Some of you may know that I homeschooled for the last two years of high school, so the new distanced-learning format is nothing too new. I have become accustomed to tuning into school dressed in my pajamas and seated at my dinner table. And as comfortable and convenient as this is, it becomes very old fast - and I’m sure lots of you can relate! What I’ve found to be helpful during this time is to get out of the house (safely of course). Pre-pandemic, it was my hobby to seek out a coffee shop and quietly work away for hours, and obviously, that was not an option for a while. But now that cities are slowly easing back up, I thought I would share some of my favorite coffee shops around La Mirada - for those currently residing in the area, and for those in the future that are seeking out a nice, quiet atmosphere.

But before I get into my detailed list, I want to disclaim that safety is at the forefront, so please practice the proper precautions (mask, hand sanitizer, you know the drill) when visiting outdoor public spaces. Please be aware that this list can also be for future reference, for when we are living in a post-pandemic world.

First up on the list is Enchanted Coffee Bar! This coffee shop is about seven minutes away from Biola, so if your wifi cuts out in your dorm room, you can quickly get to this lovely spot. Currently, Enchanted offers outdoor seating for those willing to occupy public space; they have several tables and chairs set up, along with umbrellas to block the bright California sun. Because of how close this coffee shop is to Biola, it is very likely that you will run into a fellow Biolan, as the Eagles tend to flock here! Enchanted also closes at a later time - around 9pm - which accommodates any late night classes you might have. However, I am not sure if there are any available outlets around the outdoor space, so that is something to be mindful of. It is also located on a major road which can at times be quite loud if you are trying to talk to someone over Zoom or focus on something.

Next up is Stereoscope Coffee. This coffee spot is also a seven minute drive from Biola, so if Enchanted is busy, this is another good option! They have limited outdoor tables, so if you are planning on grabbing a spot, it might be best to go earlier. Stereoscope also has the later hours and closes at 9pm.

Even though I have yet to experience living on-campus at Biola, I’ve visited several of the campus eateries, with my favorites being Common Grounds and Heritage! Common Grounds (also known as Commons) is a much more social space, so don’t expect to get too much work done in there, because friends love hanging out inside the coffee shop and outside, where Biola has provided cozy heaters. Heritage is a bit quieter, as it is attached to the library, and has a very quaint atmosphere with lots of light flowing through the windows. I am hopeful for the day that everyone is able to move back onto campus together and spend time together in these spots. But for now, I will continue reminiscing.

For those that are steering away from public spaces, here are some tips for spicing up the atmosphere wherever you choose to study and do your work! What I’ve found to be the most helpful for me when trying to get work done is to be in a brightly lit room. Having sunshine come through a window, or even having a good lamp on your desk, helps me stay productive and motivated; when it is dark and the blinds are closed, I find that I get tired faster.

I’ve recently hung posters and art back on my walls (after prematurely taking them down, anticipating that I would be moving out for college), and that has helped me stay productive as well. It really does make a difference when you actually like the room you are studying/working in! I highly suggest decorating your room or work space to make it cozy and inviting, to how you like it! And if you work well in a more secluded and quiet space, try to find somewhere in your house that accommodates that.

As we all know, the space we are in highly affects how we work. We have been in this pandemic for more than half a year, so we are all acquainted with the different challenges that come with remote-learning and quarantine. Please know that I am in no way forcing anyone to go out into public right now, and I want to be conscious of the current circumstances and how it varies for different people. And though we have control over few things right now, especially during a time of regulations and mandates, there are adjustments we can make - big or small - to make things a little more bearable :+)

Kristen <3