Perplexing: Studying With Nature

The idea of this seems excellent, very Thoreau/Walden/transcendentalist. Thought about it because as I was walking from class the other day, I noticed that some of the trees here have outlets near the bases of their trunk purely to facilitate outdoor laptop usage. Great concept, maybe even classifiable as innovative. However, there are a lot of less obvious downfalls that occurred to me, which include, but aren’t limited to:

  1. Ants. Or any other form of insect. Or, worse, arachnid. (Nightmare status…)
  2. Weather. It’s lovely to bask in the sun, I’ll admit. But it can be rather distracting when you’re plodding through Financial Accounting chapters to have wind whipping at your hair or your core temperature plummeting due to exposure against the soggy permafrost ground. What I mean is, the practicality of the outdoor studying has about a 3 week window in the northeast, a month at best, and that’s not even considering the blustery fall days where a casual nor’easter will send your note-taking materials flying across the ground to be trampled by passerby.
  3. Dirt. Nothing suggests, “I couldn’t care less…or be more earthy!” than handing in a report with bits of mud, bark, and grass stains attached. A time when going green may not be the most tactful thing to do…
  4. Public exposure. I’m not saying you want to study in an isolation cell on the 5th floor away from all the windows. But I am saying that to be in a library for a few hours is a lot more socially acceptable than to be posted under an oak tree shelling out a term paper all day.
  5. Awkward lack of available surfaces. Yeah I know, the Earth is the ultimate surface. Except I’d rather not put my MacBook or overpriced textbooks on the ground. Beyond that, my lap is only so big, therefore limiting the amount of work I can have out at once (unless of course I remember my clipboard…see previous FunFact).
  6. Limited resource availability. There are only so many trees to lounge under, and I have to imagine the ones with outlets underneath are a even more narrow demographic. No power strips, no printer, no pencil sharpener. Basically you’d better just be taking some philosophy notes by hand in a book because that’s about the only activity you’ll have materials for.

Perhaps I’m just bitter because I don’t have the attention span for outdoor studying to even be a semi-viable option. Or maybe I simply like to reserve reading outdoors for pleasure reading at the beach. Either way, you will not see me nestling myself between two adjacent roots with Genius Loci in hand anytime soon.


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