Choosing a study spot is something of an art form. It requires serious consideration of the task at hand. There are days when not getting your work done is simply not an option. And then there are the (glorious) days when you have some reading you probably should do but you’re more than ready to leave it behind the moment something mildly exciting comes your way. So, for people on all parts of the study spectrum, here’s a ranking from “if you talk to me I’ll probably kill you” to “I will literally use any excuse to stop doing my work.”
John Hay Library
The Hay is the place to go when you simply need to zero in, get in the zone, and just get down to business. You pretty much have no other option than to be alone with your thoughts. The sheer weight of the silence will physically force your fingers to type that paper you’ve been dreading. You will feel shame for scrolling through your Facebook feed for the fifteenth time, and although everyone else is deep inside their studious worlds, they will know that you are procrastinating, and they might judge you.
This is where you go when you need to burn the midnight oil, since the Hay closes at 10 p.m. and, let’s be real, you’re lucky if your book is open by 10. On the SciLi’s quiet floor, there is actually nothing to distract you. In fact, you will probably want to do your work in order to get out of that concrete dungeon as fast as possible. If that’s not enough, the tangible stress floating through the air should do the trick.
There are two weeks left until Thanksgiving break. That means midterm season is back in full swing after its quick hiatus that started on Halloween and ended a day or two after that.
For freshmen who are still struggling to understand the idea of midterms when they happen more often than just “mid-term”: We have many midterms, which makes no sense, but we’re all too busy studying to take the time to change the terminology.
And you know what happens after midterm season? Finals. Finals come right after Thanksgiving, and those last about three weeks, too, because you have a final paper due just before reading period and then something else due during reading period and then a “final” during finals week.
So you’re going to need a library. You’re going to need a place to call home through thick and thin–and by “thick and thin” I’m referring to the width of the 12 Meeting Street cookies you get delivered to the study spot of your choice.
We don’t give our study spots enough credit for what we put them through. We stain them with blood, sweat, tears, and Mama Kim’s. Next time you find yourself in a sedentary position for seven hours straight–and no, I’m not talking about your intimate moments with Netflix–stop what you’re doing, take a deep breath, and look around you. We should not subject the aggression we have toward our workloads onto the places where we conquer them.
Next time you feel down, or get angry at the SciLi basement windows for creating a deadly greenhouse effect, remember why you love your study space. As 19th century poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning says in “Sonnet 43,” “How do I love thee, [study space]? Let me count the ways.”
This article is written in honor of the Rock’s 50th anniversary. You can submit your own Rock memories here.
Thinking back on freshman year, I realized the most important events are now stored in my head in cinematic snippets. My first trek up College Hill and the sudden glimpse of Carrie Tower. The slow walk through Faunce and the unexpected breathtaking beauty of the Main Green. Parading through the Van Wickle Gates with the bell tolling in the distance and people cheering. These moments are firmly entrenched in my mind, and will probably become even more cherished as time goes by. However, there is another equally important memory from my freshman year that I had almost forgotten, until now: the first time that I saw the Rock.
The small, gray building seemed quite friendly and welcoming compared to its fellow libraries. As a nervous first year, I was quite intimidated by the looming, concrete SciLi with its Brutalist architecture. I was also secretly afraid that if I got locked in one of the higher floors at night, no one would hear my cries. The John Carter Brown and John Hay libraries were far too majestic for my uncouth freshman self; I couldn’t even imagine crossing their sacrosanct thresholds. The Rock, however, seemed to practically beckon to me. So on a whim, the very day I first laid eyes on it, I decided to give it a visit. I climbed up the steps, taking two at a time, pushed through the revolving doors and found myself standing in the lobby. As I looked around, a big smile spread over my face. Seeing the large comfy armchairs, the polished tables, and the air of calm and quiet, I knew I had found my refuge from the noise and turbulence of college.
Eating in study spaces is a regular activity for every student; we all must study, we all must eat, so naturally these two activities will overlap quite frequently. Given the fact that this daily habit is not going to change any time soon, it’s time, I think, to set some ground rules for eating in shared spaces.
We’re all guilty of it – we’ve all had food that we know is too loud to be eating in the Leung Gallery or too smelly to be consuming in the stacks of the Rock. I’m not naïve enough to believe that this is going to stop, though I think it’s time to call attention to some very-necessary study space eating etiquette.
Abolition or revolution is not necessary, but all I ask is for a deeper consideration of how what you eat affects those around you. There is a spectrum of acceptable study snacks, with the priority placed on choosing food that is quiet and that does not give off an odor that can be smelled from 20 feet away (I’m looking at you Kabob and Curry, Soban, Shanghai, Chipotle – wow, Thayer Street has a lot of stinky offerings). In addition to the obvious distraction that comes with the deafening crunch of potato chips, the overwhelmingly pungent smell of your bibimbap from Mama Kim’s makes me a) hungry, b) nauseous, and c) unable to focus on anything other than the nostril flaring and stomach grumbling that my body subconsciously engages in.
Next time you’re strategizing your meals for your midterm study binge, consider the sensorial vulnerabilities of your neighbors. A Blue Room muffin, a bagel, an orange, a turkey sandwich, salad, just as some examples, are ideal – they’re quiet to consume and relatively odorless. Kimchi, on the other hand, is simply not appropriate for the library; it’s just a fact.
As 2013 comes to an end, the Internet is ripe with end-of-the-year “best of 2013” lists: best photos, best songs, movies, and of course, best university confessions. A post on Brown Confessions made BuzzFeed’s Craziest College Confessions of 2013. Which confession? you might ask. None other than “I’ve been faking a British accent since I got to Brown and it’s gotten me so much pu**y.” Satisfied? I personally think there were a lot better ones this semester. So with that, let’s recap the top six confessions of this semester:
The creep: “I knew the telescope that my grandpa gave me last summer in Weehawken would come in handy. I live in the Keeney quadrangle and some nights, when my roommate is out, I use it to look into the rooms of the girls across the courtyard. Those lollipop undies are so hot. Next time you leave the lights on, keep the shades up, I’ll be watching…”
The most blasphemous: “I had forgotten that Brown University Compliments existed until a rogue post appeared on my news feed today. Sorry BlogDH.”
The existential crisis: “I am a senior and I am beginning to F R E A K T H E F U C K O U T about my impending real adult life.”
The asshole: “I pretend to be on board with my girlfriend’s feminist causes because she is really hot and our sex is great, but also because I know it comes from an insecurity that I can exploit when I need to. Yeah, come at me Brown.”
The most relatable: “Sometimes I treat myself and I go to the Ratty soda dispenser and I pour a little ginger ale, let the foam sit, and make all these bitches wait for me to pour a little more and let the foam sit again, and repeat until I have a sexy ass full glass of delicious ginger ale.”
The daredevil: “Just let out a (hopefully) silent 10 second fart in the Absolute Quiet Room at the Rock while wearing headphones. This is how I live dangerously.”
I’ve recently entered a relationship, or a love affair, rather, that has gotten pretty serious. When I wake up, I think of seeing her (sometimes with disdain). I have the urge to just go see her and get in the zone for a couple hours. As I approach the place I know she will always reside, my heart races with excitement, also frightened at the possibility of her having no interest in me, but not by choice. I am tormented when I walk by and see another paramour spending the quality time with her that I know I would enjoy more. I feel cheated. I am talking, of course, of my newfound love for my favorite study space. Oh yes, it’s finals season.
I’ve never been one for relationships with the library. It used to pain me to trek to the SciLi in the winter to work on that problem set or reading assignment. I’d rather hang out on my bed and do my work than hunker down in the stacks. All that changed, however, when I found, well, let’s call her Settia (I found a fake poinsettia there today so it seems fitting) to protect her identity and my ability to access the space. Her light-colored, upbeat wood, the enticing silence surrounding her, her refined, curvy accompanying chair. Oh man, she’s perfect. When I’m with her, it’s just me, her, and my War and Politics books. Romantic, huh? Continue Reading