Throughout college, we are encouraged to think outside the box and explore boundaries. Many of my peers take this advice quite literally. You can find people studying and working on their respective assignments around all corners of the school.

Ironically in my case, thinking outside of the box means stepping into the most traditional place of all.

After transferring from Ivy Tech to IUPUI, I discovered an amazing place: IUPUI’s University Library.

It’s become the home-base of my current academic journey. The massive four story building is at the heart of the campus and connected to the business building, which is a nice convenience for me.

It has become the place where I tackle challenging academic assignments, collaborate with peers on group projects, and even ponder decisions about my future.

A Place for Quiet Focus

The third floor, better known as the “quiet” floor, is my destination whenever I want to seriously get things accomplished. There is something about the quiet and comfortable atmosphere that is optimal for productivity.

One instance when the quiet floor wasn’t so quiet was the afternoon when I received an email extending a job offer to the position I desperately wanted upon graduation. I was quickly reminded of the quiet policy by everyone around me.

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A Place for Collaboration

The fourth floor, where talking is allowed, has an entirely different vibe. The overhead windows make for a much brighter environment, perfect for collaboration.

Group-study rooms make it the ideal spot for group projects. One of these rooms was the setting of a 14-hour day to finish a group project during my junior year. Fueled by pizza and lots of coffee, my group wrapped up the semester-long project which culminated in a successful presentation the following day.

Read: What Does It Mean to Be In An Honors Program?

A Place for Exploration

But it’s not always just about productivity, University Library can also provide an escape from the norm. It draws so many diverse groups of ideas, mindsets, and people that there is always something new to become a part of.

It was here that I once joined a classmate in a group discussion centered on Indian life in America. It was amazing to view the world we shared through their perspective.

On a different occasion I participated in a library-wide scavenger hunt for the prize of a free T-Shirt, the most coveted of college-themed prizes.

And on other random days, you’ll stumble across campus tours full of bright, eager high school faces. Make sure to look extra studious for them.

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For all of the reasons that the library has become my favorite place on campus, there are hundreds of other places that provide these sentiments for my classmates (and for other American Honors students.) The IUPUI Campus Center, Natatorium, and random outdoor spots are all filled with people thriving in their environment. Many others also choose to branch out from campus for those same reasons.

The freedom to explore and wonder has no restraints at college. The setting is just one element on the journey towards creating your own path.

Authored by Carlos Garcia

Carlos studied as an American Honors student at Ivy Tech Community College before transferring to Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). He writes about career preparation, internships, and succeeding at college.