It's a Sunday morning. I step up to the front counter, backpack at the ready.
"Good morning, Christina. Large flat white?"
You know you have been studying a lot when the barista at your favorite Los Angeles coffee haunt knows your name and what drink you will order.
It's the end of my second year at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and I am diligently studying for the USMLE Step 1 exam. Focusing on studying for five weeks can be tough, and my strategy involves numerous places to study near UCLA, especially local cafes with free Wi-Fi and plenty of computer outlets.
This particular cafe — Bricks & Scones — is tucked away in the city proper. My favorite study spot here is up a spiral staircase and past a giant chandelier. I plop down on a neon green velvet couch to curl up with First Aid 2016, Dr. Sattar's Pathology of Disease, and my laptop running UWorld.
My secret? Free street parking every Sunday. Sprinkle in a study buddy or two and this spot is a dream come true — try the chicken pesto panini.
Another favorite spot of mine is closer to UCLA. Coffee and Milk (also called C+M) is a sleek cafe dressed in white with undertones of slate. All the baristas here are trained under the roof of Intelligentsia Coffee. Plenty of outlets coupled with floor-to-ceiling windows, and it has won my heart.
The downsides? The Wi-Fi here is spotty at best, they are only open on weekdays, and the place closes at 3 pm. So, make sure you get in early and wrap up your work after lunchtime.
My final suggestion is a bit less sophisticated, but has a few perks of its own. Literati Cafe in Santa Monica has the personality of a large Starbucks, but with an expanded menu and more comfortable seating. They even have an outdoor patio with a leafy terrace.
Don't expect to find a computer outlet or a flat white here. They only have the basics as far as coffee, but the price is right and the lunch and dinner menus are more like what you would see at a tried-and-true restaurant. This can be great if you get tired of coffee cake and sandwiches. I don't know about you, but a hot meal can really knock some energy into me when I need it.
In general, switching up your study spots can be a great way to spice up your study life. Quality coffee and someone else making your lunch are quite nice perks. Los Angeles is an incredible place to study medicine because of the wide range, and proximity, of so many quality places to study near UCLA — it would be near impossible to get bored.
Pro tip: get some quality noise-canceling headphones for those times when your focus is unusually impaired.
Remember: if you are ever at home or in the library studying and your energy is dwindling, try out your local coffee spot. You might just find a place where everybody knows your name.
By Christina Harview