Today we talk about learning – specifically where to learn. Any coffee lover in London will tell you there are times where you feel as though you are crashing the extension of a University library, picking through a sea of MacBooks, man-buns and skinny soy decaf late (extra hot) just to buy an honest filter coffee. The invasion of the coffee shop has become the source of such irritation in my last three years working in the City, now I find myself armed with a rucksack, textbook and Macbook once more, I find it a little bit difficult to join them from a hypocrisy perspective. None the less – I did attempt to do this – and you will see in the first post, A Complex Beginning, I did in fact spend two of my evenings in Starbucks.
What work are these people really doing? When I work I like to go hard. I don’t work to massage my ego and revel in what I can already do – I like to push myself to new places, to learn things I never knew before. Personally – I cannot do this in a coffee shop. When I sat down to work in Starbucks, just off Baker Street in 90 minutes the following arose.
- One or two mice: either one mouse with 2 sightings or two mice. Either way – these are creatures with no urinary sphincter
- A couple with around a 40 year age gap exchanging fluids
- A catch up between 4 (suspected drunk) very loud individuals
In search of better places to work, I have currently come up with the following list of ideas (some practiced, some planned).
- The British Library: What better place to feel inspired than one of the greatest libraries in Britain? The picture in this post is infact the reading room in the library. Be warned – if you want to attend you will need to register for a reader pass.
- SCONUL access: through my degree (check back tomorrow) I have discovered the SCONUL system. Through this access scheme, you can use any university library in London, subject to a few conditions.
- Work: I hadn’t really considered this one, but apparently work love my zest for learning. Speaking to a few people where I work and they were more than happy for me to set up camp in a meeting room and bust my brain. Best bit? Office is open 24/7 (except for Christmas). Clean, quiet and comfortable – although not recommended all year round or you will question why you don’t just sleep in the office.
- My Parents: Lots of people have relatives or friends they really should visit more who have a quiet space to work. My parents live in a house in Somerset, and coming from a large family it has some space now we have all moved out. It’s great to see my parents (they are my inspiration for my work) and it’s great to learn in the country.
This is all I have. Aside from libraries and coffee shops, where do you like to push the paper?
The title is a quote from Einstein. I am feeling really really quotey today: so here is another one. This one is a mantra. A rule of life.
“Study hard what interests you the most in the most undisciplined, irreverent and original manner possible.” – Richard Feynman