Library survival guide for students


As much as it pains us all to admit it, it’s getting to that time of the year again. Nights are remaining lighter, summer is ever encroaching, lectures have all but come to an end and ultimately, the library is patiently waiting to claim us all.

In essence, it is basically a case of accepting the inevitable. In the run up to the examination period, the library will, and does, become the staple place of habitation for a vast majority of the student population. A place that for most of the year acted as a social sanctuary for meeting up in the awkwardly placed hours between lectures – now becomes a hub of long-drawn torment, almost in the blink of an eye. Brace yourselves for an intense season of battling for a suitable place to work, being defied by the coincidental absence of every book you need, and being ever tempted by the allure of the postcard-esque sun to call it a day and exit your self-designated studious hellhole.

It takes some strong willpower, concise focus and usually a metric ton of caffeine riddled energy drinks in order to undertake and complete a considerable library stint; a day’s session with which, once all the time spent people-watching and endlessly procrastinating is detracted, it can be said that at least some degree of productivity has occurred.

A key component to overcome the trepidation of falling victim to the soul-consuming establishment, is to bypass the initial, heavily frequent and almost philosophical thoughts of ‘why am I even in here?’  It is just as easy to see your carefully planned routine of spending X amount of hours within the library, fall to pieces at the drop of an unexpected suggestion of less educationally beneficial yet much more socially appealing plans.

Under the survival guide however, this comes heavily underlined in red as a big ‘no’. Dedication breeds performance and performance breeds results… or something along those lines… supposedly. Reap what you sew, and all that. Nevertheless, this is all too easy to be told by somebody who doesn’t have to endure a highly congested pedagogical metropolis, teaming with students equally as stressed and unwilling to be there as each other.

So, what are the suggestions available to make this whole process as manageable and as pain free as possible? Often, it is at the full discretion and initiative of the individual. That, combined with how much one can take before happily playing the ‘at least I tried’ card and swiftly exiting, whilst maintaining that ‘tomorrow will be productive, I swear’.

Coming from somebody who seems to find YouTube videos all the more interesting whilst supposedly using the library’s facilities to get ahead of work, or trawling Twitter to unnecessary lengths beyond the realms of all imagination, it is a fair assertion to say that the advice given here is not best placed with exemplary evidence of success.

Nevertheless, regardless of who you are and how you work, timing your arrival to the library is paramount.  In most cases, set your sights on either going early or going late – make a selection and stick with it. Those that find themselves planning a day of library revision and subsequently hit the midday rush due to unhealthy timing essentially may as well have stayed at home.

Third term is notoriously worse than all others in terms of library congestion. As a result of this, going early affords you the now-royalty of being able to actually choose a location to sit. No such privilege will be on offer to the lunch time dwellers, with endless circuits of the library in search of a suitable desk. As for those who arrive at this midday hour expecting available plug sockets for laptops and other devices, the saying ‘you’ve got more chance of finding a one-ended stick’ comes to mind.

In contrast, going later at night offers the nocturnals amongst us the option to not only make at least some shred of academic progression in a relatively freed-up library, but also removes the main mood-killer of the ever appealing sunshine which reigns throughout the day – the main culprit for making students leave as a result of not only offering better things to do with your time, but primarily due to upping the temperature to resemble that of an award-winning greenhouse.

Whichever way you choose to approach your imminent library sentence during this final term, it’s not going to be pleasant, but at least it can be manageable. Keeping Facebook, people-watching and observing the flight of the renowned library-bird to a minimum, hit the energy drinks and you’ll be fine. It’ll all be worth it come summer.

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