I recently stumbled across an email, dated Aug. 22, from a PCC orientation student I had over the summer.

“Good day Miss Ortega,” He wrote. “I’d like to ask for your assistance in searching for a place on the PCC campus in which I could stay while attending my online classes and charging my devices when needed.”

I quickly realized that while David was beginning his first year at the college and I was entering my third, we were both struggling with the same issuewithout a classroom, where can students be students on campus?

At the height of the pandemic, students were forced to rough out their academic responsibilities at home, wrangling with their siblings for the only desk at home and scrambling to put up a blanket or virtual Zoom background to hide their messy rooms from their classmates.

It came to the point where many students learned to appreciate the existence of a plain, blank wall in their homes.

That is why when PCC reopened its doors to students this fall, many felt relieved, even hopeful that the campus would offer not only a semblance of college life but at last a quiet study space.

With many classrooms still sealed off to students, PCC has designed several options for students to attend online courses, such as the Shatford Library, the Piazza in the CC building, the Pathways Center and the six Success Centers that align with each of PCC’s Career Communities.

And so, fellow Lancers, here’s the rundown on where you can kill class time and all the pros and cons that might come with it.

The Shatford Library

Located on the Northeastern side of campus, the library might be the easiest, most obvious choice. Which is true, if you have a six page paper due at noon and it’s currently 11:45 am, it’s definitely the spot that lets you hit the ground running.

The Shatford Library operates Monday through Thursday from 7:30 am to 8 pm and closes at 1 pm on Fridays.

Even if you aren’t in a time crunch, the Shatford Library is a refuge for students who work best alone and need a shield from the kaleidoscope of noises a college campus gives off. Aside from the obligatory greeting from a librarian, occasional chair creak and sparse giggle, the library keeps its promise of dead silence.

However, for those who wanted to get some stats homework done while sipping on their favorite Starbucks drink, consider leaving that Pumpkin Spiced Latte at the door. Signs throughout the library advise students that eating and drinking is prohibited in the library.

Though, between you and I, tugging your mask to the side to make room for a quick sip seems to be a popular habit among many PCC students.

Pathways Center (V-100)

For students that want a little more social interaction, the Pathways center hosts tables, booths and computers for students to chat with friends over. Even more so, those who seek to attend a Zoom class or other virtual meeting, receive a totally adorable set of red earphones emblazoned with the words Pasadena City College, you know, in case you forgot where you were.

Open daily from 8 am to 5 pm, the Pathways center is unique for its ability to set up an atmosphere where students feel comfortable using the center for studying with a buddy from chem class or a straight out solo sesh, no need to be afraid of any shushing!

Students can also consult nearby Success Coach, assistants or other center employees for an array of questions, ranging from academic to personal life.

The Piazza

In the chaotic world of the Piazza, the rule is: anything goes.

Located in the now barren student cafeteria, this study space is sprinkled with round tables, each centered by a trusty bottle of hand sanitizer. This is the place where PCC students go to not only study, but where they eat, form large study groups, practice reciting poetry and talk freely about how hungover they are from the night before.

While it’d be tough making a profound statement to your Zoom class on Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven” without being interrupted by a loud, “Yo, what’s up bro?!” from an entering athlete nearby, the Piazza functions as a depiction of genuine college life.

It feels normal, it feels like what students need.




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