Packing Your Bag for the Library – A Mostly Serious Guide

Every college library is similar – always too hot or too cold, smells kind of bad but you aren’t sure why, phrases etched into the tables, and a mixed population of students either writing on each others’ Facebook walls or writing 20 page term papers in a single night.

Good times!

I used to be very anti-library (who isn’t), but this semester I have found ways to make it more comfortable, enjoyable and conducive to a productive day/evening/month of work-doing. It’s all about being prepared (for anything) and as long as you have these essentials in that backpack of yours, you can be successful too.

Water bottle: This seems obvious but you’d be surprised. I once pulled an all-nighter without bringing a water bottle and because I was so into the work I was doing, I never felt like going to get water. Stupid mistake! I got tired and sick, and spent my night drooling on my laptop instead of researching on it. The next time I filled that sucker up a few times per hour, got everything done, and felt great the next day. Also, drinking only coffee, tea or Red Bull (or Bawls...) will almost definitely dehydrate you, cause you to crash sooner than without caffeine and probably give you a terrible stomachache (which may explain that weird smell in the libs….).

Personal hygiene products: I’ll admit that I’m a little weird when it comes to hygiene – I carry toothbrushes with me wherever I go – but I highly suggest anyone going to the library for an extended period of time should have at least a toothbrush thrown in their backpack. Some other products that always come in handy for me are hand sanitizer, lotion, tissues, chapstick, and deodorant. Trust me, it’s better for everyone if you smell like a “Satin Pear” (whatever that is) than whatever 10 hours in a dirty library smells like for a 9:35 Italian class!

Oh and don’t forget the gum! Studies show that chewing gum helps jog memory and you are much better off bringing your own than being forced to bum it off someone you may or may not of (you just aren’t sure…) hooked up with freshman year (FML).

Electronic accessories: Bring them all. There is nothing worse than having your computer die halfway (or 90%) through a paper, or your cell phone dying and not being able to text your friend about which book you were supposed to have read for Competitive Authoritarianism in the Middle East (Oops?). You are also going to want to throw in a pair of (noise canceling) earphones to block out the loud whispers, Swine Flu sneezing fits and vibrating cell phones of those (RUDE) people around you. If listening to your favorite jams distracts you, set up a Pandora station with Ludwig Van Beethoven or any other classical music that will give you some relaxing surround sound.

Fruit*: The natural sugar in fruit will pep you up a little bit and not make you too full when you are working diligently in the library. Sometimes when I don’t feel like eating anything (which rarely ever occurs) fruit is less daunting than say, a sandwich, and makes you feel healthier than devouring a bag of peach rings. The asterisk next to fruit stands for whatever the hell Starbucks sells in the middle of the night when the last fruit cup is sold. If they don’t have fruit, go for something that has fiber or protein. Scones, bagels and other carby snacks will give you a quick fix, but aren’t what you need for the long haul on that paper (or your FB Scrabble game).

Protection: A very sophisticated study was done (aka a group of my friends chatting last week) and turns out, many students have fantasized about/have had/would be willing to have sex in a library. Put these curious students together with a desperate need for procrastination and a relatively isolated spot in the stacks, and well, all I can say is throw some of these guys in your bag too…

Parka/Bathing Suit/Etc.: I am quite certain that they put the temperature on random numbers each day just to keep the students on their toes. If you cannot personally adapt to arctic or tropical studying conditions at the drop of a hat, I’d say prepare. Just yesterday my library was pumping heat into the study rooms and it was 92 degrees outside. Trust me, I wish I had that bathing suit… and one of those ghetto sprinklers to play in while I did my Italian homework.

“Going out clothes”/supplies: Many a time, I or people I know, will spend obscene amounts of time working on a very important assignment, all the while fighting the urge to party. My post-assignment celebrations are kind of like the carrot that keeps me going and my GPA where it is supposed to be. Best to be prepared. Throw a few evening essentials (accessories, shoes, makeup, flask?) into your bag for a quick change in the bathroom. Just please do not wear your leopard stilettos and “club wear” to the library; even my earphones can’t cancel out the sound of bangles running across a desktop.

I hope I helped you pack your backpack for the library. While I (attempt to) joke a lot, seriously take care of yourself during finals. Keep eating, sleeping and getting fresh air – humans need those things! If you have major procrastination problems, consider deactivating your Facebook account during this time, or, better yet, try not to bring your computer at all if you can help it! Happy studying.

Time for me to fill up my water bottle and get to the ‘brary.

NYU Doesn’t Want Poor Kids
NYU Doesn’t Want Poor Kids
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