The Library: An Entertaining and Disturbing Place

This semester, I am one of those suckers whose last final falls on the very last day of exam period. Adding to the pain is the fact that it is an exam in statistics, a subject I both loathe and am terrible at. On the midterm I got every answer wrong, but my compassionate TA gave me points for trying.

The fear of my impending final failure sent me scurrying to the library for some quality study time and I have yet to leave (I’m considering having my mail addressed here). Sixteen hours straight in the library and you’re bound to start feeling loopy. In the search for something to concentrate on other than the chi-squared test, you also might start noticing some weird things going on…

Because people are so consumed with work and are therefore also residing in the library, they’ve moved their entire lives into their tiny study space: private phone calls, private conversations, eating habits that should be private (anchovies on top of pizza—blech). I’ve witnessed relationship mini-dramas in the stacks, stumbled across a couple taking a creative study break, and some surreptitious flask sippage. Alchol and sleep deprivation combined with a certain amount of desperation will lead to some interesting things, such as the three recent events that I consider evidence of what too much studying does to the college student’s brain.

1. The Naked Donut Run

This is a tradition at my school that was started a few years back by some very enterprising students. Also very brave ones. Every semester we have a reading week in which to prepare for the upcoming hell of finals. Every semester we have a group of students buy several dozen treats from the nearby Dunkin’ Donuts and hand them out to us poor harried creatures that once resembled students in the libraries. The twist? They do it in the nude. And considering most people are sitting at desks while studying, that puts you at a very interesting eye level.

2. The Absolute Quiet Riot

The Absolute Quiet Riot, a beloved tradition of three years, is the best study break I can imagine. It takes place in our Absolute Quiet Room, a completely silent space I’m sure everyone has at their school. At a prearranged time, a significant number (oh no, I’m thinking in stats terms!) of the students working in that room get up from their books and climb on to the tables and boogie. I’ve seen the swim, the lawnmower, and a variety of moves that should not be done without adult supervision, all in complete silence. It is the Absolute Quiet Room, after all.

3. The Band Playing Christmas Carols

I’m sure many people enjoy listening to music while working. I myself am a fan of having a TV show such as Sex and the City on in the background. This is somewhat detrimental to the work itself, but it does give me useful ideas on what shoes I will treat myself to when (if) I survive finals. However, I feel that noise of that calibre should be enjoyed through headphones. Last week I discovered that the Brown Band does not feel the same way. They marched on down to the basement of our Sciences Library and proceeded to play a rousing rendition of Jingle Bells, which was then followed by other carols. My ears are still ringing and I can’t use my calculator without thinking of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

These are some of the strangest things I have ever seen in a library, aside from our challenge (drink a shot on each of the 14 floors), but I’m sure you all might have seen something even weirder than naked people proffering sweets.

So, let’s hear it! What’s the weirdest thing you’ve witnessed during a late night at the library?

[photo source: http://agitprop.typepad.com/%5D

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