[lifestyle] studying in Starbucks. how long is too long?

Perhaps it will not be a Starbucks, but all of us will probably study in a cafe sometime, soaking up the free wi-fi and charging our electronics at a wall outlet. However, Starbucks has begun to cover up their outlets; clearly, some people have overstayed their welcome.

There is a Starbucks near my college, which many students frequent, so I often face this dilemma of how long I should stay without seeming rude and just a mooch in general. So far, I have abided by these rules:

  1. Do not stay longer than 4-5 hours. Honestly, after awhile I get pretty antsy and I want to do something different and walk around. The cafe is not my workplace or school, so I should not be stuck to the location longer than the time I spend at work or school.
  2. Always order something. If I finish, I will order something else. The cafe needs to pay its rent, buy supplies, pay employees etc., so by buying something, I pay my fair share and for the privilege of sitting there.
  3. Do not sprawl papers everywhere. If I am sitting at a two-person table, I will keep one-half of it blank, so if anyone wants to sit down, they can sit without feeling bad that they are bothering me.
  4. If the cafe is crowded and I have been there for a long time, it is time to go. Everyone has the moment where they only want to eat something, they order it and there are no seats, but you can see about a bajillion people with their laptops open and empty coffee cups. Be considerate! So I usually leave when it becomes very lively; besides, when it gets too noisy, it is hard to concentrate. I also keep an eye out for pregnant women, elderly people and children. Build up your good karma for when you are pregnant, become elderly, or have children.
  5. Go at weird hours. The weirder the hour, the better the chance not many people will be there. The cafe will be quiet, and I can sit there longer without being bothered. The Starbucks close to my college opens at 5am, so sometimes when I really need to study, I will go at 6 or 7 in the morning (because what college student would wake up that early?). If you eat dinner early, dinner time and evening is a good time to go. Avoid the afternoon tidal waves of people; if you really need to go and study then, go earlier, before 2pm.

I really do become annoyed and second-hand embarrassed when I realize 80% of the Starbucks patrons are students are from my college, who have clearly been there for more than four hours, while people are impatiently waiting for someone to vacate their seats. Shake it up! Studies have shown studying in different places aids information retention.

Do not be that loser who camps out in Starbucks with their MacBooks glued to the outlet sipping their free water and eating their own bananas they stole from the dining hall.


9 thoughts on “[lifestyle] studying in Starbucks. how long is too long?

  1. Great advice! I think you should send this post to Starbucks or that someone from Starbucks to read this – you’re telling people to stop being rude, but in a non-rude way. I feel the same way about Barnes and Noble and bookstores too… it’s not like the library, where everything (er, mostly everything) is paid for by taxes, and where are supposed to take advantage of the seats to study/do work.

    • ah, thank you for your nice words. Funnily enough, it just so happened that this semester I lived so far away (read, an extra 10 minutes) from the main town street where the Starbucks is that I didn’t visit the Starbucks once this school year.. or any cafe.. -_-”


  2. Great post! I used to cringe when my friends whom I’m hanging out with would stay in a cafe/restaurant for a long time without ordering more. I think I should print your post out and keep in in my wallet, to remind them when they are being read. Once, I ended up ordering 3 cups of coffee, separately of course, because I was feeling bad for the shop owner because we had been sitting there for so long when my friends didn’t order more coffee.

    • it could be that they like a change of pace. You feel some fresh motivation! You feel like you’re doing something different, even though you’re just studying the same ol’ same ol’ ring theory.


  3. it’s the idea. People go to coffee shop for social, study. That’s the selling point. They are cutting their toe.

  4. Our starbucks is built on campus so it’s pretty acceptable for student to stay and study there. Actually, only students go. (who else would want to go into the center of a college campus for coffee?) But in any case, use good common sense.

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