PSA: Kindly stop hating on first years in the library
We pay nine grand a year, too
You’re in second or final year and have come to see the library as your god-given right, along with your new found obligation to be a stressed out, arrogant prick at all times due to having work that ‘actually counts’. We get it, you’re doing a degree and it gets harder as time goes on, duh.
First years are therefore an easy scape-goat for your stress, your self-loathing and your inability to get a first. It’s true, our naive enthusiasm combined with our lack of such a substantial workload must be annoying. But I ask you to stretch your full, busy minds back to to when you were a mere fresher, learning the difference between citing an article as opposed to a book, or attempting to grasp whether it’s a summative or a formative that ‘counts’. You’ve been there, we’ve all been there.
What you holier-than-thou second and third years may forget, is that everyone has a right to feel anxious and stressed at university. Indeed, I think we pretty much all do and in first year this is likely to be felt more acutely than ever. True, this stress may not be directly related to our workload, it might be to do with the weirdness of living in a new place, remember how many times you got lost in your first months at uni? Me too. Or it might be to do with the overwhelming effort involved in trying to go out and be sociable whilst not burying yourself in your overdraft. Or trying not to get fat with the new-found freedom of shopping and the knowledge that ten packets of Aldi Hula Hoops costs less than a pound. The list for potential generators of stress goes on and on, and the culmination of all these pressures might make one begin to question whether uni is in fact worth the crippling debt and uncontrolled crisp-consumption after all.
Is there any harm therefore, in wanting to do well? Being a student is tricky enough without the demoralising sense of disappointment that scoring poorly on essays will bring. At the risk of sounding like a dweeb, even if your university does not technically deem the first year a credible part of your degree, there’s surely some value in completing something to the best of you ability and some value in the knowledge you’ve acquired. After all, isn’t this why we’ve chosen to be here in the first place? The library therefore is a stepping-stone to help all us confused first years achieve this sense of belonging…
Plus, there is a reason so many courses (not ALL, might I add), don’t count in the first year. That is because we are acquiring the skills that we’ll need in order to someday be an arrogant and stressed out second and third year; juggling the burden of completing a degree with that of hating on others in the library. In the meantime, we’re not quite there yet, and might need some time dwelling in the library to read some books and write some essays, which we are all equally entitled to (cough, nine grand a year).
Perhaps we are a little bit too loud in the group study area. Or perhaps we munch on our SU meal deal a little too unapologetically – egg mayo sandwich in one hand and rustling crisp packet in the other. Don’t pretend, however, that you’ve never snacked on some ostentatiously noisy food in the library, or lifted your voice above a whisper in the silent study spaces. The fact is, this happens across the board, first, second and third years alike commit these crimes and it’s time everyone got off their high horses and comes to accept that this is just part of life.
Besides, let’s not lie, there are spaces in the library if you really want them that bad. If you can be bothered to climb the stairs and have a look around, there are spaces in the library. If you can be bothered to get up early enough, there are spaces in the library. You could even view the long climb to the top floor as part of a therapeutic pre-study work-out, if you really are such an arrogant prick after all.
The bottom line is, it is everyones' own choice to get themselves into such a state of panic that the library is rendered their permanent home during exam and summative season. In the mean time, kindly stop blaming first years for attempting to do a bit of work, when truthfully, the problem lies more deeply in the inability of so many to get organised, get to the library on time, and get blessed with a seat, or possibly even a computer.