Why You Should Start Studying in Cafes

Some of us find it hard to understand how one can be productive in a cafe full of parents with loud children, people having day-to-day conversations in their own little group, and baristas calling for customers to pick up their order. While this may be true, you may be wondering then: Why do people study in cafes then?


Why study in cafes?

A study done by Ravi Mehta— a researcher from Oxford University Press— helps explains this phenomenon. According to Mehta, moderate level of ambient noise such as the clattering of plates and the whir of a coffee machine can help improve people’s performance on creative work. 

Icons taken from flaticon.com. 

Another explanation that helps explain this phenomenon is what is called the audience effect. Audience effect is the tendency for people to perform better in the presence of other people. 

Furthermore, another research was done by Desender K— faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences—suggests that mental effort is contagious and seeing other people working hard is enough to make us work harder. 

“A moderate level of ambient noise such as the clattering of plates and the whir of a coffee machine can help improve people’s performance on creative work.”

Ravi Mehta— a researcher from Oxford University Press

 If loud noise gets too unbearable, an option is to bring noise-canceling earphones that block out the noise driving you crazy. Hopefully, this inspires you to take your next study session to your local cafe and if not, it clears up why your friends are always found in Starbucks.

Image taken from hercampus.com.

Now it’s time for suggestions. While this all really depends on self-preference and location, I have narrowed it down to the following few based on some research on qualities that attract teens of my age. I have gone around to ask my peers for their suggestions as well.

If you aren’t a fan of seeing your classmates outside of school, I encourage you to stay away from the Starbucks in Liat Tower, Orchard. During the weekends, it can get crowded so be aware to come early if you want a good seat. I encourage you to get a table where there is a cable for you to plug your laptops when they are out of battery. Those seats normally fill up the fastest. The reason why this place tops my list is that (1) there is fast wifi and (2) it is open 24/7. For night owls like me, you are going to love this cafe because by midnight there is almost no one inside and so you will have the whole cafe just to yourself or with a couple other strangers! Personally, I’ve stayed in Starbucks by myself till 5am midnight; I got a lot of work done but I wouldn’t encourage it for anyone who can’t adjust with different sleeping schedules. 

Coffeebean is not as commonly explored by SAS students as Starbucks; yet, it’s definitely my second pick when I am looking for my favorite frap or just a quieter environment. I’ve got to say, I haven’t heard of many students go to Coffeebean to study, but let me tell you that if you happen to go there order the EXTREME ULTIMATE VANILLA LIGHT ICE BLENDED. You won’t regret that decision. Other specialties of Coffeebean @ Forum is how you don’t have to refresh or log into their wifi every 30 mins, unlike Starbucks’ system. Once you log in once, you are set till you leave. Also, Coffeebean has the most comfortable couches and seats for those of you intending to study for longer periods of time! It’s open 24/7!

Last but definitely not least is Paris Baguette— one of my favorite places to get brunch. Located in Wisma Orchard, this cafe is great for someone who is looking to complete quick “paper” work or to maybe complete a book. The atmosphere is nice with a clean and elegant design that envelops the cafe’s vibe, so for those of you who work better in aesthetically-pleasing environments, I suggest you to maybe bring a book to read! Be aware, there is no wifi available so there is really no point in bringing a laptop for online purposes— unless you are looking to use 4G. Another thing I recommend this cafe for is people looking to meet with their classmates outside of school to work on team projects. While working on your group project, you can pick up some appetizing snacks to fill up your hunger. They have all sorts of light meals that complements both the Asian and Western taste so give it a go! The last tip I have to give you is, if you do happen to go— make sure you go around 4-5pm when it’s less crowded. 

While my article may not have gotten you motivated to start studying in cafes, I hope it helped explain the phenomena behind why many students are going to these cafes to complete their work!

Author: Angela Hwang

Angela Hwang is a junior at Singapore American School and this is her second year working for The Eye. She is thrilled to return back to journalism and wants to produce more exciting content for the upcoming year. Angela embraces her Korean background, but considers Singapore her home. Her hobbies include taking aesthetic photographs, collecting CDs from her favorite artists, and travelling to some of the most majestic places on earth. She can be contacted at hwang41112@sas.edu.sg.

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