Try Some Green Space for Your Finals Week Blues

Happy Almost Finals Week Bruins! The end of the quarter can be a stressful time for many of us. Between studying for exams, finishing final projects, and making last-minute preparations for winter break, it often seems like taking care of ourselves is the easiest thing to cross off the list. If you just can’t bring yourself to take time out for that bike ride or bubble bath, a simple change of scenery might provide some stress relief and even help sharpen your mind for those tenth-week to-do tasks. Spending time outdoors in green spaces can help relieve anxiety, sharpen attention, and improve mood. Luckily for us, UCLA has plenty of beautiful natural spaces that are perfect for a last-minute study session. Here are some of my favorites!

Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden

Why it’s awesome: Located in the south-east part of campus between the School of Nursing and the Terasaki Life Sciences Building, the botanical garden is the perfect study oasis. Natural amenities include the cool and shady atmosphere, private benches tucked into leafy nooks, and a soundtrack of birdsong and burbling stream.

What to know before you go: The botanical garden is a decidedly analogue study spot. Wifi is spotty, and if there are any outlets hidden beneath the leaf litter I have yet to find them! Bring that book that you’ve been struggling to concentrate on or the set of math problems you’ve been meaning to work through.

Nearest coffee: Terasaki Café, Café Med

Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden


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Why it’s awesome: The sculpture garden is a cool, green north campus retreat with a rolling lawn and a stunning grove of Jacaranda trees. As advertised, it’s also filled with an impressive collection of sculptures to contemplate while paging through your study guide. Secluded seating areas are scattered around the perimeter of the garden, but many students prefer to sprawl out on the lawn instead.

What to know before you go: Shady spots are in short supply, so the sculpture garden may not be the best choice for a hot and sunny day. While this spot has great wifi, the sunlight’s glare may make it difficult to see your computer screen. Recharge your devices at the nearby Charles E. Young Library.

Nearest coffee: Jimmy’s Coffeehouse, Café 451

Dickson Court North

Dickson Court

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Why it’s awesome: Few places on campus rival the leafy collegiate beauty of Dickson Court North. With its brick accented walkways and shady fig and sycamore trees, Dickson Court is a high traffic area ideal for studiers who prefer a little background noise and people-watching over silence and solitude.

What to know before you go: Dickson Court North is great for lounging on a sun-dappled lawn, but there’s no formal seating in the area. If you’re averse to sharing your study space with ants or suffering the occasional grass stain, Dickson Court may not be the place for you. The court is also a popular spot for campus events, so watch out for the occasional closure.

Nearest coffee: Jimmy’s Coffeehouse

Good luck with your finals! And remember: spending time outdoors can have health benefits, but the benefits don’t outweigh the health risks when the air is smoky from a wildfire. If air quality is poor or the air smells smoky, play it safe and stay indoors.

Rebecca Ferdman is a graduate student at UCLA pursuing dual Master’s degrees in Urban Planning and Public Health. She is the graduate student researcher (GSR) for the BEWell pod of the Healthy Campus Initiative.