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Where to study … or procrastinate

John Cameron | Monday, September 26, 2011

I’m a procrastinator — and a night owl. So naturally, I’m awake at 4:30 a.m. the night before most tests, smashing books against my head, hoping for some sort of informational osmosis to occur.

The problem isn’t just that I can’t draw a demand curve four hours before an economics exam. I also have been ousted from one study space or another every few hours, leaving me wandering campus like an over-caffeinated transient.

I just don’t get why the library isn’t open 24/7, or at least later than 2 a.m. Sure, I could study in my dorm. But the section lounge is almost never empty before 3 a.m., the study lounges have been converted into doubles, the basement is creepy and cold and my quad is a disaster most days.

I’m a big fan of the library — freshman and sophomore year (not quite as much these days), you could find me on any given weeknight on the second floor of Club Hes, wolfing down a giant iced coffee and looking irritable.

My only complaint — outside of the yellowy light and absence of a remotely reasonable number of outlets — is that at 1:45 a.m. each night, that weird noise comes on and someone announces “May I have your attention please … The library will be closing in 15 minutes,” which translates loosely to “We know you still have four hours of studying to do, but you can’t do it here.”

It’s clear that the Library operators understand the need for late night study space, because the building stays open 24/7 during finals. That’s always great, but for many students, finals week is not their busiest or most difficult. Midterms are usually just as bad, and tests have a way of coincidentally piling up before breaks.

Of course there are practical considerations to take into account. The library does have a staff who would need to be paid for the extra hours and probably isn’t keen on the idea of working later, and the later the doors stay open the more likely students will attempt a late-night Hesburgh Challenge run. But as it is, the staff is greatly trimmed down after midnight anyway.

I would think the building could operate with a pretty minimal staff during the later shift. When I’m stressed and cramming at dawn I don’t need a librarian or help desk, I really just need silence, lights and a desk.

I’m kind of being a whiner. I know that. CoMo is open until 4 a.m. (except on Sundays, which makes zero sense also, as that is probably when people study most), the basement of LaFortune is open 24/7 and most dorms have some designated study area.

But still, since students in this decade probably only go to the library for books once in a long while, the building’s main purpose is a study space, so it should be open when students — even the procrastinating ones — are studying.