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.
- The SciLi
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.”
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.