Thursday, April 22, 2010

studying for finals at the library w10: observations by Katie (ok the title for this post isnt a katie original but it fit.)

it is so wonderful that school libraries stay open far longer than typical city public libraries (9pm). the HBLL stays open till 2am during finals week. it is good for people like me who do better studying late at night and need a quiet environment void of distractions.

going to the library is good because it eliminates nearly all possible distractions, such as:
1. noise. going to the deep recesses of the library provides an environment where there is practically no noise at all. no people traffic to grab your attention.
2. cell phone. no reception down at the bottom of the library.
3. food. its far more inconvenient to get food at the library. it takes you at least 10 minutes and two flights of stairs to get out of the 1st floor of the library. so you arent going to leave unless you are really really hungry. but as i learned very recently, you can have food in parts of the library. so you can create that distraction for yourself if you want.
4. usually you can go to the library and not be distracted by friends, family, or roommates. however, i recognize the fact that the longer you attend BYU, the more likely you are to run into someone you know at the library. potential distraction.
5. slight fatigue. the chairs are usually hard enough to prevent you from getting comfy, which promotes sleepiness.

perhaps the only distraction i can think of facing is that of getting mentally or physically fatigued. thats about the time i usually lose focus, give up and leave. one time i experienced the distraction of staring at the books on the shelves nearby. that didnt last very long though.

do not try to study anywhere on the third floor, unless you thrive on a moderately high noise level. people... i know you can have food in the no shh zone. but if you are in one of the recesses of the library where silence is expected, will you please please please not ruffle wrappers creating unnecessary noise? at least go make your noise on the third floor.

most people take off their shoes while studying. hey, why not be comfortable while there? a few times i've seen people who lie on the ground under/next to the desk they are studying at. not sleeping. just studying. it gets uncomfortable sitting in a hard chair for so long, so i dont blame them.

my first night of studying in the hbll, i observed occasionally (and by occasionally i mean once every two hours) a student just randomly perusing the aisle where i was studying (note: no reason for traffic where i was). i wondered, "why is this random student walking over here. they have no reason to be. either you're walking this aisle to get to a desk, or to leave a desk and this student is doing neither."

my second night gave me enlightenment on the matter. i had been studying for about two hours and noticed the guy in front of me studying calculus was MIA but all his stuff was still there. i concluded he must have gone for a walk. i figured, i've been sitting for awhile. a walk will be nice. i will get a little mental break and boost blood flow. so i found myself wandering the perimeter of half of the first floor and wandering in aisles that dont warrant frequent traffic (just to get more distance in my walk). suddenly it hit me why i would see random students walking past me every now and then: they were walking in my section of the perimeter, just as i had been walking another section of the perimeter.

i've been spending time at the library in 3 hour blocks. maybe i'll bump it up to more? occasionally when i plant myself down at a desk, i'll observe the people sitting in the proximity (usually no more than two people). I feel kinda guilty when i arrive at the desk after them and leave before them. the guilt increases when i get there after them, leave before them, and they are studying calculus. my heart really goes out to you mr calculus man.

fire alarm went off fri night at 9pm. i'm down on the first floor of the hbll. in the very far south west corner. the exit is on the 3rd floor north section. the alarm sounded. i had a moment of conflict because everything you ever learned about responding to a fire drill was to simply get up and leave your stuff behind. but, all my notes for all my classes to prepare for all my finals were spread out on the desk. conflict: should i do what i've been taught and risk losing all my notes to prepare for finals? or take an additional minute to grab my stuff?

my rationale: it was going to take me at least 5 minutes just to get to the library exit. if it was a really bad emergency, what is one more minute going to make? either i'm toast or i'm not. so i grabbed my stuff. good thing, because i got out of the library with my life and my notes, and no harm. never found out why the entire library had to be evacuated.people waited a half hour to get back into the library.

ding dong: it is now 10:45. the circulation desk will be closing at 11 pm. if you have any materials you need to check out, please make your way to the circulation desk. (something to that effect). anyone else jump out of their seats when this bell rings? so silentI experienced the message one hears as the library is about to close on sat night. Good thing i didnt plan on studying past midnight tonight. in order to encourage you to "exit the building immediately" they blast annoying music throughout the library. tonight it was the blue man song. actually, people were laughing about the song. and exiting the library very quickly.

some big fat guy walking into the no shhh zone with headphones singing, "well.... my girls in... the next room..." completely unaware of how quiet it actually is. me and two other students at computers all started laughing. so great. i love it when you and another person (or people) can laugh at something without speaking a word to each other.

interesting how i only set foot in the library last semester about three times (two for a group meeting and once for work purposes...never to study). i avoided the library in previous semesters. I have a feeling i will be spending  a lot more time in the library this summer. it will be my home away from home.