The Secret World of Department Lounges

When you declare your major, you fall under the auspices of whatever department administers your degree program. You’ll probably switch to an advisor within the department. You’ll be able to join department-related clubs and groups. You’ll have access to all the resources of that department as well. What many students don’t realize is that often these resources will include a department lounge. If you haven’t yet discovered the advantages of this special room, then you’re missing out.

While department lounges will vary, they are most often well-appointed rooms near the department for relaxing, reading, and studying between classes. Some have libraries in them. Others will have a mini-fridge, a coffee maker, some snacks. Many have comfortable couches and chairs, a reading lamp, magazines. Usually, faculty use these rooms, as do staff holding official department-sanctioned events, but students are often welcome to use them as well.

So what’s the advantage of using a department lounge? Well, first of all, because many students don’t know about these lounges, you can generally expect them to be quiet and empty except for a few other hard-working students and faculty members. Compare that environment to the sometimes too-noisy atmosphere in the library or in a college dorm, and it’s easy to see the advantage of setting up in the former. If you need a quiet place to work, you can usually count on the department lounge.

Secondly, while you’re in the midst of your major-related courses, hanging out around the department lounge will keep you in the midst of the department. You’ll be close to important sources of information, such as faculty members, and you’ll also be showing those faculty members that you’re a part of that academic community.

Finally, by using the department lounge and being around the intellectual activity of that community, you are preparing yourself to be a colleague in whatever future career or course of study you plan to take. In your future place of work, be it an office or a research lab or a graduate school classroom, you’ll be sharing community space with other team members. The department lounge is just such a place to begin preparing for that time.

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