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Why is it so hard to find a good spot to read?

My current school schedule has me on campus all day Monday and Wednesday, with three long breaks.   Two are for one hour, and the last one is two and a half hours long. So ever since the first day of classes, I have been on a quest to find a nice place on campus to read.

Since I live in California, the weather is usually gorgeous, and I try to read outside when I can. The main quad of the campus and the cafeteria are off-limits because they are just far too noisy. There are benches scattered all over the school, but during peak hours (10 am – 3 pm) it’s nearly impossible to find any empty one to sit on. I guess I could share a bench with someone – they’re pretty wide - but I always think it would be awkward, like I’m intruding on *their* private space.

The library would seem to be the obvious solution. But my college library was planned to minimize student time inside it, I think, because the chairs are horribly uncomfortable and the temperature is slightly warmer than chilly. It’s that disagreeable feeling that makes you pull on a sweater, and then ten minutes you’re too warm so you take it off, and ten minutes later you’re cold so you put it on again. It’s a thoroughly unpleasant place to spend an extended period of time.

Lately I’ve just been going back to my car. There’s a comfort in the privacy of my own little cubicle, isolated from the rest of the campus. But a Honda Civic is small and cramped, and staying hunched in the back seat makes me feel like a fetus all balled up inside Mommy. I want to stretch, and there’s literally nowhere for my arms and legs to go. I end up getting out of the car and walking off cramps anyway.

The other spot I like, but can never seem to snag, is down in the main campus center. There is an overhanging walkway where students eat and hang out, and underneath is a quiet little ledge that you can sit on. The noise from everyone else doesn’t seem to sink down to this ledge, so you can read quite peacefully. The last few weeks, though, there’s someone else occupying it whenever I walk by.

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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
ms_geekette
Oct. 17th, 2009 09:05 pm (UTC)
While I was in college, sometimes I hung out in empty classrooms when I needed a quiet place to study. Of course if your school doesn't have many extra classrooms that wouldn't really work, I guess.
fashion_piranha
Oct. 17th, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC)
The school is pretty impacted, so I doubt there's a lot of extra rooms, but the biggest issue is security. They don't allow students into rooms without teachers, for fear we'll go around wrecking stuff, and few teachers want to stick around in an empty classroom for no reason!
ms_geekette
Oct. 17th, 2009 09:46 pm (UTC)
I guess at my university they didn't care too much, since usually the most you could steal from a classroom was a bulky desk. ;-)

katemacetak
Oct. 17th, 2009 11:10 pm (UTC)
I live on a really small campus, but there's actually a lot of nice reading spots. My dorm building actually has a veranda/balcony thing, so I go out there to read in the summer. One of the academic buildings has a wraparound porch with chairs and no one cares if you sit there to read. There's also a really nice lounge in the main academic building, with the comfiest couches ever. It's usually quiet when class is in session. Plus the library is a satisfactory reading spot.

But enough about my campus! Have you been in all the academic buildings? Maybe you could find a nice lounge in one of them. You could also try looking for a little sub library somewhere. My campus has a "Women's Resource" library, which is basically just a room with couches and books. It's usually really quiet and empty in there.
neon_spades
Oct. 19th, 2009 02:05 pm (UTC)
aren't there any green areas on the campus? you could just take a cover with you and sit down on the grass - no?
neon_spades
Oct. 19th, 2009 02:06 pm (UTC)
oh and I myself used to look for an empty staircase in school to sit down and read, wasn't very comfortable. Nowadays I hardly read in school because I spend most time with my friends but if I do, I just do it in the half-crowded classroom (which stays open during the break), I'm not that bothered by the buzz around me.
fashion_piranha
Oct. 19th, 2009 02:46 pm (UTC)
There are some grass areas, but you have to compete with the frisbee-throwers for them.
neon_spades
Oct. 21st, 2009 06:08 pm (UTC)
Guess you'll just have to win the competition, snatch the frisbee and the grass area will be all yours, quiet and peaceful :D
ext_117086
Oct. 22nd, 2009 03:02 am (UTC)
I wish I had a nice solution for you. (Hmm--what about your car? My cars have usually been a good place to read.

When I was an undergrad, the newest building on campus had several student lounge areas planned into its abstract corners. The couches were just comfortable enough that spending an hour sitting there in the sun (they were windowed areas, mostly) was pretty enjoyable, even if you were studying. It was one of my favorite buildings...

We didn't have places like that in my grad school though--unless the on-campus Starbucks counts. I had a desk in the dept GA office, but I spent a lot of time at home between classes; I felt fortunate to live just off-campus. An easy 15-minute stroll in nice weather.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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