Paid study rooms: those cubicle dreams of expansion

Deng Chenyang was sitting at the front desk, reading an updated CPA exam textbook. He had finished a quarter of it, and there were marks on the pages that he drew with a marker.

This is a paid study room, and the people pushing open the door include college students preparing for graduate school, civil servants trying to get to the next level, white-collar workers aiming for various professional qualifications, and even middle school students who want to do well on the next midterm exam. For a few to tens of yuan per hour, they can rent a study desk in an office building in a big city.

To locate them in Beijing, search for “paid study rooms” with a mapping software and dozens of red dots will appear on the screen. They are located in various parts of the city and house a variety of “life plans.

The earliest paid study room in China was established in Guangzhou in 2014, and 2019 is dubbed “the first year of paid study rooms in China” by the media. Last year, according to a survey by MediaCommons, there were nearly 1,000 new paid study rooms across the country, especially in cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang and Xi’an. 43.2 percent of consumers are “seeking their own independent space. This is followed by daily study, work and preparation for exams.”

The infrastructure of these study rooms is very similar, usually with a high partition erected on a row of desks. Each individual space is small, with sockets and cabinets.

The sound of books turning pages and the water dispenser running is the most “noisy” sound in these spaces.

“There are too many temptations at home.”

Deng Chenyang tried to study at home, but there were too many temptations at home.

The soft bed, comfortable sofa, movies, TV series …… is not easy, he pressed himself in front of the desk, but also clicked on the computer shooting game. A few hours have passed since he slowed down.

This Beijing boy is 26 years old, and last year, he quit his job specifically to prepare for the CPA professional qualification exam.

He couldn’t study at home, so he went to the library. The nearest to his home is the Capital Library, Deng Chenyang squeeze on the bus, wandering all the way, and so he went to the main entrance of the first map, a look at the table, has worn out for an hour.

The coffee shop is too noisy, he thought, maybe there are places where people can go to study. With the idea of trying, Deng Chenyang Internet search, “really have”. The nearest one is only 15 minutes by bicycle.

Deng Chenyang finally found a suitable table. Sitting in that small cubicle, arms to the table a support, elbows can be against the sides of the flap. Surrounded by people with their heads buried in books, there were strangers coming in and no one looked up. The whole environment forced Deng Chenyang to sink in, and he just felt that he “found the feeling of learning.”

Shi Suo (a pseudonym) is also looking for such a place to learn. He is an urban and rural planner, originally from Hubei province, who came to Beijing through the civil service examination. He has already passed the civil service exams at the district and city levels in Beijing, and then he will take the “national exam”. He is able to stay home and read, but his parents push him in from time to time. The book turned two pages, the cut fruit was brought over, the question did a few, hot water was brought over. The earnestness of his parents made it difficult for him to say, “Don’t bother me.

Work, exams, hard work in the metropolis, his family is called “supporters”, but his favorite way to decompress is “a change of environment”, out of the home, he needs a place to just need to study.

In the past, he used to go to the university near his home to study on his own, but when the epidemic came, the school was closed. Cafes, libraries and bookstores …… he searched around before finally looking at paid study rooms.

“This model meets the needs of urban youth today. Because now, the test is important ah …… just have to take it! “The exams were the best Ishoso could do, and he wanted to go as far as he could in this way.” “.

According to the Ministry of Education, the number of applicants for the national exam in 2020 is 3.41 million, an increase of 510,000 over the previous year.In 2020, the national unified exam for certified public accountants involves more than 1.607 million candidates and 448,000 subjects, and the number of applicants for the judicial exam is 690,000.

Many are looking for a study table, middle schoolers with backpacks, schools with no special study rooms, grandparents at home, and dogs. A middle-aged man busy raising a family misses the test, and within a few pages of the book, the child is wailing.

There is a self-proclaimed in the workplace for many years “old fart”, sitting in the small study room cubicle, at first there is a little bit of He was “out of breath” and couldn’t order take-out or use his phone. But he was happy to find that in less than four hours, he had finished his studies in this “dark room.” “Two books on my mind” and “took serious notes. “.

“The idea is not enough. “He lamented.

At 26, you can’t still ask your parents for money.

In the study room for a year, Deng Chenyang every day buried in four hours to read the book. This kind of day continued until September 2020, a news came, Beijing area should have been in mid-October, the “Note” examination, the epidemic was cancelled.

Deng Chenyang is okay, but the same study room another preparation girl, heard about this, in front of the table, in front of a room full of people, “wow” a cry out.

“One more year of revision time”, Deng Chenyang consoled himself, and the anxiety of the approaching exam time also eased. But he quickly fell into a new trouble – livelihood.

In order to prepare for the exams, he had been working for two years and quit his job, taking off studying for too long and spending all his savings.

“I’m 26 years old, I can’t keep asking my family for money, right? “

He sits in a chair by the front desk, the doors to several reading rooms are closed, and the reception hall is quiet enough. Today, he is the “front desk guy” of this paid study room.

“I’ve been observing for quite a while. The actual fact is that you will be able to get a lot more than just a little bit of a few of the most popular and also the most popular. “

This study room has a reservation system where regular customers can pay on their phones and choose their study time slots. They carry their respective study materials, head straight to the most familiar table, and leave at the point where the system will automatically deduct the fee.

In this office building, there is more than one such paid study room. The one where Deng Chenyang works occupies two floors of space, one of which offers 24-hour service.

“There are more students studying for exams over in Zhongguancun, and more white-collar workers here. “Deng Chenyang introduced it to a reporter from the China Youth Daily – China Youth Network.

These tiny study rooms are crammed into an office building on Beijing’s Dawang Road. Diagonally across the street is a mall with annual sales of 13.5 billion yuan and more than 900 well-known brands. The Line 1 subway, which has an average daily passenger flow of 1.22 million, runs through the underground. Buses to Yanjiao depart from the opposite side of this office building, transporting white-collar workers who live and work in the CBD to and from the suburbs day after day.

All the hustle and bustle from the city center is blocked out of the study room by a wall covered with half a centimeter thick soundproof material.

From customers to staff, Deng Chenyang has to deal with things, but also to regulate the conflicts between study hall users, such as the “quiet zone” came to the keyboard, click the mouse people.

“No one quarrel, the most come to me to say, can not go with those who affect others remind. “Deng Chenyang said.

The job doesn’t earn much, but it’s easy and perfect for him, who is still preparing for exams.

As the owner of another paid study room, Chen Le Ren feels that this kind of institution came about from the Korean drama “Please Answer 1988”, which has since caught fire in China. The drama, which began airing about five years ago, features a protagonist who has a large family and a school that doesn’t provide a place to study, so he has to go to a paid study hall.

The Chen Le Man posted two large pages of recent exams on a bulletin board at the entrance, with 54 items over 90 days from October to December.

The time of the exams was shunted to the self-study room. The “note” disappeared, December, the research also withdrawn. In the summer and winter vacation, the junior high and high school students appear more and more.

The list is accompanied by post-it notes such as “Enjoy the quiet alone” and a piece of good news that was posted at the end of last year. “Little brother at the front desk got the pilot’s acceptance notice! Bishin! “

The person in the good news is a relative of the former boss, who came to Beijing last year specifically to take the exam, so he also came here, while front desk and raid preparation until his dream came true.

In Shi Suo’s view, life is about taking exams and moving forward.

He calculated, his 30-year-old life, either in the exam, is in the preparation for the exam on the road – take the high school, university, graduate school, take the civil servant …… to get into the Beijing civil service envied by everyone, the exam road also did not stop.

This Spring Festival, Shi Suo met with his girlfriend’s family to discuss the marriage. He has a stable job, but “without a house, how can it be considered based in Beijing”.

The first thing that you need to do is to make sure that you have a good understanding of what you’re doing and how you’re doing it,” he said.

“Getting into the ministry will hopefully solve housing. “

A white collar worker reads a book while making a meal.

Shi Suo chose Chen Le Ren’s shop.

Before this, the study room belonged to two of Chen Le Ren’s friends, and he had taken over it for only six months. Many people weren’t sure what he was planning, but Chen Le Ren posted photos of the shop on display in his circle of friends: “A place for people to study well! “

Running the shop takes up most of his time today, and he sits behind the bar every morning after it opens at 8:30 a.m. until the last customer leaves at 10:30 p.m., and then cleans up.

Nearly half a year after opening, the store underwent a system update that allowed customers to book and pay with their mobile phones, and Chen Leren handed over most of the work to a computer, without being tied to a stool by the reception.

At the end of October, Chen Le Ren received a bad review, “The place is too small.” “It’s not airy.” When he received this review, he had just replaced the humble four-cornered table in the lounge area, where he kept tea and snacks, with a wooden sideboard, and the shop had added a typewriter and shared charger.

He survived the shutdown phase during the epidemic, and lately, the study hall is getting better. Many schools have delayed the start of the school year, and many students are walking into the study hall.

On weekends, many come early in the morning carrying books or computers and sit all day, until late at night. Those reading books and typing code belong in the quiet and keyboard areas, respectively.

Usually less people, there are only in the evening, there are white-collar workers in the lunch break, carrying a box lunch rushed in. As they pick rice into their mouths, they read books.

“On average, there are more than 20 people a day. “Chen Leren’s wife said.

The first thing that you need to do is to take a look at the newest products that are available on the market. It makes the self-proclaimed young owner’s wife laugh and cry.

She has a planning job and only comes in on weekends to help her husband with the shop. She picks out plain curtains and checkered tablecloths for the shop. The tables in the lounge area serve free chili bars and honey plum pie.

The paper cups on the water dispenser are also specially selected by her, thicker and larger than ordinary disposable cups, which can “catch a few times less water” and allow people to sit down and learn a little more.

Every month, Chen Leren has to pay nearly 20,000 yuan of rent and many utility bills. In order to save costs, he didn’t hire anyone. The study room offers a service that costs 12 yuan per hour, and getting a monthly card will bring the unit price down to about 9 yuan. The price list includes monthly, quarterly, annual, and sub-cards, and the math is all different in terms of unit price.

But which kind of card is the most cost-effective, the boss did not have the patience to calculate. There was once a person who took the “note” exam, self-study, in passing to help the shopkeeper carefully calculated.

“I don’t remember. “The owner’s wife blinked.