Going to the library seems like such a simple task to most people. Just walk in, pick a random book from any shelf, plop down into the nearest armchair, and read to your heart’s content. Easy, right?
If you’re anything like me (my condolences, by the way), then you’ll know that going to the library is no easy task, especially if it’s the UTM library; you need to create a simple two-step battle plan. Here’s mine.
The first step is the easiest. Figure out why you need to go, how important it is, and how long you’re going to be there. The UTM library has 4 levels; each with its own specific group of people.
BASEMENT (Duration: 4 hours max): If you’re there for casual studying, the basement is your scene. Nice big windows for natural light, multiple vantage points and exits (for when you spot a ‘friend’ and need to make a quick getaway), and a relatively quiet atmosphere. Basements are your friends for most library scenarios. And if the 2nd floor is full, the basement’s silent study zone is a great place to get some serious studying done.
MAIN FLOOR (Duration 30 minutes max): If you’re there to just sit back and observe the world (read: relax), the main floor would be your go-to floor. The main floor has comfy couches, lots of computers, numerous windows, and is always full of people. Unfortunately, with large groups of people come a plethora of smells and a cacophony of voices. It’s best to avoid staying on this level for long periods of time.
SECOND FLOOR (Duration 8 hours max): For quiet/individual studying, the 2nd floor is your best friend. People mistakenly believe that the top floor is the best one, but that’s a rookie mistake. You’re no noob. You know better than that. The silent study zone on the 2nd floor is hardly ever empty, but the people who venture there actually abide by the rule of silence. And this makes the 2nd floor perfect.
THIRD FLOOR (Duration: 3 minutes max): The top floor is your last resort. ‘Tis a most dark and shadowy place, my friend, for it is home to the stereotypes. Everywhere you turn, you will be greeted by stereotypes.
Groups of guys slapping and fist-bumping each other while laughing at a crude joke none of them gets. Cliques of girls giggling together and whispering so vehemently you’d think there’s a serious gas leak. Random gamers spread out across the rows of desks, tirelessly tapping away at their keyboards while loudly munching their Doritos or slurping at some putrid fizzy drink.
The confused little first years who are not sure how or why they’re there but are too scared to ask how to leave and just stand there having panic attacks. The sick people coughing, sniffing, and snorting so much you have to look back every few minutes to make sure Charlie Sheen’s not having a party behind you.
Take my word for it, the 3rd floor is not a happy place for the introverted.
The second step is a bit trickier. You need to figure out how best to get to your destination. Remember, timing is everything. If it’s an integer time (1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm etc.) then you’re in trouble. That’s when lectures end/begin so there will be a whole lot of movement happening.
Firstly, you’ll need to pass the perpetually sleep-deprived crowd in front of Starbucks. Unfortunately, they often mill about the hallway, blocking the only entrance to the library so there’s no way you’ll be able to avoid them completely. The best thing to do is find a crowd-parter (a person who parts the crowd in a way similar to that of a snow plough) and follow him/her till you’re close enough to the library entrance to slip in without being noticed by the caffeine addicts.
Once you’re in, you need to establish the gravity of the situation. How busy is it? If it’s empty (it never is), take whichever route you prefer. If it’s incredibly busy, there are two possible scenarios. The main floor is obviously out of the question. If you need to go to the basement, take the lower staircase on your right.
Rule #78: NEVER take the elevator
Elevators are always going to be full of people because people are lazy. Use that to your advantage. Take stairs instead. Escalators or elevators are your last resort.
Also, never take the staircase on the far end of the room. The upper staircase on your right is your friend. In the unlikely scenario that it’s blocked, take the smart route, even if it is longer. Head down the lower stairs on your right to the basement. Now walk across the basement all the way to the other staircase. You can use these stairs to go to the 2nd or 3rd (not that you’d go there) floor.
Remember, the basement is your safe place. It’s usually empty and has multiple exits. From there, all you need to do is choose where to sit.
And that’s all there is to it. My 2-step plan can save you a world of trouble. So what about you? Do you have any procedures or rituals when you go to the library?
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