do my homework there whenever I can.
1) The caffeine.
I'm my father's child. My father is known for his continuous Mt. Dew and iced tea consumption. He has drunk at least a gallon of iced tea per day ever since I can remember. I don't know if I've followed in his footsteps because of simple genetics or because he was my definition of manhood growing up. Either way, I'm a caffeine fiend. Diet pop is a staple of the less desirable half of my diet. Almost any source of caffeine is great though. I don't like coffee enough to drink it plain, but vanilla lattes are my bae. Slow Train provides the tastiest caffeine around.
2) The noise level.
My head is constantly buzzing with a thousand different voices telling me a thousand different things all at the same time: El, remember to finish that essay. Don't forget to send out the meeting minutes for SWAP. Look at that girl... She's something... Oo la la... EL! STOP STARING IT'S CREEPY. I wonder what's on Facebook. But that essay. I wonder if the professor likes me. Am I hungry? "I've got thick skin and an elastic heart, But your blade--it might be too sharp. I'm like a rubber band until you pull too hard..." Ok, but seriously, essay time. No, minutes first or you'll forget. Wait, did I forget to eat breakfast? Is breakfast really that important? I read some study... I should google that. Wait, is there a Google doodle today?" It's always that crazy and random and often quite a bit more disturbing. If I sit in the quiet of Mudd for too long, this is all I hear for hours. Nothing gets done. Instead, I get lost in the weird alleyways in my brain, and sometimes they get dark. The noise of Slow Train makes it more manageable. Rather than being absorbed into myself when I get distracted, I end up eavesdropping on someone else. I've learned about the religious beliefs of townies, various students' thoughts on various professors, and whether the blueberry muffins are fresh. Once their conversation becomes boring, I return to my work. It's extraordinarily rude, but it's how I get things done.
Picture it: A warm May day. Shoes off. Shirt off. Sports bra (maybe binder) on. An iced Albino Squirrel in hand. Sitting at one of those tables outside Slow Train working on an English paper. The sun bleaching my hair. Paradise. Well, as close as one can come to paradise while writing an English paper.
4) Other humans.
I have this deep fear that college will become a repeat of my lonely high school years. I'll spend all day and all night doing schoolwork and lose all contact with humanity. I'll become a bear who hibernates in academia's cave for eight months of the year. Don't get me wrong, academia is great, but becoming a bear is not. Luckily, every time I go to Slow Train I see at least one person I know. Sometimes this leads to a lengthy conversation during which I get no work done, but often it's a brief hello that reassures me that I still exist.
5) The molasses cookies.
If you have recommendations for places to study, please put them in the comments! Slow Train gets pretty full, and since most of the tables are not wheelchair accessible in one way or another, I'm often out of luck. So, suggestions are welcome!