Everything that happens when you cram 12 hours at the library

Get ready for the long haul…

There will be a time in your university career when you suddenly remember that really important piece of coursework you have due the next morning. And you haven’t even started it. When this happens, there’s obviously nothing left to do but to have a 12 hour stint in the library, of course. During these stressful, drawn out series of hours get ready to see, hear and smell the weird and the wonderful whilst frantically trying to finish your work.

Other people’s stinky food

Perhaps one of the banes of anyone’s experience in the library is other people’s stinky food. Look – you may like tuna pasta bake, dear library neighbour, but I can guarantee no one else on this floor is enjoying the smell arising from your tupperware as it wafts between the bookshelves and distracts every person it crosses.

Inevitable trips to the shop

By the time you’ve been in the library for a few hours, the snacks you brought from home have been depleted and you naturally near starvation. You’ve got to get food, so you head towards the shop. The ultimate dilemma, however, is whether you stick to healthy brain-powering snacks or just give in and gorge on crisps, energy drinks and sweets from the pick ‘n’ mix stand. Don’t worry, no matter the time of year you will never be the only one queuing up at 2am. Whether it’s fellow sunken-faced library fiends or freshers popping out for a late night carton of Ben and Jerry’s, there’s always company in the hatch’s queue.

 Library walks

Eventually you’ll need to stretch your legs, and a wander around the library can be surprisingly entertaining. Plus with all those stairs who needs leg day? A change of scenery can be nice, sitting at the same desk for 12 hours is probably not healthy. It also means you get the opportunity to spy on others on each floor to see what the general vibes are like in each section.


So. Many. Stairs.

People sleeping

This one is fairly self explanatory. You will see a lot of this, especially on your self-guided tour in an attempt to stifle your boredom. Extra marks if you manage to get a pic for the ‘Spotted: UEA’ Facebook page.

Students doing an L

The library toilets and individual study rooms have become somewhat infamous for students meeting for, ahem, something more than coursework. You’ll probably see this, or hear it, some point between 12:30am and 3am with the guilty party coming out with that signature messy hair.


The individual study rooms make for an intimate setting to do your business.

Existential crisis’

By this point it’s only you and a few others. The last people standing; sleep deprivation and stress have fully kicked in. The combination of the pair creates a sort of existential crisis, making you ask questions such as ‘why am I doing this to myself?’, ‘I only need 40%, why bother?’, ‘are we actually living in a simulation?’ and ‘whats the answer to life, the universe and everything?’.

This sort of progression occurs around 4am to 5am. You and your fellow students are probably in full panic mode – wild-eyed, dark bags under your eyes, pale skin and crazy hair – frantically typing, writing and reading your work.

Oh dear

Oh dear

Acts of kindness

Throughout the night, though, you will see the kind of small acts of kindness that restore your faith in humanity and help you wade through the exhaustion – simple things like people letting other borrow phone or laptop chargers, friends bringing warm drinks or neighbours offering to take your water bottle down to the cooler on floor 0 for you.

Sunrise and sunset

You’ll probably get to see both – surprisingly the top floor of the library provides superb views of the campus in most directions. So definitely make use of them for those Instagram likes.


Views from the 3