The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Gabriela’s Declassified Library Survival Guide

Gabriela Leskur | Monday, April 29, 2013


As finals week rears its ugly head, you know it’s time for you to start spending some quality time with the books. The information jumps from the page like a wild beast, one you’ve never seen before that threatens to overtake you. In other words, all that procrastinating has caught up to you and you have to cram a semester’s worth of work into the next few days. To become one with your course material, you must prepare for a journey not quite unlike that of the Hobbits – to the library. How you fare there will determine your grade for the semester. For your greatest chance of survival, treat this next week in the Hesburgh Wilderness like the adventure it is.

Imagine your day at the library is like a camping trip. You need all the same types of supplies. Just replace insect repellent with lots of books and random stuff so no parasitic fellow studier tries to infringe on your study space. Replace a sleeping bag with a big, comfy sweatshirt, perfect for a midnight nap. Replace a campfire with a cozy blanket to keep you warm when the air conditioning gets you a little chilly. Replace canned food with snacks from the Huddle. Replace water with caffeine. Instead of a flashlight and batteries, bring all the power cords you could ever need.

The most effective way to get the most out of your library study time is to spend the whole day there. No lunch runs to South Dining Hall. You will need to stock up on food and drink to last you the entire day. Go to the Huddle and prepare yourself a picnic basket full of goods. Suck it up and go to Au Bon Pain, no matter how many Flex Points you may or may not have left. A meal may seem like an innocent break. Wrong, wrong. Do not, under any circumstances, leave the library until you’ve been there for at least five hours.

The final step is to get one of these prime spots. Arrive early. While some of these are well known, some of the spots are diamonds in the rough. If you can find them, do whatever you can to lay your claim.

Study Spot #1: Basement Booths.  These are tough to get, especially during finals week, but maybe if you wait for a little bit in one of the cozy chairs, you’ll be lucky enough to snatch up a booth after some studied-out soul decides it’s time to zombie walk home. 

Study Spot #2: The Lonely Basement Table. If you’re brave enough, venture into the book archives in the basement, and if you walk far enough you will find several extremely-isolated tables.  You have absolutely nothing to look at besides stacks of books and your laptop screen, so get off Facebook and finish that paper.

Study Spot #3: The Room with a View. Alright, more like the desk with a view, but if you’re lucky enough to score one of the upper-floor solo desks with a breathtaking campus view, you had better be studying instead of watching movies and tweeting. 

Study Spot #4: The Fishbowl Booth. This is the lap of luxury. These booths are comfortable, they have outlets and they are perfect for hiding from people and distractions. The high walls are like shields from the rest of the room. 

As you venture out into the Hesburgh Wilderness, remember: Every adventure must eventually end. This, too, shall pass.