The 4 Best Places to Nap on Campus

It’s a Tuesday. You’ve eaten all the snacks packed for lunch already. The Math 221 exam you just bombed and stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to study for has made your head hurt. Worst of all, Bascom Hill stands between you and your next class. With just one little nap, your day could get a lot easier, but where do you turn?

Not saying I’ve been in this exact situation before, but I’ve had my fair share of naps on campus. There’s no shame in plucking down in the nearest desk to catch up on some shut eye. Just for you, I’ve used a totally scientific way to score all the napping locations based on privacy, comfort, and quiet on a scale of one to ten.

So no more stalling, here’s the top four places to nap on campus.

4. The Hidden Couches at the SAC

Comfort: 7       Privacy: 4       Quiet: 6   =  Sleeping Score 17

On the fourth floor of the SAC there are couches in both back corners. They are super comfy, but they are pretty popular and can be difficult to find empty. They are also surrounded by a couple of desks/tables, so you have to be comfortable with napping by a couple of people.

Basically, the SAC couches are a pretty good nap spot.. if you can get them.

3. 2nd Floor Backroom at the Merit Library

Comfort: 5       Privacy: 7       Quiet: 8   =  Sleeping Score 20

This spot is so secret I couldn’t even find a picture of it, so this gif of an adorable puppy in need of a nap will have to do instead.

Merit Library is located in the the 3rd and 4th floors of Teacher Education building (NOT just the general Education building). In the back corner of the third floor, behind the bathrooms is a designated quiet study room. This room has some really comfy chairs leather chairs. Nine out of ten times I’ve checked, there has been no one in there.I gave this a low comfort rating simply because there are chairs and not couches. Easily one of the better spots to nap, and it’s more in the middle of campus. Easy to get to no matter where you are!

2. The Stacks at the Memorial Library

Comfort: 3       Privacy: 10       Quiet: 9   =  Sleeping Score 22

The stacks at Memorial Library are on almost every floor. Nestled throughout the stacks are “cages”. Each cage has a desk, a personal light, and an eerie looking cage door.

Cages are the perfect spot if you are looking for a quiet private place to nap the afternoon away. However, you have to be able to fall asleep in the sitting position. Maybe bring your own little pillow or MacGyver your sweatshirt into a lump for your head. The cages can be your mid-day savior.

1. The 10th Floor Couch at the Microbial Sciences Building

Comfort: 6       Privacy:  7       Quiet: 8   =  Sleeping Score 21

On the tenth floor of the Microbial Sciences Building is a lone couch. It is pretty secluded because there’s not much up there except a few staff members that pass by. For that reason, it is also pretty quiet. The couch itself is comfy, but not very long. I’m only 5’2”, and I can’t even stretch my legs out straight.

One whole wall of the Microbial Sciences Building is a window which will give you some great views, but awful napping light. All in all, this spot is rarely taken, and it a good bet when you need to get some shut eye.


If you feel like being nice and giving up the location of your favorite napping spot, please let us know where! If you’ve napped in one of these locations and think my rating is whack let us know too! If my math is wrong, please feel free to point and laugh. Comment below, or as always tweet at me (@SierraLivesey).


What the Heck is a WisCard?

Your WisCard is a fancy name for your student ID card. It has a picture of you, your name, and your campus ID number on the front, and the back looks just like the back of a debit card. In fact, your WisCard is basically a university debit card. Money can be loaded on to it and used for a variety of different things on campus.You can load money online, by snail mail, or in person. It’s so easy to do, I’ve seen students do it on their smart phone while they are in line!


You probably won’t look as fly as Bucky. Sorry.

Your WisCard is an essential part of your life on campus, especially your first year. The title question really should be, “What isn’t your WisCard?” But let’s stick with the plan, “What the heck is a WisCard?”

1. Your Meal Plan 

UW-Madison doesn’t have a meal plan where you pay a certain amount of money before you come to campus and it earns you a certain amount of “meal swipes” throughout the year. Instead there is a ‘a la cart’ or pay-as-you-go system.

This is how it works. If you live in the dorms and have money on your WisCard you can buy food at the housing dining facilities with a 30% reduced rate on everything you purchase. (P.S. If you don’t live in the dorms, you can still get a 5% reduced rate.) I really liked this method better because it could adapt to my daily schedule easily.

For example, if I was running late to a 7:45am exam, but I couldn’t make it through without something in my stomach, I could run through a dining facility and buy an apple and a granola bar. I would only be paying for an apple and a granola bar. Plus, I could come back 50 minutes later (after acing the exam, duh) and buy a bigger breakfast if I needed. I wouldn’t have to wait until 11am for my “lunch swipe” to kick in having wasted my “breakfast swipe” on the apple/granola bar combo. Or even worse, I wouldn’t have to risk trying to cook on my own.


Basically, if you want to eat 15 tiny meals a day, go for it. If you want to eat 3 meals and 2 snacks a day, no one is stopping you.

You can use your WisCard at the Wisconsin Unions, but the reduced rate is 5% no matter if you live in the dorms or not.

2. Your Laundry Card

If you live in the dorms, you use your WisCard to pay for your laundry. No need to collect quarters or begrudgingly trade in your last fiver. The laundry rooms have a device that looks like the debit card scanners at most stores. You can swipe your WisCard type, in the number of the washer you are using, and your done!

In case you were wondering, washing is $2.25, and drying is free! Which trust me, you’ll come to appreciate in the Wisconsin winters when you don’t have to walk to class with wet hat and mittens.

With University Housing’s online service, Laundry Alert, you can stalk the washing and drying units to see which ones are empty and make sure you don’t waste a trip when all the units are full. Laundry Alert will also text you when your clothes are done! So feel free to get absorbed in your homework nap without worrying about leaving your clothes in too long.


3. Your Printing Card

The dorms and most of the 42 libraries on campus have computers students can access that are hooked up to printers. You can print off of them for the small fee of 7 cents for a black and white page and 60 cents for a color page. You guessed it, you can pay for it right off of your WisCard.

Because these printers are so convenient I have never had my own printer during my time as a student. I hate paying for ink, and I also hate getting the stupid thing to work.


I avoid both of those by using the university printers. As this is 2015, most professors are using online drop boxes, so you don’t have to print too often. However, there are a few that will want things handed in as hard copy. Again, the university printers save the day.

4. Your All-Access Pass

There are some libraries where students need to show their WisCard to get in. Namely, Memorial Library and College Library (after midnight).


You may also need your WisCard to prove your identity at midterms and exams for some of the bigger classes. Make sure you have it with you when shopping or eating out too! Most places offer student discounts, and it never hurts to ask.

5. Your Debit Card

If you have a checking account at the UW Credit Union you can  attach your checking account to your WisCard. This effectively levels it up to a WisCard-debit card hybrid.


Rest assured if you lose it you can cancel it online.

See more information about the UW Credit Union program here.

Still Curious?

If you are longing to learn more about the mysteries of the WisCard search no further. Check out a list of FAQs on the WisCard website.

How to Successfully Struggle Through Finals

Finals week is creeping up ever so quickly, but if you haven’t started thinking about them yet you’re in good company. My first year on campus I tried to “just wing” finals week. ‘Cause you know, how different could it really be from high school?

Please, don’t take the same approach. Adding even just a little bit of structure can really help keep you sane and focused. On this post I will be rambling about how you can successfully struggle right on through finals week and come out unscathed, but it might involve *gasp* studying.

1. Check each of your classes’ syllabi (yes, it’s right I looked) and write down the date and time of the final in your planner or on your calendar.

indy jones

This should be done about a month before finals week, so do it right now! Don’t worry, just leave this tab up and come back to read the rest later. But really, simply writing down and visually being able to see how close or far apart all of your exams are is super helpful to structure out your time.

Another good reason to do this early is because you can ask your professor to reschedule an exam if you have three or more within 24 hours, and it helps your case the sooner you notify them there is a problem (trust me).

2. Write down in your planner/calendar when you will be studying for what exams.


If it works out, I like to allow for whole days to be dedicated to studying for one class. Jumping between two or more subjects when it isn’t necessary makes me lose focus.

It may be different for you though. Think about how you best study and write down on what day and time period you will be studying. Writing it down in advance does wonders for your motivation when it comes time to actually get up and go to the library.

3. Know where you stand (or don’t) in your classes.

donald duck

Either calculate your current grade or ask your professor/TA to do so for you. Know what you need to earn on the final in order to get a grade you’re satisfied with in the class. More times than not, knowing what I need to score on the final exam has made me a little less stressed and has given me more motivation to achieve it.

4. Study strategically. 

communtiy study

What I mean is: consider the context of the exam to figure out how you can best study and use your time. Perhaps one final exam is worth 50% of your grade, and it’s mostly short answer/essay style questions. You may want to take more time studying and use studying methods where you practice reciting or writing out the whole answer. Maybe another final exam is worth 25%, and it consists of all multiple choice questions. In this case you may want to designate less time studying and use a studying method like flashcards.

Of course, also factor in what you need to score on your final exam to get what you want in the class.

5. Have a study buddy or two or three.

adventure time nice

Having a friend to study with can be a great reality check. They can remind you get a breath of fresh air and walk around every once in a while. You can take turns manning your table at the library during bathroom breaks and coffee runs. Plus, you can help motivate each other to get to the library in the first place.

Remember to pick the right kind of study buddy. There are some of my friends who I study great with and there are also some where we end up looking through her ex-boyfriends pictures on Facebook within fifteen minutes of sitting down. Know what friends are good study buddies, and don’t be afraid to turn down the others.

Reader Questions?

Do you have a fool-proof study tip? Have a pick-me-up library snack that never fails? Let me know, and I may include it in a future post! Feel free to comment below or tweet me @SierraLivesey.

Study Spots on Campus Explained with Emojis

The studying reality changes in college. Before I just assumed I would study in my room. I mean, it’s what I did in high school, and it worked pretty well. Then I actually got to college and had my first ever roommate! That’s right folks, I had never shared my room until my freshman year of college.

She was a random roommate, so I didn’t know her that well. We got along, but we certainly weren’t BFF material. Realization set in: it’s hard to study in a room with someone else in it. It wasn’t her fault. My concentration just wasn’t on calculus. It was on the food she was making or the perfume she was spraying.

Luckily, UW Madison does not lack places to study. There’s over forty libraries on campus, plus all the other nooks and crannies you can find. Each study spot has its perks, and it might take a while before you find “the one”. You’ll know the one when you find it.  Time basically stops and you will have gotten more done in an hour than you did the past two days combined.

Here’s a breakdown of the four most popular study spots with each spot’s perks and downfalls explained using everyone’s favorite language, emojis.

1. College aka Helen C. White Library



Sit by the massive windows facing Lake Mendota for some of the best views on campus and to de-stress whenever you look up from your notes.


College was made for marathon library sessions. Get your mid-afternoon (or midnight) pick-me-up at the cafe located on the first floor they also sell grab-and-go snack items!




Watch your battery life. It’s really hard to find a place to sit that also has a nearby outlet. I expect an outlet war to break out there any year now.


Most sections are designated as loud. If you are trying to read or get some serious work done the temptation to people watch can make it hard to concentrate.


2. The SAC aka The Student Activity Center



The SAC has many different kinds of study areas. You could sit at a table, a desk, a couch, a cubicle, or even on a giant carpeted stair case. Choose your own study adventure.


You can eat at the SAC. There’s even a microwave for you to use on the third floor. Don’t worry if you forgot your own snack; you can get something at the vending machines.




It always seems to be a million degrees. Definitely wear layers in the winter so you can take off your bulky sweatshirt.


It can get really crowded. Like walking around two or three times to find a seat crowded. However, this usually only happens during peak library times.


3. Steenbock Library



There are superb cubbies to submerge yourself in if you like to be isolated when you study. Literally forget everything else but Biology exists for a couple hours.


A computer lab located on the first floor that has (you guessed it) computers, printers, and scanners. The computers have a ton of software downloaded on them you might need for your coursework.




Most sections are designated quiet study areas. No picking up that call from mom in the middle of memorizing your flashcards.


With the comfy cubbies and designated quiet areas dozing off becomes a reality.


4. Memorial Library



Holy outlets, Batman! You will not be left wandering around looking for a spot where you can charge your laptop. Outlets practically grow out of the walls.


I know I already said that Steenbock had great cubbies, but Memorial takes it to a new level. They’re called the “cages”. You can actually lock yourself into them if you please. No external stimuli will be bothering you here.



I’ll admit, I kinda cheated using this emoji. Just an FYI, Memorial doesn’t allow food. Hunger pains may drive you out of the library at any time.


If you are a late-night study-er, maybe skip Memorial. It’s only open until midnight.


Don’t worry if none of these libraries appeal to you. Or if some of the perks are actually downfalls for you, or vise versa. Not every student is going to study great in every environment. Check out some of the other libraries on campus to find the perfect mix of what you need. You can sort by subject, hours, and other features! And let me know if you would like to see any other study spots added to the list! I haven’t even used all the emojis yet.

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