Tab Tries: Navigating the UL

Just because the UL looks like a glorified dick doesn’t mean it has to act like one

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Are you looking for a great way to procrastinate that enables you to fool yourself into believing you’re doing work? Look no further than the circles of hell that constitute the UL (that rhymed, so it must be true).

If you are unfamiliar with the UL, you are either a scientist or you are yet to suffer an essay crisis that leads you to its overbearing gates. Picture the scene: you’re one day away from an essay deadline, and you suddenly realise you need one essential book to finish your work – but shock horror, it’s not in the college library or in the faculty or on Google Books.

You may at this point be tempted to throw yourself from the top of the UL tower, but have no fear: the UL can offer you support in another way (albeit it an excruciating one). That’s right, it’s time to be condemned to what feels like eternal torture, by attempting to navigate its diabolical labyrinth of bookshelves.

Even before you’re properly in the building, the UL’s fiendish nature is evident: if you have a bag bigger than one millimeter in diameter, you can forget about taking it in with you. Instead, you need to descend into its ungodly bowels and try to find a locker large enough to accommodate every possession you’re carrying.
Little shoutout here: if you are one of the people who steals the large lockers at 9.00am which you then don’t empty them until 7.15pm: we all hate you.

Not acceptable

Once you’ve managed to tear your coat by stuffing it into a minuscule locker, it’s time to scan your card and ascend the steps – but unlike Led Zeppelin, you’re certainly not on a stairway to Heaven.

You may go into the UL with a small objective: you only want to find a couple of books and you know exactly where they are – you just know you’ll be out in ten minutes.

You fool.

You will, in fact, only have two thoughts as you wander helplessly around the UL:
  1. Where the frickety frack am I?
  2. Why the frickety frack is there a garden in the middle of this Godforsaken building?

???? This isn’t Gardeners’ World

The corridors of the UL, like all lecturers in the history of ever, have a tendency to make you more confused than you were before you ever walked in. Within twenty seconds of arriving, I myself had forgotten the name of the book I was desperate to collect and had to make the walk of shame past the guy who had scanned my uni card (getting stuck twice in the revolving exit gate in the process) to retrieve the notebook I had written its name on from the locker room.

And then there’s the whole rigmarole of the Dewey Decimal System, which the UL has seemingly made even more complex, if that were possible. You’ve got the number you’re looking for; you think you’re in the right area of the library…but where’s the damn book?

I’m almost certain there are demons who deliberately hide the precise copy you need each time you visit – the battery on my bike light actually died in the time it took for me to find the one I was looking for.

This is the face of a man tired of your inability to navigate a library

This, combined with the reading room that’s probably not unfamiliar to Beelzebub; and corridors that are so dark you’d think it was the middle of the night (let’s face it, it probably already is, considering the amount of time you’ve spent traipsing up four flights of staircases and then back down again, because you were supposed to go to the South WING, and not the South FRONT), make the whole UL experience ONE TO BE AVOIDED.

To top it all off, you’ll probably forget your locker code in the process, and be trapped in the UL forever.

But at least the cafe is darn good.