Around exam season (and, indeed, at many other times of year such as dissertation deadlines) our university library is packed. Sometimes I think it genuinely and foolishly isn’t big enough. However, there is always a massive furore, even prompting the Twitter account @libraryseats to be created to inform people of how busy the library is and what areas are free.
However, I usually view this library panic from the outside. Why, I hear you ask. Don’t you have work to do too? That I do, but I much prefer working from home.
You see, at home you have so many comforts that the library can’t even pretend to offer you. You can work without judgement in your pyjamas, or even wrapped in a duvet or blanket- or just in bed! At home, you have a kitchen with all the delights your stomach could possibly want without having to pack up a box or venture to the library café (not bad, but not for everyone). You are much closer to the loos than you are likely to ever be in the library, you don’t have to lug your laptop around or trust in the library’s computers or your USB stick, and you don’t have to put up with a wealth of irritating people around you. For the good of your concentration, it is also easier to take regulated breaks such as watching TV or playing games- you can explore the internet in the library but looking at just the one screen for hours doesn’t usually help you concentrate on it.
Literally the only reason to go to the library is to take books out. If they’re too heavy, you need too many or they’re key texts then stay in the library for a few hours sure, but don’t feel trapped there. The only time I spend any real amount of time in the library is when I’m panicking- at the end of the last term when my solo project was due in, and next week I will inevitably be there with this essay, but it was due to other commitments that I’d eventually been forced there to finish off before the deadline.
It just seems that everyone tries to force themselves to do work in the library, to the detriment of their happiness or focus. If we spend a few more relaxed days working at home instead of stressing out in the library with a load of other stressed people, we might all be less tense and more shrewd. Equally, everyone works differently- I just like to be comfy, but someone else may prefer the strict approach!