With more than 20,000 students enrolled at Illinois State University, the college town has thrived for decades as an academic/economic engine that continues to roll at full steam ahead. A large part of the success is due to a vibrant environment primed for Normal student living thanks to a campus and a city that work in tandem to ensure students have the best experience during the best years of their lives. From great places to study for upcoming exams to coffee houses serving some stellar brews, check out these suggestions that will help Normal students knock it out of the park with an academic grand slam.

ISU Library

It’s no secret that if you’re looking for a quiet place to write that research paper or prep for upcoming exams, you should head straight for Milner Library on campus. In addition to having knowledgeable librarians on staff to help you find whatever resource you need, you also have access to online databases that will certainly help you build an impressive citation list for your final paper. Make sure to inquire about hours of operation so you can plan accordingly.

Student Central

The great thing about calling ISU home is access to the Bone Student Center — the central locale on campus where students regularly hang out with friends, participate in activities, find a good place to prepare for a presentation, and enjoy a variety of menu options from amazing food vendors. To give you a glimpse, here’s what you’ll find when you need study fuel: Timbers Grille, McAlister’s Deli, Qdoba, The Landing, and more.

Academic Support

Need help with a certain class subject? Need to sharpen your knowledge about grammar? Need to up your game in the focus department? Whether coaching, advising, or tutoring, the Julia N. Visor Academic Center at ISU is available to make sure your journey to graduation is a positive one. Services offered are a fantastic resource for students to take advantage of, and with social distancing measures in place, make sure to ask about online opportunities. To learn more, visit https://universitycollege.illinoisstate.edu/help/.

Follow the Brew

Sometimes it’s good to find a place off campus to dive into a solid study sesh. One of the best places to do that is your favorite coffee house or the discovery of a new one. Find that secluded corner, pop in the EarPods, sip on your mocha, and prep for that research paper. Lucky for you, Normal has some great coffee hot spots — Coffee Hound, Fusion Brew, Gloria Jean’s Coffees, and Starbucks, just to name a few.

Park It

With refreshing fall weather here, what better way to squeeze in some quality study time on a crisp day than finding that perfect spot outdoors? Grab a blanket, a warm or iced caffeinated or decaf beverage, and a charged laptop to hit the books in laid-back style. Normal has some great park options, such as Anderson Park, Fell Park, Maxwell Park, and more. And remember: Don’t forget to take some breaks to breathe deep and enjoy the fresh air — the semester is almost over, and you got this!

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