Bren Hall Might Be Your Saving Grace in the Finals Library Frustration 

Photo Courtesy of UC Santa Barbara

Natalie Aymond

Opinions Editor

Ah yes, finals. In comes the all too familiar feeling of being enticed to travel to the library and frantically study, just to be toyed with too-full tables and scarce amounts of open outlets. You can search and search, but each floor adds another level of stress as the clock counts down, mercilessly ticking for when the sun goes down and focus goes out the window. Unless you have amazing karma, happen to be at the right place at the right time, or get lucky with your floor selection, by the time you sit down you will likely want nothing to do with the place  anymore. How do you avoid this, you ask? Bren Hall might be the answer to all your questions! 

Located between the library and the ocean cliffs, Bren Hall, UC Santa Barbara’s (UCSB) environmental science and management building, is a peaceful solace to the high-strung library ambiance of finals week. 

One of its best qualities is its stairs that lead to an outside open deck, elevated from any chaos that could distract you from on the ground. The deck faces the sea and has tables to study at, accompanied by umbrellas to shade your work and rid the risk of your computer overheating. 

Let’s say you’re in the library and you get tired of sitting and decide to try and work outside, either at the tables in front of The Arbor or out on the grass with the shade of some palm trees. There is still the inescapable traffic coming in and out of The Arbor, as well as the flood of people up and down the walkway as classes get out. Plus, there is never that much space on the grass anyways — and if you want a desk to work on, good luck. 

But at Bren Hall, you are basically sitting on the beach. You still get a desk and the surrounding palm trees to add to the scenery, but minus any annoying sand or pestering flies. Again, Bren Hall can solve all of these problems for you so that you can get to work, instead of wasting your time trying to work past such distractions and getting frustrated in the process. 

At Bren Hall, you can also avoid the passing stare of a student wandering every six minutes, hoping they will get lucky finding a spot. Instead, finally enjoy some unobserved quiet while grinding, all while catching a tan and being in the sun. There also always seems to be open outlets.

If you’re not sold yet, maybe you’re questioning your ability to focus outside and that close to the beach. But think about how often you might stare out the windows, people watch, watch the coastline, or just look anywhere else besides a desk and your computer at the library. It is pretty enticing to want to go outside or do anything else but study when you’ve been sitting in a crowded, orange-tinted room all day, especially if you’re crammed in one of those random corner desks. 

Now think about sitting up in the breeze and staring out at the ocean at Bren Hall. There’s no need to want to leave, you’ve got it all right there. This is especially the case now, when masks are once again required indoors due to the increase in COVID-19 cases. An outdoor and uncrowded option should always be welcomed, especially if it has that view. 

So next time you’re desperately searching for a good study spot in the library and have yet another awkward encounter when you thought an occupied cubicle is open, remember Bren Hall. I promise, you won’t mind the extra couple of minutes it takes to get there when you are staring at waves and warmed by sunshine as you work. Don’t keep making the same mistake of losing time in trying to find the perfect study spot. We have already found it for you.