PRI SHARMA/THE VARSITY

The Rhodes Room, located on the second floor of Graham Library, might seem like an intimidating spot to some people, but not to me.

The room was built as a tribute to the outstanding men and women of Trinity College who received the prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. Each photograph of these scholars carries a name with its own story of academic achievement, providing me with guidance on my own academic journey.

I study there in the hopes of finding excellence in myself and obtaining an appreciation for scholarship. And, if I might be so bold, it is a great place to nap.

As my third year at U of T comes to a close, the Rhodes Room remains a haven. It keeps me grounded. Amidst the toxic competitiveness and other hardships of university life, it reminds me of my pursuit of knowledge. Though I may not yet be as excellent or as impressive, sitting in a room full of Rhodes Scholars makes me feel like I am not alone in this pursuit. It reminds me why I am here.

— Grace Manalili

There is no quintessentially comfortable spot for me at U of T. The St. George campus is a vibrant hub of activity, a bustling city setting in which I thrive. However, when I do feel the need to sit down and relax with a cup of coffee and a friend or book, there are a number of suitable options.

The upstairs sofas at the Kruger Hall Commons at Woodsworth College are a perfect spot for a quick chat or a long debate, overlooking a Second Cup that’s just a flight of stairs away. New College’s Wilson Hall has a serene workspace in front of a window with a view of Willcocks Street.

My personal favourite spot would have to be the sofa chairs in Sid Smith Hall —  if by some miracle they’re ever free, they are the most comfortable to kick back and relax in. There’s a Second Cup right next to them so muffins and coffee are never too far, and the centrality of Sid’s means you’re never too far from your next class.

— Sarim Irfan

ELHAM NUMAN/THE VARSITY

ELHAM NUMAN/THE VARSITY

Many coffee shops in Toronto have become so aesthetically minimalist that they have lost their coziness. By contrast, Caffiends at Victoria College is a space where one can come to hang out, study — if you’re disciplined enough — and also share a laugh.

The Caffiends crew will become your friends in no time, as they are welcoming and caring, and you will always find a friendly face happy to put off doing their schoolwork.

Being a daily coffee consumer, having an inexpensive $1 coffee every day makes a big difference, and the shop’s coffee is delicious. The tea is exceptional, and the muffins… oh, the muffins are out of this world, and I can assure you they will improve your day.

Being an environmentally friendly café also means Caffiends is a place where you’ll learn to stir your coffee with a piece of raw spaghetti. The café also partners with fair trade businesses to supply its products. Caffiends is my favourite place on campus because it allows me to leave my stresses outside its doors on a daily basis.

— Charlène Hanania

ELHAM NUMAN/THE VARSITY

ELHAM NUMAN/THE VARSITY

Deep inside the monolithic architecture of Robarts Library is my happy place: a particularly lovely sofa chair on the third floor near the Media Commons. The surrounding area is quiet due to the studying taking place, but it isn’t overcrowded like other study rooms on campus.

Though there are two chairs surrounding mine, the one on the left is my pride and joy. This chair allows enough space between you and the other tables and chairs to feel like you’re a part of student life, while still being isolated enough to sleep peacefully without judgement from others.

I don’t know what my academic career would look like if I didn’t have this seat on campus to return to at all times. My only fear is that writing this down will mean others will use this sofa during my times of need. But if this sofa chair might provide you the peace it’s given me over the years, then by all means, give it a try.

— Edgar Vargas

There is no place on campus quite like the foyer in Old Vic at Victoria College. The portraits of past presidents along the wall greet visitors, welcoming them into a space of rich academic history. Even during the busiest hours of the day, the foyer stays tranquil and cozy.

The leather couches placed outside Alumni Hall are arguably the comfiest seats one’s butt could have the privilege of sitting on. On days when I’m desperately seeking inspiration and motivation, I often find myself wandering into the foyer, plopping myself into one of the couches.

Perhaps it’s the portraits of Gooch and his predecessors, or the faint but constant buzz of students walking up the flight of stairs to their classes. Pratt Library is too eerily quiet, a trendy coffee shop is too lively, but the foyer of Old Vic is pastoral.

The earthy tones of the foyer also help its ambience — enticing out my suppressed sense of creativity. I might even argue that the Old Vic foyer is my muse, as some of my best poems and short stories were produced there. It is truly my home away from home.

— Carol Eugene Park

TESS KING/THE VARSITY

TESS KING/THE VARSITY

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