Parting Is Such Sweet Sorrow

It has come to the end of my first year here at Cal Poly, and along with that, I will be saying goodbye to this blog. As my first blog experience, PolyPlaces has given me an exciting entry into the world of online blogging.

I have loved exploring this beautiful city of San Luis Obispo, finding new places to get my homework and studying done. In this process, I have found delicious coffee at places like Kreuzberg, Bello Mundo and Scout, rich treats at SLO Donut Co., and the relaxing atmospheres of Linnaea’s and West End. Oh, and yes I have gotten quite a bit of studying and learning accomplished in the process. Here’s what some classmates had to say about PolyPlaces:

“I liked how clean the layout of PolyPlaces was. It was bright, clear and easy to understand.” -Aidan Mathews, fellow Journalism 285 student

“This blog was applicable to all students, and that is why I enjoyed it. Everyone needs ideas of where to study, since on campus spots can be so dull and boring.” -Trevor Melody, fellow Journalism 285 student

With a total of 80 views and 9 likes, (pretty decent for a 3-month blog) I have enjoyed sharing my experiences with students, friends and family alike. I hope that my efforts were beneficial, and I can definitely see myself continuing on to create other blogs in the future. Though blogging takes dedication, focus and plenty of time, the overall experience was a positive one which sharpened my writing, interviewing and communication skills.

Thank you for all who viewed this blog and I hope my posts were helpful to you. I encourage you to check out my two favorite posts (Studying at SLO Donut Co. and Kreuzberg Coffee Company), and definitely visit plenty of the spots I talked about. If not for studying, just go to check them out and appreciate this amazing town of San Luis Obispo.

 

Studying at SLO Donut Co.

SLO Donut Company, or as everyone calls it, SLODOCO, is one of the most convenient and delicious options for studying close to Cal Poly’s campus. This 24-hour donut and coffee shop is a local favorite, not only for their delicious goodies, but also for the free wifi, plenty of outlets and light, open study areas.


Study Features

With tables lining the walls, a study nook at the back, and counter seating off to the side, you have plenty of options when it comes to picking a spot to camp out and get some serious studying in. Large windows let in the sunlight, giving this quaint corner shop an uplifting and happy atmosphere that keeps you awake and alert while studying. Quiet music plays in the background as perfect white noise to keep your brain focused.

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 “Free wifi here, all the time, and we are open 24 hours. So you can come here anytime during the day or night and somebody’s gonna be here, serving you donuts, serving you coffee…”

Brady Nations- SLODOCO employee, 2nd year Cal Poly Student

One of the best features of SLODOCO is that it is open all day and all night.

  • Looking for a time when it will be open and quiet? Come in the middle of the day while students tend to be in class or at home.
  • Like to have a little hustle bustle around you but want to ensure you get an open table? Come in the morning when people tend to pop in to grab a donut.
  • The busiest times are between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. when students tend to fill the seats and get their last minute assignments done.

“If I have to cram the night before I really don’t have to worry about a closing time if I have a big project I have to do, that’s really nice.”

Zack Dawson- 1st year Cal Poly student


Delightful Donuts

Snacking is always helpful when it comes to homework and studying, plus it just plain makes it bearable. And what is better to snack on than a fresh, delicious donut? The racks of unique and creative flavors will catch your eye right away, and along with the cheap prices, it is almost impossible to resist grabbing a donut. There is a type of donut for everyone, here’s a list of just a few flavors:

  • Buttermilk: chocolate/maple/plain/glazed (my personal favorite)
  • Cereal topped: Reese’s Puffs/Lucky Charms/Fruity Pebbles/Froot Loops/etc.
  • Topped: coconut/crumb/sugar
  • Old Fashioned: chocolate/maple/plain/glazed
  • Cake: chocolate/vanilla/raspberry/Devil’s food/maple/assorted
  • French: vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, maple or plain
  • Filled: Nutella/raspberry/chocolate/melted chocolate chip/etc.
  • Cinnamon rolls
  • Maple bacon (local favorite)
  • Cream puffs
  • Donut holes
  • So many more

Don’t forget to visit the donut decorating station to customize your donut with all of the frosting flavors (maple, chocolate, vanilla, strawberry, mint, etc.) and tons of sprinkle options.

“My favorite donut is the old fashioned glazed donut.” -Torrey Brugger- 1st year Cal Poly student

“My favorite is the chocolate buttermilk, it’s the best one out there.” – Brady Nations

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Not to mention, the location of SLODOCO is prime when it comes to studying. Located only half a mile from Cal Poly and right in the center of most off-campus student housing, it is easy to drive, ride the bus, bike, skateboard or even walk.

Next time you need to study for a test, get some work done, or are craving a donut at 3 a.m., head to SLO Donut Company.

Evernote Pros

Five reasons why you should definitely use Evernote as a college student

Evernote is a note taking and archiving program that allows users to make and share documents, audio files, presentations and photo albums. While being incredibly easy to use, Evernote also is a fabulous study tool that college students should consider using. Access Evernote from your laptop or get the app for easy smart phone and iPad access. Here are five main reasons why Evernote can have a positive influence on your study habits.

  1. Take notes in class: Evernote allows you to create a document on your phone, laptop, iPad or other device and stores it so that you can access it from any other device later. Take notes on your laptop in class and review them later on your iPad. Need a quick refresher before class? Pull out your smart phone and access your notes on Evernote.
  2. Everything saves automatically: Most students by the time they come to college can recall that one time they forgot to save their ten page research paper and the entire thing was erased, or lost their note page with all the information for the test. Avoid these horror stories and write your papers or take notes on Evernote which saves everything automatically.
  3. Share projects and information with classmates: With the click of a button you can share your Evernote projects with anyone through email, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or through a link. If you choose to update to the premium version of Evernote (which is quite affordable actually) you can allow others to edit your projects, making for quick and easy collaboration. Work with classmates on a group assignment or create a photo album with friends.
  4. Manage the different parts of your life: Young adults lead multi-faceted lives as friends, family members, students, employees and more. One of the most useful features of Evernote is its ability to categorize. Create different notebooks for the various areas of your life and separate documents and presentations by class. Also, share individual projects or an entire notebook.
  5. Multiple ways to record and remember: Typing is not always the best method for getting and saving information. Need to write math equations or draw a diagram? Use the drawing tool to write freely with a stylus or your finger or take a picture of something you have handwritten and copy and paste it into Evernote. Is your professor speaking nonstop and your poor fingers are cramping up? Use the audio recording feature so you won’t miss a word.

These are just five reasons why students should check out Evernote as a study tool, but to discover all of the benefits of this program and app, download it for free and begin using it today. You and your grades will be thankful that you did.

Don’t know where to go? Well, here’s a map!

This interactive map will show you all the best coffee shop/study spots right near Cal Poly’s campus. Just click on your spot of choice for more information and a picture to help you decide which shop to check out first.

Bello Mundo Cafe

Coffee: Bello Mundo serves coffee from Equator Coffee based out of San Rafael in Marin County, California.

Atmosphere: “Bello Mundo” means beautiful world in Spanish, and this is exactly what the founders wanted to establish in this sweet little piece of sunshine nestled in tight in the heart of downtown SLO. The founders are world travelers who have incorporated their experiences in India, Morocco and other countries to create this one-of-a-kind study spot and coffee shop experience.

Location: 980 Monterey Street, San Luis Obispo

Parking: No private parking, but ample garage space and metered street parking.

“Bello Mundo is definitely my favorite place to go to study. It is one of those more locally known shops where regulars get to know the baristas. It is more expensive than a lot of other shops nearby but I would choose coffee from Bello Mundo over anywhere else even if it’s a few bucks more.”

-Amanda Amura, fourth year Cal Poly Student.

Higher Groundz Coffee House and Eatery

Coffee: Higher Groundz has partnered with Cambria Coffee Roasting Co. to support the local company. They have recently began to serve Stewart and Clark Fine Foods‘ fresh baked goods and desserts.

Atmosphere: Higher Groundz seeks to provide great service to customers while also having a wide variety of food to choose from. Their large menu includes salads, wraps, sandwiches and breakfast food allowing customers to come for breakfast or lunch. The coffee shop is also outside of the busy downtown area, allowing for a quieter atmosphere.

Location: 3230 Broad Street, San Luis Obispo

Parking: Located in a shopping center off of Broad street, plenty of parking exists right outside Higher Groundz.

Kreuzberg Coffee Company

Coffee: Kreuzberg has chosen to serve coffees from Verve Coffee Roasters.

Atmosphere: Hoping to create an atmosphere reflecting that of a cafe in the Kreuzberg borough of Berlin, Germany, owners Chris and James have provided a shop with a vibrant and dynamic European flare. With lamps hanging from the ceiling, artwork painted on the walls and unique chairs and tables, visiting Kreuzberg is sure to be a unique experience.

Location: 685 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo

Parking: Kreuzberg is on the main street of downtown, so a bit of a walk will be involved if you want to park in one of the many garages nearby, but nothing too far. Street parking is always an option, but don’t forget a few quarters.

“Kreuzberg is laid back. We have a lot more time to treat the customers with care.” -Andy Zargham, Kreuzberg barista

**See the previous PolyPlaces post all about Kreuzberg**

Linnaea’s Cafe

Coffee: Linnaea’s serves freshly ground organic coffee and a custom variety of teas, most of which are Fair Trade Certified.

Atmosphere: Linnaea’s is considered by most customers as a place that feels like home. And that is exactly what Linnaea Phillips had hoped for when she opened this quaint shop back in 1984. It has stool window seating to look out at the passersby, indoor tables with access to plugs and wifi and a large courtyard area out back with benches, tables, koi ponds, and a lush garden.

Location: 1110 Garden Street, San Luis Obispo

Parking: Due to its central downtown location, it is not hard to find parking near Linnaea’s. Street parking and a close parking garage on Marsh Street provide an easy way to get to this coffee shop.

Scout Coffee Co.

scout sign

Coffee: Co-Owners Jon and Sara Peterson, both previous employees of Verve Coffee Roasters, excel in their excellent customer service and barista skills. Sara was ranked the top female barista in the country in 2010.

Atmosphere: Everything about this modern coffee shop is light and airy. With floor to ceiling windows covering one wall that fully open to the sidewalk outside, sunlight fills the whole shop, bringing out the rich wooden countertops and brightens every corner of this spacious cafe. Cushioned benches and high tables with stools are available for studying and free wifi makes it easy to get work done.

Location: 1130 Garden Street, San Luis Obispo

Parking: Located just down the street from Linnaea’s Cafe, metered street parking and a close parking garage on Marsh Street are available to Scout customers.

“Studying at Scout is refreshing. Not only do they have delicious treats to munch on while I push through some tough material, but the open and light atmosphere keeps me in a constant happy mood. I never feel stressed when I am studying there. However, charge your laptops before you come, the only outlets are not next to any of the tables.”

-Kaylene Co, first year Cal Poly student.

Steynberg Gallery

Coffee: Steynberg serves organic Fair Trade coffee from Grounds for Change. In addition, many varieties of teas, breakfast and lunch food are available.

Atmosphere: Steynberg Gallery boasts artwork from local artists, but hosts wine tastings, poetry readings, lectures, open mic and live performances from people in the San Luis Obispo community. On top of the abundant support for local talent, Steynberg provides space to spread out and get some work done. Art pieces on the walls provide an interesting study environment.

Location: 1531 Monterey Street, San Luis Obispo

Parking: Street parking right out front is available as well as nearby parking lots. Located slightly outside of the main downtown area, parking is easier and less crowded.

West End Espresso & Tea

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Coffee: Boasting 25 Fair Trade organic coffees and 35 loose leaf tea varieties, downtown SLO’s first coffee shop is a local favorite.

Atmosphere: With windows taking up half of the walls, and a perfect corner location at the end of Higuera Street downtown, West End is the prime spot for relaxation. Indoor window seating with rocking chairs or outdoor tables in the shade or sun give students and customers plenty of options of where to enjoy their coffee.

Location: 670 Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo

Parking: Street parking is always an option, and a parking lot sits right out front, but try parking in a nearby parking lot or garage and then walking by the creek until you pop up right next to West End.

“To me, West End is the most relaxing coffee shop I’ve visited downtown. Yes, it is on the main stretch of downtown, but it is all the way at the end with no shops on its left. It is a very peaceful and quiet place.”

-Loren Jackson, second year Cal Poly student.

Professional Study Tips

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Art Markman, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychology and Marketing at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Ulterior Motives, Art Markman, Ph.D., has done vast research on how motivation effects performance and learning.

In his 2012 article, Developing Good Study Habits Really Works published on psychologytoday.com, Markman evaluates productive study habits and their positive benefits.

Some tips he included in his article are:

  • study by testing yourself, rather than just reading
  • study over a period of days, rather than cramming
  • self testing should involve deeper questions to learn, rather than just memorizing flash cards
  • study in the evening, rather than late at night

Markman received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Illinois and his Sc.B. in Cognitive Science from Brown. In addition to his book, he has published more than 150 scholarly works on topics including but not limited to higher-level thinking, analogical reasoning, decision making, categorization and creativity.

Currently, Markman serves as the executive editor of the journal Cognitive Science and is part of the editorial board of Cognitive Psychology. His book, Ulterior Motives focuses on the connection between motivation and thinking and how goals influence behavior.

To find out more about Markman’s research and ideas about how the mind works for memorization and studying, check out his entries on Huffington Post and Social Psychology Network.

History of San Luis Obispo Coffee Shops

Check out this timeline of coffee shops in SLO and be sure to visit a few.

 


With coffee shops like West End that have been around since 1979 to new and modern places like Scout, San Luis Obispo is the perfect place to find your favorite style and atmosphere for coffee shop studying. There is such a wide variety of flavors and vibes at each of these popular spots that create the culture of downtown SLO. So head to any of these locations, I guarantee a unique and positive experience.


 

Best Study Environments

We all have our own personal preferences for where we like to go study and what aspects give us the best study results. In a study done by Oxford Brookes University, 1,180 undergraduate students with an average age of between 21 and 22 were asked their preferred study location.

The study found an overwhelming preference for studying at home. This makes sense because home is usually where people feel comfortable, relaxed and focused. Home provides easily accessible food, restrooms and ample space.

The reason I have recommended coffee shops and other restaurants in the San Luis Obispo area is because they make me feel as though I am at home. However, I recommend these places over studying at home all the time because it minimizes distractions. Without roommates to come home and vent about their day, (which is great, but not when you have to cram for an exam) without the temptation of Netflix or TV, and without your bed beckoning you to take just a short nap, coffee shops and off campus study spaces such as Kreuzberg and Front Porch can provide a distraction-free environment.