If you’re at the point in the semester where the study carrels cause claustrophobia, the open tables tempt you to torture anyone turning a page of a large theology tome, or the comfortable couches create comatose conditions – why not try a study room? Many students already know about the three conference rooms, aka study rooms, found on the first floor of the library near the Biblical Reference section. If not, though, may I, as a friendly student assistant, present an alternative to your usual homework habitation.  They’re in the back of the library, so they’re secluded/ But with finals week upon us, it’s easy to unintentionally forget common etiquette that we should use in any public place.
Below are some common calamities that I have seen occurring while people are using study rooms. While studying, please use this handy list to avoid making these same common pitfalls that cause conference room catastrophe! 
1. Talk in Thunderous Tones. It’s easy to think that because the study room has a door and offers privacy that the rest of the library can’t hear you. Sadly, the study room is not a vortex. Laughter, jokes, and loud study groups can all be heard outside the walls, and often distracts others. Imagine how frightening it is to be looking through commentaries on Revelation in the Biblical Reference section and suddenly hear laughter…disembodied laughter. Spare others the terror, please!
2. Chew on Chow.Covered drinks are fine – we provide complimentary hot drinks during finals week, after all. But don’t forget the library’s no-food policy! It’s tempting to want to eat in a study room because it’s so convenient and you’re already camped out, but please don’t. You will be spared the guilt of eating in a place that requests you not to bring food, and the indigestion of having to eat your Wawa hoagie quickly before a librarian walks by and notices. Please take the few steps to the back stairwell or up to the lobby, instead, to enjoy your meal in guilt-free peace. Trust me, your digestive system will thank you.
3. Steal a Siesta. One of the best parts about study rooms is how non-judgmental they are. They are available on a first-come, first-serve basis that is incredibly egalitarian – whether you are one student or a group. And like the comfortable couch on the mezzanine level, the study rooms have a sort of soporific effect on some students. This is especially true during finals week, where we stay open an extra hour from Sunday-Tuesday night. I encourage you strongly to resist these urges to sleep away when studying gets boring! If you’re exhausted, there’s nothing wrong with closing your eyes a little. But prolonged naps might not just have other students wanting to take over the study room – they might accidentally get you locked into a study room for the night (yes, that almost happened once)…or maybe just have a picture of you sleeping in the library end up on FaceBook.
4. Disremember Your Key’s Deadline. Don’t forget that the rooms are reserved for only two hours at a time (although groups can reserve them in advance through contacting Laura Saloiye). Be conscientious – you can renew your key one time, but if it’s a busy night, chances are that there are other groups waiting to study. When you’re in the middle of a project that’s worth 35% of your final grade, it’s so easy to forget that others also need the rooms… and to forget when your key is due, resulting in several unnecessary fines accrued on accounts. The study rooms are there for your needs, so take advantage of them. But don’t forget to remember the needs of others while at it. And don’t forget the whereabouts of the little key that lets you into the room to begin with!
5. Sit in Silence and Shadows While Snickering at Your Shenanigans. Yes, this has also happened before…in the dark…while another student worker and I were closing the library, initially thinking that there was no one left in the study rooms. I don’t think that I really need to talk about this one too much, but in a nutshell, I propose that this might not be the best method of handling the tension and stress of finals.
Study rooms are a great tool to help you be successful on your finals or studying throughout the year. Finals week is always crazy, but avoiding these oh-so-tempting pitfalls will help you make your study room experience during finals more productive, enjoyable, and successful. Happy studying!
~Katrina Weston
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