How To Study in a Coffee Shop

How to study at a coffee shop 

  1. Spend 20 minutes deciding where to go. Make a pro-con list of which place has good wifi, best coffee, best people watching. 

  2. Decide on your outfit. Are you gonna go academic chic? Like are you a disheveled writer or a chic intellectual? Or are you just gonna throw on athleisure because you hate pants pressing up against your stomach? 

  3. Pack your bag. What books will you need? How many pens? A snack maybe?  Walk out your door to the car and realize you forgot a book you need. Go back to house and get book.

  4.  Get to the place. Your favorite place is taken up by someone and you curse them and hope the floor will swallow them up.  

  5.  Order your coffee, trying to get the most flavorful thing without spending the most money (“Can I have regular coffee, but with the syrup? And non-steamed milk?”) 

  6.  Sit down at a less than desired place. Spend most of your time glaring at everyone who has the good seats. Finally, you’ve opened all the documents you need and have set up a space. 

  7.  Your favorite table is finally open! Lunge for it and grab all your stuff like a madwoman to claim the seat. 

  8.  Oops, your laptop went to sleep mode. Open all your files again. 

  9.  Open a blank Microsoft word page. 

  10.  Check facebook. 

  11.  Facebook message your group chat to complain about how you don’t want to do work.  

  12.  Eavesdrop on the couple next to you. Find out that they are breaking up. Livetweet their convo.  

  13. Bathroom break.  

  14.  Remember an article you needed and go to the school library’s page to look it up. Get distracted by other articles that come up. 

  15.  Start outlining a whole new project on your new idea. Think about where you can submit it, start outlining a book proposal. 

  16.  Back to your original work. Fix the margins. Try out a new font.  

  17.  Write a new intro  to your paper. 

  18.  Check your email, answer messages from your students and then complain to your group chat about how undergrads never follow directions. 

  19.  Check twitter for an hour. 

  20. Write another page. Half of it is a block quote from a source. 

  21.  Google how to properly cite something. Check six different places to make sure you are correct.  

  22.  New couple sits down next to you and starts praising a movie you hate. Fight the urge to butt in. 

  23.  Write another page. Erase most of it then start again. 

  24.  Get back on the group chat to finish planning what you guys are doing that night. 

  25. Need more coffee! Yay, free refills. 

  26. Go back and read the assignment again. Realize you should be doing this a different way.  Start over. 

  27.  Go to the bathroom again. Too much coffee! 

  28. Write another page using the terms, “as is widely known. [INSERT PRIOR RESEARCH HERE]” and then forget to insert it 

  29.  Control F your paper and realize you’ve used the word “purport” eighteen times. 

  30.  Say hello to someone you marginally know from class who wants to make small talk but suddenly you HAVE to write this paper. Tell them so. 

  31.  Write briskly for 30 minutes straight. 

  32.  Leave because you are getting hungry.  


Email me your burning questions! Either reply to this email or write to

Dear FYOGS, 

I worked really hard to get into my Ph.D. program and now that I am here, I’m not sure if it’s the right decision. I like the work, but I wonder why it all matters, you know? Like I can publish and publish, but will it ever be enough? What’s the point? Will I even find a job? I’m more and more in debt every year and now I’m not even sure if I should change my focus to be something more marketable, or stick with what I like studying. I’ve had more than one person tell me “I didn’t know you could get a Ph.D. in underwater basket weaving” and it’s really getting to me. Is it all worth it, and just make it to the end, or is life too short and I should find something else I like doing? 


Lost in Littleton 

Dear LOL, 

Does anything really matter? 



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All content reflects my individual views and is not associated with any university, department, faculty, or students. Names and situations mentioned have been changed.