Picture this: it’s January. You’re just back from your Christmas break, feeling less than refreshed since assignments and exams have been constantly looming over your head. So you figure, you know what? I’m ready to bang out some work, let me head over to the library. Haven’t checked that out in a while.
It’s about 11am. You’ve had breakfast and you’re feeling super inspired. Maybe you’ve even got a cheeky coffee in your Keep Cup – so you’re feeling especially smug. #ecowarrior right here! Check you, ready and at Uni before 12 – can I get a New Year, New Me please!?
But oh. Wait. Everyone else had that same idea. And they all got here way before you.
Fear not library newbie, for I am here to depart a few pearls of wisdom that I’ve acquired. How, you may ask? Sadly, from years of facing the harsh reality that is the library during exam season. You know what, let’s just call it what it is. The Hunger Games: Stressed Student Edition.
- Timing is Key
In a cruel and bizarre twist of fate, every other Soton student appears to have become an early riser overnight. Random, seeing as they never turn up to the 9am seminars, am I right? If you want the slightest chance at getting a seat in the library, you need to be there by 9:30am. Oh, but you want a seat with a charger? I’d say 9am is probably already cutting it a bit close. If you come any later, you may get lucky and manage to poach a seat just as someone’s leaving, but don’t blame me when you’re stuck on the sofas by the toilets on the 3rd floor. Don’t even bother asking what time the pods usually free up, I’m convinced people hibernate in those things over Christmas and camp there throughout January.
- Studying is Hungry Work
You have to feed your brain. However, food is a highly politicised issue within the library. First and foremost, if you intend on staying for a large part of the day, you should really be bringing your own packed lunch – snacks at the very least. Unless, of course, Mummy and Daddy don’t mind treating their precious poppet to £10 Pret sandwiches, endless ginger shots and berry granola pots for 2 weeks. Don’t bother bringing anything aromatic, you’ll be catching whiffs the whole time you’re at your desk and will inevitably end up devouring that bad boy by 10:30. Crisps are a risky one. Not a no-no, but consume at your own risk. With only the occasional sneeze and the hushed panicked breathing of several over-hyped Freshers to cut through the silence, you chomping down on a big old packet of Monster Munch is guaranteed to be met with a few sharp glares. Instead think fresh berries, dried fruits, nuts, sandwiches, cookies – all that good stuff.
- Don’t Take Crazy Long Breaks
With the sudden influx of students descending on the previously unknown building that is Hartley library, spaces are at a premium. So, you taking a 2-hour break in Costa while your coat is flung nonchalantly on your desk is a pretty inconsiderate move. We may not like the library, but we do respect it, okay?
- Shoes and Socks Should *Always* Remain On
I know, you may think this goes without saying? Alas, no. Some of our fellow students appear to confuse the library with their own home and so feel no type of way kicking off their shoes. While this alone, although rather odd, is ‘somewhat’ vaguely acceptable (provided that your shoes don’t smell), sadly people don’t stop there. It doesn’t matter how stressed you are, no one needs to see your bare feet glaring at them, we’re all just trying to do our work here.
- Layer, Layer, Layer
For some bizarre reason, the library appears to have its own climate going on within those walls. It may be freezing outside, but it’s highly likely that it’s going to be roasting in there. So that thick turtleneck that you thought would keep you nice and toasty will, sadly, transform into your own personalised oven. It’ll start slowly cooking you until you can’t think of anything besides your increasingly sweaty palms. Instead, layering up is your best bet to avoid discomfort. Plus, a thick scarf always doubles up nicely as a little pillow – should you need a quick power nap!
So, these are just a few of the fundamental basics that should keep you on the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, I can’t give you all of the answers – some things you just have to find out for yourself. So grasshopper; go, be free, study hard, procrastinate less and most importantly: keep your socks on!