| Lisa Waldera

Lisa Waldera (25) is a master’s student Communication Studies from Bremen, Germany. For three years now, she’s been living on campus. Next to her study, she regularly visits the cinema and enjoys concerts of all music genres. Every other week she writes about her life at the University of Twente.

Photo by: Annabel Jeuring

I am sitting in a small dark room at the UT library. There is barely any light from the window above me. I am starring at the laptop screen in front of me. Copying the links I have just received via a Zoom chat into another document. To my right, there is a pillar with encouraging texts written on it. I read ‘you can do it’ and ‘focus now’. But also less motivating comments like ‘it’s never too late… to travel the world’.

I decide to pack my belongings and leave this room. I feel even more isolated here than I feel at my own desk in my apartment. A single person room at the library might be great for videocalls, but not for spending the entire day. Still, I was lucky to even find an open one this morning. I guess it depends on the level of noise and crowdedness at home if you prefer to sit in a closed room or open study area. Besides feeling isolated, I also miss the social pressure of the hard-working and concentrated students around me.

I head upstairs to find another table to study. While it is impossible to find seats on Mondays and Tuesdays, the library is almost empty on Fridays. The motivation declines during the week. I sit down in one of those purple seating corners.  When I look to the side, I notice a sign ‘Wash your hands in the toilet or disinfect here’. Hopefully, most people do both and do not come all the way into the library before actually cleaning their hands. However, it is still better to do it here than not do it at all.

During my Bachelor thesis, it has helped me a lot to come to the library at set times and establish a study routine. I am hoping for the same effect for my Master thesis now.  The only annoyance is the seat reservation system. Having to book before going feels like an extra obstacle to overcome when channeling the last bit of motivation. But I understand that the library cannot become too crowded. So, I accept this inconvenience for now. And it also has its advantages. Whenever I book a time slot and I doubt if I should go, I now feel guilty towards the people who would have to miss out on a spot that day. Also, I really appreciate the additional personal space I have at the moment. I can spread out my belongings without bothering anyone.

And while I appreciate the extra space, I would always prefer to at least see and hear people around me. Sitting in one of those small rooms downstairs in the library only motivated me to read the texts written on the pillar, instead of writing my thesis. But before diving deep into the material today, I am going to stop at the coffee corner for a recharge.