Hi everyone! Welcome back and hope you all had an enjoyable and restful break! As the semester is starting to wrap up and it’s getting colder outside (on some days), it’s time to hunker down and get our studying on! Just as everyone has different learning styles, we all have our own preferences on how and where to study. Some of us are alone-in-our-rooms-with-the-door-closed studiers, others like to study in groups at the library, and of course, there are lots of other options in between. If you’re looking to study in cozier spots with background noise (and plenty of opportunities to people watch during those much needed brain breaks,) keep reading for some coffee shop ideas courtesy of second year student, Karen Sabater! She puts her OT spin on these recommendations for a fun and informative read! 🙂
As a grad student, assignments become more intense and there are more sleepless nights (and panic attacks). Well, mainly for me because I’m kind of a procrastinator. Just as a heads up, doing homework or studying the night before doesn’t work anymore. Trust me, I know from experience. As Occupational Therapy students, we learn about sensory profiles and how the person environment fit leads to an increase of occupational performance. Some people need more sensory stimuli to meet their threshold whereas others want a lot less or else they can’t focus. We learned this from Dr. Lynch’s lectures about Winnie Dunn’s Sensory Processing Model.
With that being said, I have found the perfect mix of places to study to fit my sensory needs. Unfortunately, these coffee shop features are sort of limited because I live in center city. But for those of you who are out venturing the cafe world, I hope you enjoy my recommendations.
There is one coffee shop that I fell in love with that isn’t in center city– surprise, surprise! Although there are numerous La Colombe locations, the one in Fishtown is the BEST. Why? It’s huge, hipster, and harmonious. The hustle and bustle of the cafe has quite a charm to it. Plus the rustic interior is aesthetically satisfying. Oh, and the choices of drinks and coffees are quite unique. I particularly love the iced mocha with sweetened condensed milk. They also have a different mix of biscuits, pizzas, soups, and sandwiches that make going to study a little more pleasant. Everyone there has fantastic fashion sense and is either attending a business meeting or doing something else productive. This atmosphere encourages you to not go on YouTube, but to get into the work grind mood.
Heading back to the city, another chain that I love studying at is Saxbys–preferably the one on 11th and Locust. This one is a quick walk for me to get great coffee that is slightly less expensive than going to the typical Starbucks. Their specialty coffee list goes on and on, everything from cookies n’ cream to a campfire treat. To have amazing tasting coffee to start off your study day can only drive you to start that research paper or memorize those muscles.
Walking one block over to 10th St, you’ll find a more peaceful place to sit. Bodhi Coffee is a smaller cafe with hard wood furniture, giving that deep pressure input. The best part about it is that they give student discounts, which makes adult life a little bit easier. Because this place isn’t a big chain, it doesn’t get that crowded and it’s pretty relaxing for a person who doesn’t respond well to too much sensory stimuli.
A quick skip and a jump over to Pine St and you will discover the awesomeness of Good Karma Cafe. There’s plenty of other locations as well, but if you haven’t noticed, I am really into energy conservation so I don’t like to walk too far to get to where I need to go. Good Karma is exactly what it means–you spend some time there and in return, you’re finished with half your projects for the semester. (Disclaimer: I have not done that personally, but I’m pretty sure most people in that cafe probably do.) This place has a ton of study places with tables ranging in various sizes and they also offer outside seating surrounded by plants and flowers to get you away from the city lifestyle for a moment. Their breakfast sandwiches are my favorite and their food list has the most selection out of all the coffee places mentioned (the apple of my eye one is fantastic!!).
I saved Square One for last because it was the first cafe I fell in love with when I moved to the city and was still getting accustomed to the neighborhoods. Located on 13th between Locust and Spruce, it was the perfect mix of a short walk and awesome coffee. For those who need more support when sitting, this place is filled with pillows and padded seating. Although as OTs we learn about how 90-90-90 is the most optimal seating position, some of us want that comfort in order to focus on the task in front of them. I, for one, am one of those people and I can’t be uncomfortable when sitting down or else nothing will ever get done. The atmosphere has just the right amount of sensory stimuli, as Square One has music playing at a low volume and their interior design has a mix of homey and modern at the same time.
I hope you guys check out my recommendations and if you guys do, please snap some selfies and send them to Temple’s SOTA pages. If you cater towards your sensory needs, you will be well on your way to a productive day! Thank you to Christina Lam for letting me do a feature on this! And remember everyone, winter is coming. (AKA finals!)
Written by Karen Sabater