Living in the Library

pooja 1In 2004, New York University’s student run paper, The Washington Square News, released an article about an NYU student named Steve Stanzak, better known around campus as the Bobst Boy.

His living arrangement made him different than the other students, for a very special reason. Stanzak could not afford living on campus or the lavish apartment life of New York City—giving him the idea to live in the Bobst Library. He lived in the library for…get ready for it…eight whole months, until his blog went viral and NYU actually ended up financing his housing for the rest of the semester.

Now, I’m not saying that I condone living in Pattee or Paterno Library, because chances are you WILL get kicked out and most likely will not get free housing—even if your blog does go viral. But for most students living in apartments off campus or even those with a full day of classes, can say that they basically live in the library (during the day at least).

“I live in the North Halls and my next class is farther from North than from the library. I just sit in the library after my first class, in the morning, to save time. Then after my late class, I’ll go back to North Halls,” says Monika Shen.

As one of these students, I know how much effort it takes to spend the entire day in the library. Through trial and error, I’ve learned that packing for the long day is more or less like getting ready for a camping trip. Here are eight tips to surviving your day in the library:

1. Have a work plan

This is probably one of the most beneficial tips that make spending the day in the library a little less exhausting. In your apartment or dorm, sort through your course work before your first class and figure out what you plan on accomplishing in the library. Don’t forget to pack extra pencils, calculators or any other necessary school supplies. If making lists is helpful, put together your assignments in priority order.

2. Prepare for the indoor weather forecast

You can always count on the library to be the exact opposite weather than what’s outside. For example, early in the fall semester and late in the spring semester, the air conditioner freezes over the stacks making some sort of indoor arctic tundra. So, bring a sweater into the library even when it’s a sauna outside and wear layers for the walk home.

3. Wash your feet

I understand that this is a really unconventional tip for living in the library during the day. But most people like to take off their shoes and cross their feet on their chair. No one wants to take a waft, or the germs, home with them, so wear a good pair of socks or get scrubbing. So, be courteous and do to others as you would have them do to you.

4. Chargers, chargers and more chargers

I cannot stress this tip enough. Keep your laptop and phone charges in your backpack at all times. Sooner or later, your laptop and phone will die and you won’t be able to “do work,” let alone check Instagram or Twitter during study breaks.

5. Snacks and meals

I highly suggest bringing snacks and meals, but never a six-course lunch. Try packing healthy foods for snacks like raspberries or a banana and make yourself a sandwich (peanut butter and banana, turkey etc.) or salad for lunch. Try staying away from anything crunchy like, carrots, celery sticks or chips because you never want to be that person in a pin-drop-quiet library. Also if you’re too lazy to actually pack a meal or you live in a dorm, there’s an overpriced Au Bon Pain down the street. And don’t forget about water for hydration because chances you’ll need something to counteract the dryness of your mouth after all your coffee.

6. Seating selection

Usually during the weeks that there are no major exams, the library is almost completely vacant. Choosing a seat during these weeks is especially easy. However, on the weeks that there are major exams, there are tons of students who flock to Pattee and Paterno and do zero work, as though the simple act of just being in the library will give them the knowledge they need to pass their test. These are the types of people you want to steer clear of, as they could easily distract you. So, save yourself some time and go sit in the Quiet Zone of the Paterno Library.

7. Hair ties

Last but not least, never leave your hair tie at home. There is nothing more annoying than tilting your head to read your textbook and having your hair fall all over the page. Hair ties are a godsend, so use them. Keep a small plastic bag of hair supplies and other essentials like Chapstick, moisturizer and breath mints for emergencies.

8. Moderate volume headphones

I’m currently sitting in the library typing this article and all I hear is someone from, mind you, five bookshelves over, playing “Human” by Christina Perri. No matter how much you love a song, be considerate to your ears and those people around you, by using a pair of moderate volume headphones. When you keep your music at a lower volume you can still play your favorite songs without disturbing others. If you notice people around you moving away, or giving you looks, the gig is up. Take out the headphones and study in silence.

Photo by Danielle Gallo

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