If you have walked up and down Main Street you may have been overwhelmed by all of the various coffee shops. You have your typical commercial coffee shops like Dunkin’ Donuts, Saxbys, and Starbucks, but you also have local shops such as Brew Haha, Central Perk, and Brewed Awakenings. Even if you are not a coffee drinker – although I most definitely am – there is still something appealing about going and sitting down in a coffee shop with headphones and homework.

            One of the first reasons that coffee shops seem so appealing is the simple fact that it’s not in a dorm. The disadvantage to trying to do homework in the dorm is that you’re either in the lounge surrounded by your friends– in which case you’re very likely to be distracted– or by the annoying people you cannot stand– in which case you’re probably going to get caught up in thinking about how every little thing they do is done specifically to torment you. Another supposedly convenient spot in the dorm to do homework is in your room, but, is it really possible to do homework with the temptation of your bed five feet away from you? I have tried, and in my experience the bed has won more often than not.

Coffee shops also have the appeal of home if you were someone who could often be found in the local Starbucks every day after school. If I am feeling in my element at school and want to embrace my UD student side, I’ll go to Brew Haha and hope to find an open seat. But some days I am just craving home and the ease of high school work. When I encounter a day like this I will head to the Starbucks on Main Street and sit facing the baristas. By the time I am a page and a half into a seven page essay I have forgotten that I am sitting in Newark, DE, but rather I am transported to Lawrenceville, NJ. This is one of the benefits of commercial coffee shops – they are designed to look the same. Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz,  has talked about how he designed Starbucks to be a place that you can go to in Hong Kong or in New York and receive almost the same experience.

Whether you are in Starbucks or Brew Haha, the general feel is the same. You get to be surrounded by other people, while still being by yourself in your own bubble. It’s the idea of being alone, but together. That is generally the type of environment people need to really be successful when they are faced with two hundred textbook pages and three six-page essays to write over the course of a week. You can use seeing other college students rapidly typing away on their laptop as motivation and think, “Wow! They’re getting a lot of work done here, what’s my excuse?” Coffee shops also provide a welcome white noise with so many different conversations and the whirl of the latte machines. It’s easy to hear the noise without actually hearing any specifics.

Coffee enthusiast or not, I challenge you to grab your backpack and a five dollar bill and find yourself a coffee shop next time you are faced with an assignment that seems daunting and a workspace that seems anything but helpful.

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