It’s finals season. I’ve been sitting on the same spot of the library for about 3 hours as the clock hits 10 PM. From the second floor, I’m facing that huge hole in the floor which allows me to look simultaneously at people on the two stories of the building. I start observing their behavior wondering if they, like me, act in the library as if somebody is always watching their every move.
‘I am Patyt Reyes, a disoriented soul who went to engineering school and practiced it for 3 years only to realize I actually wanted to be a philosopher. I travelled all the way from Mexico to Enschede to study how to be one and quickly became incapable of keeping my thoughts and opinions to myself. I invite you to read my column on the perks and cons of the modern student life, adaptation, and finding oneself through everyday experiences. You can also follow me on Twitter (@blackholeness).’
Excluding the night owls that stay until the library closes, most people have already left. There are still some meeting rooms occupied. I see two of them through the glass walls. In the left, a group of four girls have their backpacks, sweaters, textbooks and scribbles all over the table. One of them is talking, the rest watch her. In another room, five guys are, despite having their computers in front of them, watching a football match on the TV screen while drinking beers. I should try that kind of studying.
I’m now looking at people in the common areas, spread throughout the desks. Some people rest their heads on one or both arms, some lean their backs and cross their arms to get a rest from looking at their books or computer screens from close.
You can tell right away who are the people checking Facebook for memes because they occasionally smile. One guy has gone full-blown break-time watching Rick and Morty on his laptop.
Why do we decide to come and study in the library? We’re entirely exposed to weirdos observing us and writing about us. Plus, some people (like me) are very rude and start whispering an entire in-depth conversation with acquaintances who occasionally pass by. All as if we couldn’t hear them. Newsflash: everyone can hear you! Some people crack out laughing inside the meeting rooms like the walls were made of sound-proof concrete, it gets very cold at night, and the carpet color, shining red, is completely insane.
Why do we stay here? Everyone looks a bit miserable, there’s a contagious environment of stress and nervousness, we know none of us has had a proper sleep in who knows how many nights and we’ve been eating whatever first thing crosses our way.
And yet, here we are, one more night, by ourselves, all together.
Library is the place I come to be miserable. But it’s a misery I enjoy, it reminds me I’m a student. And I take pride in being one, for some unreflected reason. It also reminds me I’m not the only one who sits in front of her computer for endless hours a day to cram information inside her head. It gives me a sense of community. A nervous, sleep deprived, junk-food fueled community.