As far as I’m concerned the University has something for everyone, and this idea extends to the library facilities it offers. However, it seems that there is always that one person in the McGregor Room with a cough, a tendency to chew rather loudly or a blissful ignorance to the fact that music really can travel beyond your own headphones.
The library really does bring out the worst in all of us. Never have so many raised eyebrows and rolled eyes and knowing looks of annoyance been flashed in one room without a fully-fledged fight breaking out. December is when all of this comes to a head. For those of us who tend to avoid the library like the plague until we really can resist no longer, I have compiled a guide explaining every person that you will find in the library, and how to make sure that this person is not you.
The one with the cough
This is perhaps the most common of library offenders. We all feel sorry for you, we really do. In fact, we have all been there. The feeling as the cough slowly moves up your throat and you feel yourself getting redder and redder, trying to stop yourself from exploding into a fit of unstoppable coughing. I get it. However, if you are unfortunate enough to have developed a cough during finals season, please stay away from the concentrated peace of the library. Not only is this for the sake of those around you, but also helps you avoid being the object of pure and unadulterated loathing. The library turns people into their worst selves, and when you add a cougher into the mix, this is not a place where you want to be. Stay at home, buy some cough syrup and treat yourself to a day of working at home.
The noisy eater
You can hear it from a mile off, and you know what it means. The loud rustle of the white Bodo’s bag is as recognisable to all University students as the distinctive sound of opening a packet of chips. What comes next is worse — the chewing. You feel every crunch. You turn up the volume of your headphones in a desperate attempt to drown it out, but somehow, it still manages to reach you. Perhaps, if you have a real compulsion to eat a packet of chips, do everyone around you a favour and take a break from the studying.
First, congratulations. Not only have you managed to find a boyfriend or girlfriend, but you also like them enough to want to study next to them. Or on their lap. Or while you hold hands. As weird as it may be to consider, not everyone wants to see this. If you simply are glued together, then you may want to consider your placement. After all, if love is blind, Sheetz will do just as well as Alderman.
The one whose music is far too loud
Newsflash — music travels beyond your headphones. I know, mind blowing! In fact, the music that seems to travel most successfully beyond your own headphones and into the ears of everybody else on your table is, in my experience, the most intolerable music you can think of. If you want to listen to heavy drum and bass while you work, no one will judge you. But when your music taste starts to interfere with the Ed Sheeran in your neighbor’s ears, there’s a problem.
We all know one. “I’ve had THE longest day at the library,” they say, and you nod sympathetically, wondering how they have possibly managed to make it through a whole day of scrolling through their Facebook News Feed and doing their Christmas shopping. You can see them across the room watching their film, messaging their friends and checking their Instagram for what must be the millionth time that day. All I can wonder, though, is why? Why are you here?
Whether the large number of these people at the University is a testament to the insatiable work ethic of students or a reflection on student housing, I am not sure. What I do know is that if you are asleep, you should not, under any circumstance, be sitting upright at your desk. You should be horizontal, under a comforter, under your own roof. It is perhaps the most irksome thing of all when looking for the highly-contested library seats, to learn that you are literally in a room full of the walking dead. Granted, sometimes it is unavoidable and sleep simply overtakes you. However, if you just happen to find yourself spread out on one of the McGregor Room couches with a blanket carefully placed over you, I certainly do not believe this is a coincidence.
Usually the sound of a message pinging through is a positive thing, right? It could be “him,” or “her” or probably your mum. Either way, it means someone is thinking about you. In the library, however, this changes. As a heads up — if you leave your phone on “loud” in the library, everyone in the room is looking at you. As you look down to the screen to check your message, every set of eyes in the room suddenly turns to glare at you, and then probably look at each other and shake their heads in mutual disapproval. It really is as easy as the click of a button, and if you truly are struggling with how to switch off the sound, I’ll be the first to say it — best of luck with those finals.
This last one is perhaps too niche for its own section, but please take note. If you’re the one using the virtual reality centre in the media room at 3 a.m. on Monday mornings, you might consider walking home, for your own and everybody else’s sake.
For all of the above, there is one solution — Starbucks, Starbucks, Starbucks. Cough when you want, chew as loudly as you like, play your music loud enough to rival the music they play on the speakers and fall asleep next to the fire to the dulcet tones of iPhones going off around the room.