1. Bring snacks
Snacks are the most important part of life. You’re probably eating a snack right now, just finishing one or about to go grab a tasty treat. The only problem with buying snacks is that you have to spend money, wait in line and break focus from your super important work. In order to combat this, bring a mini fridge to the library! You can have any kind of snack you want, like a sandwich or some grapes or an entire cheesecake. A Keurig would also do a lot of good because you will have inevitably procrastinated and will inevitably need caffeine at some point. Don’t forget plates, silverware, your own tablecloth and cups. And maybe some extras for your neighbors.
2. Stay cozy
The libraries on Grounds can get awful chilly after a while, so it’s important to plan ahead. Bring a sweatshirt, a blanket or a heating pad to cuddle with while you slave away finishing that 100-page reading. If you aren’t so great at planning ahead, you can still stay nice and warm by building a campfire under your desk! Each library has paper recycling, so build a little nest of paper and borrow a lighter from the guy across the desk who smells like cigarettes. You’ll be toasty in no time, and I’m sure the other students will appreciate the added warmth.
It can be really difficult to find a private place in the library, especially around midterms and finals. If you get easily distracted or you can’t seem to find a desk, it’s time to create your own space. Stake out a cubicle in Clem 1; once it’s vacated, put a fitted sheet over it for your very own blanket fort. Only allow entry if people know the password. If you have a tent, feel free to set it up wherever you like. Maybe even bring a sleeping bag and s’mores.
4. Preserving sanity
After staring at the same page for what seems like hours, it’s time to take a study break so you don’t throw yourself out the next available window. You’ve been looking at a screen for so long that everything has a bluish tint to it, and you actually tried to scroll to read the menu at Greenberry’s. Something that has always helped me disconnect is a light game of bowling. Now you don’t have to bring an actual bowling set; the plastic lawn game will work too. You can even bring along the custom-embroidered bowling shirt your grandma made for you! Play a few rounds to take your mind off how none of these ten-page papers will actually matter in 10 years.
College students mourn for a variety of reasons. Maybe you have a paper due in every class, or you’re having a funeral for your GPA or the vending machine was all out of your favorite chips. If your tears come on so fast that you don’t have time to leave the library, it’s okay! You could either stay right where you are and cry it out, or, if you prefer your crying sessions to be private, you could find a nice little nook under some desks or in the stacks. Don’t be surprised if you find another student already in your hiding spot. You can cry together.
6. Annoying neighbors
Everyone has to deal with less-than-ideal library neighbors. Maybe that guy one cubicle over in Clem one won’t stop clicking his pen or the Clark girl two lamps down from you chews her chips just a little too loud. You could move seats, but what if you can’t find another? You could ask the person to stop, but who wants to deal with human interaction? Therefore, the best solution is to bring tranquilizer darts. I personally prefer the blowgun method because it takes true skill and lung strength to take out your fellow students. Don’t worry, they’ll wake up in a few hours. They probably needed the rest anyways.
In certain rooms and floors of libraries, it is highly frowned upon to have a conversation louder than a mouse’s whisper. Texting or note passing works, but where’s the fun in that? I suggest a fully trained carrier pigeon. Granted, you can’t write too much on the paper or else you’ll weigh the pigeon down, but think of how cool it would be! It could be just like the movie “Valiant” where the pigeons help deliver messages during WWII. If you happen to be in the Harry Potter room, you must use an owl instead. RIP Hedwig, forever in our hearts.
8. Essential oils
Studying can be stressful on the brain, but maybe you don’t have the time to take a break for a round of bowling or scribble a note for your carrier pigeon. Essential oils could help you, or at least convince your brain they’re helping. There are essential oils for everything. Lavender and ylang ylang for stress relief, peppermint and eucalyptus for headaches and basil and sage for staying alert. They’re also useful if your neighbor smells like they haven’t left the library in a few days or if you smell that way.
9. Toiletry bag
During midterms or finals, you never know how long you’ll be in the library. In preparation for the worst, you should bring a little toiletry bag with you. Include deodorant, a toothbrush, a razor, shaving cream and a hair brush. Some other odds and ends include but are not limited to: travel liquor bottles, snacks, a pillow and your pet fish. Just be prepared because it’s better to be safe than sorry.
10. Find inspiration
The library can be a great place for inspiration and motivation. If you look around, you’ll either see someone doing way better than you, which will make you work harder, or someone doing way worse than you, which will make you feel pretty good about yourself and inspire you to keep working so you don’t become them. You can also find some lovely quotes and memoirs from prior students that they so carefully carved into the desk where you are sitting. They left that message just for you — please do not take their effort for granted.