Some students feel uncomfortable in the classrooms under the supervision of teachers. For others it is hard to concentrate on studies in their home environment. Especially it concerns young people who do not have their own room. A three-year-old sister who wants to play or neighbors in the hostel can interfere with the preparation for exams.
The third category of people has the other problem: they perceive information better in the process of teamwork. The dry scientific material is boring for them. New knowledge is well absorbed only if it is colored with vivid emotions. They should try to work with friends and ask each other questions.
Fortunately, it is not necessary to meet only at school or university in order to study. You can find much more pleasant options to learn what is really interesting to you individually or in a small group: foreign language, business strategies, art history, etc. Such institutions are called ‘third places’.
Why ‘third’, not ‘first’, ‘second’ or ‘fourth’? In 1989, a book ‘The Great Good Place’ was published by the American sociologist Ray Oldenburg, in which he compiled the classification of places where a person spends time. The “first place” is the house and everything related to family life, the ‘second’ – a workplace, an office. It turned out that in addition to these two there is a ‘third’, most interesting place.
‘Third place’ is an urban public space which is different from home and office, has everything needed to do what you want: holding informal meetings, studying, drawing, writing papers or a novel, working in a cozy relaxed atmosphere. Ray Oldenburg argues that third type is important for understanding the sense of ‘own space’ concept, contributes to the awakening of inspiration, even develops civil society and democracy.
Visiting public places to study is useful because apart from a comfortable spot for communication you can get useful acquaintances in the creative and business environment, exchange ideas and experience, find a quality audience for surveys, testing and joint research, and the possibility to quickly build a competent team for a large project.
Advantages and disadvantages of “third places”
‘Third places’ began to appear relatively recently in many countries, but they have already become popular for the most active part of the population. Such institutions are ready to accept people in need of space for study, work and communication. We invite you to consider their main advantages and disadvantages.
- all necessary furniture and equipment (tables, chairs, printer, etc.);
- meeting rooms;
- food and drinks.
- when you are in a society, it is impossible to relax as it happens at home;
- if there are too many people in the cafe, they can disturb you;
- there may be no such places next to your house; then you’ll have to spend time and money on transport.
Classification of ‘third places’
Not all ‘third places’ are the same. There is a special classification for them. For example, lofts and coworking spaces are initially created as ‘third places’. There you can find the maximum comfort for learning and labor activities. The space is planned wisely. There are separate meeting rooms, kitchen, printers, scanners, faxes, boards, etc.
What are the differences between loft and coworking space? They erode gradually. The same institution may be called both terms with equal probability. But initially, loft meant industrial premises (factory) transformed for work, training, recreation and even housing.
Such coffee shop for studying is not for those who will sit and work here all day long. But it is ideal for persons who periodically need to meet with other people for a couple of hours in the city center or to work on a presentation, diploma, essay, preparation for exams, etc. Owners of season tickets can stay in the meeting rooms from opening to closing time. They may use Wi-Fi, scanner, printer, lockers for storing papers, laptops and other things. As a bonus, discounts are sometimes given for attending conferences, seminars and educational programs.
It is quite difficult to find such places for an outsider. That’s why everything contributes to focusing here: no music, minimalist design, separate rooms for 4-10 people, Wi-Fi and a full set of office equipment.
Coworking is a modern office, a common space intended for independent participants: freelancers, remote employees, translators, programmers, designers, beginning entrepreneurs and teachers. Typically, there is a kitchen, one or more meeting rooms and all the necessary technical means. There are two payment schemes: fixed amount for a day, a week, a month or tariff for every minute of staying in coworking.
Space is sometimes divided into several zones: where you can talk and where silence should be preserved. Also in some coworkings there is a kitchen, an automatic machine with coffee and snacks, convenient sofas, a projector and even an Xbox. In the evenings and on weekends, various events take place here: from scientific conferences to nightly horror films. Teachers may conduct master classes in English, drawing, oratorical skills, etc.
Coworking space is an excellent place for students who need to prepare thoroughly for the exams and plan to spend the whole day studying textbooks.
The institutions which previously did not support the format of ‘third place’ are being gradually rebuilt in a new way. More and more freelancers with laptops can be seen in libraries (where the entrance and Wi-Fi are almost always free), large bookstores and cafes (you have to order something from food or drinks). Educational events are held there: lectures, seminars, master classes, film screenings, discussions, language clubs, etc.
Libraries are not just huge repositories of world literature and periodicals. Local visitors are very fond of arranging business meetings, negotiations and project presentations.
Although we are talking about full-fledged libraries, quiet conversations are quite acceptable here. So you have a reason to sit near a window overlooking the courtyard, on the balcony or in the main hall and check all advantages of studying in a library.