University of Edinburgh

All the reasons why studying in the library is completely overrated

Did you ever really want to leave your bed anyway?

University libraries are a strange concept, if you think about it – huge, looming, concrete labyrinths full of books nobody ever reads, with not enough windows and too much academic tension. If you had to describe the atmosphere of a library in a word, it would definitely be STRESS.

The libs gets a solid thumbs down from me

That's why it never fails to surprise me that so many students insist on trekking there daily, installing themselves at a depressing white table next to a plug that doesn't work, and resigning themselves to another day of procrastination and minimal fresh air. What's wrong with a humble café? Or working in your own bed, living room, or kitchen for that matter?

Here are all the reasons why you should re-think your devotion to the university library and take your laptop elsewhere.

It takes you an age to find a seat

Unless you're some kind of superhuman who willingly gets up at 7am every morning to get to the library before rush hour, going to the library always seems to involve an awkward stroll around the peripheries of at least two different floors, as the smug bastards who got here early scowl at you from behind their laptops as if your delicate footsteps are disturbing their precious study time. Your hopes will rise as you turn a corner and spot a desk without a head hovering over it – only to realise, as you get closer, that there is an A5 notepad and a crumpled crisp packet sitting in the middle of the desk.

This table is apparently occupied

It's eerily quiet

There's just something about the silence of the library that sends shivers through one's soul, don't you think? For the average annoying chatterbox, sitting in enforced silence is tantamount to torture. You can't crunch your revision snacks too loudly, you can't make exasperated comments about how your essay is going – and you definitely can't sing along to your study playlist. This tension only gets worse around exam time – who has the energy to constantly be worrying about whether you're breathing too loudly?

You can picture the tumbleweed

It's never the right temperature

Whoever controls the central heating in the library must have a very warped sense of hot and cold, as it literally never seems to be at a reasonable temperature. Oh, it's -3 outside and you're wearing some sensible thermals? Prepare to walk into the library and immediately start sweating as if you're on a beach in Dubai in mid-August. Strip down to a t-shirt, though, and someone will inevitably decide to open a window, sending an arctic gale blowing down aisle P-Q.

Don't bother wearing a jumper unless you want heatstroke

You are bound by too many social constraints

In the unlikely event that you felt too hot in your student flat, you could strip down to your underwear if you wanted. Unfortunately, this might not go down well in public. The same goes for removing shoes and socks, and adopting strange sitting positions. Studying in the library means you have to conform to a whole host of stifling social norms – and who has time for that?

Believe me this got some dirty looks

The toilets are usually grim

Library toilets are known for being sub-par – so much so that Edinburgh students once started a petition to replace the criminally scratchy bog roll in theirs. Rather than being able to use a well-maintained café loo, or the comfort of your very own porcelain throne, if you sit in the library all day you'll have to share the toilets with everyone else. Is that what you really deserve?

Dark, dingy and a bit gross

The Great Snack Issue

Do you ignore the "no eating" signs and come with a backpack full of biscuits and bananas? Do you risk getting up every few hours, bankrupting yourself by purchasing overpriced cookies from a nearby supermarket or café, and possibly returning to find someone has pushed your belongings onto the floor and sat down in your seat? Or do you just starve the entire day?

I can breathe freely now, surrounded by a large selection of snacks

After extensive research, I am happy to report I have solved the Great Snack Issue – just study in your own kitchen. You can even take your socks off if you want.