As with most college students at this point in the semester, I'm up to my eyeballs in coursework. Every afternoon at 3:00, I get out of my final class and make my way to the library, where I can stay for hours on end.
Yes, of course, I go to eat. Yes, of course, I have a social life.
However, when I need to focus, the library is the best place for me to study. That's literally what libraries are for. I've walked every inch of all three floors, trying to find the best place to get my work done. For most students, this building is also an ideal place for tutoring, study groups, and the occasional nap (I see you, Brian. I feel you). When you're here as often as I am, you start to notice a pattern.
Your Classmates Know Your Schedule
Rarely a day goes by where I don't have a friend show up in the time frame in which I'm there. Even on weekends, I've had friends show up to the library without even verifying beforehand that I'll be there. They'll walk right to the tables where I've set up, knowing that I'll be studying. You usually run into the same people at the library, and you'll always know where to find them.
I still get the comments of, "You're always here!" and "Go to sleep!" However, it's always nice to have company while studying. People can always rely on you when you're guaranteed to be in a certain place. A friend of mine once left his laptop charger behind and messaged me personally to make sure nobody took it. Why did he turn to me, do you ask? Because he knew I'd be there to check. And he was right.
The Library Staff Recognizes You
Wherever you go to study, most people have a specific area where they like to set up. The section of the library where I usually study is adjacent to the front desk. As a result, building staff often walk by my table, naturally seeing me there. After all these months, at least 3 or 4 employees have come up to me to introduce themselves. They're usually curious about my work and seem to admire my work ethic. Other faculty members extend friendly greetings as they pass by. I don't mind; one reason I set up in the library is to meet new people.
11:30 Has A Specific Meaning
Alright, this time might vary on your school, but at URI, 11:30 is half an hour before the library closes. At this time, the lights flicker and an announcement comes over the intercom. The gist of this message is that you have 30 minutes to get to the 24 hour room or get out. I'm usually at the library until 11:30, and that's when I make my judgement call:
Can I call it a night now? Or do I need to stay?
Usually, I determine that I've done a sufficient amount of work. In fact, I try to aim for my nightly work to be done in anticipation of that announcement. However, there are nights where I realize that I have to stay up an hour or so later. On those nights, I shuffle over to the 24 hour room with the rest of the late-night crew.
In either case, when you're here as often as I am, you know what 11:30 means at the URI library.
Some People Make Assumptions
Since you spend a lot of time in the library, people will make assumptions about your life. The most blatant of these being that you have no social life. I assure you, that is far from true. I still hang out with friends on certain nights, and there are always events taking place on campus.
Even at the library, there's time for social interaction. The first floor is a communal area for friends to hang out and chat about life.
Many People Respect You For It
As I stated in point 2 of this article, the library staff always seem to admire my work ethic. Not only them; many classmates and friends take notice of the fact that I'm always doing my best to prepare for my classes. Effort is always important in college, so even if I perform less than ideally on an assignment, I could never be accused of not trying and preparing.
You Are Punctual
Since the library is at a central point on campus, it doesn't take long to get anywhere. Even so, it always helps to leave a few minutes early so you'll be on time to class. Once you walk the same route enough times, you know how long it will take you to get to class or a meeting. Getting there seems like clockwork. Therefore, you lessen the chance of being late and missing something important.
You Develop A Routine
Because you manage to be on time for everything, you're able to build up a schedule between classes.
"If I leave my dorm at 8:55, I can be at the library by 9:00, therefore getting in 45 minutes of studying before 10:00 Chinese class." Repeat and revise throughout the day as necessary.
People Watching Becomes Second Nature
I, like most people, am guilty of people watching when I'm a public place for an extended period of time. After a while, you anticipate when certain people will walk by.
You're also guaranteed to overhear snippets of people's conversations, which can get quite interesting later in the night. Trust me on this. Conversations amongst tired college students are among the most hilarious things you'll hear in your whole life.
You Meet New People
When I walk into the library, there's never going to be the same person or group of people in the space where you set up. One day it's the nursing and animal science majors stressing about organic chemistry, and the next day the computer science majors are neck-deep in work for some advanced programming class. Either way, you're bound to be studying alongside other people, and everyone's in the same boat because of stress.
I always am courteous when people are working, but it's always nice to talk to new people and learning about their work during a break period. Everyone's there to get work done, and it's nice to know that you have support.