Bobst is THE most overrated study spot on campus

We have the receipts

With midterms approaching and homework beginning to pile up, winter break reverie and all its cinnamon hues are slowly fading away. But finding a fitting study-spot may be a harder task than one might have anticipated. Despite this being a somewhat unpopular view, I find the straightforward locations unnecessarily raise our expectations.

Bobst library in particular is the go-to study nest most students race to the moment examination shadows are cast. But in my case, it has proved to be of little use when it comes to the complex craft that is focusing and studying. The premises being that of a quiet space, distraction-free and admonished with infinite book/media supply, the library in question does not let down on that front.

However, when individually dissecting these features in further depth, Bobst comes up short. When silence reigns supreme, imposed and carried through by the disguised tyrants of student's expectations, its overbearingness can be difficult to handle. Angst, tension, and lack-of-sleep-induced red eyes crowd the compartmentalized sections and halls of the grand bâtiment. At times, the silence is so evidently present that it transforms into an unnatural, louder noise than sound itself.

Students have said that working in the library makes them anxious and find its design particularly intimidating. A fellow freshman and friend of mine echoed this sentiment: "Bobst!" she said, followed by "I cannot study there. Everyone is always so serious, anxious. And haven't you heard of the suicides? That's why they have such large barriers now, so you can't jump off." Difficult to forget such trivia, I had heard about the incidents back in September; some things are rather difficult to erase from one's mind.

I feel better about myself when studying in a place of leisure in which the average student body takes breaks, rather than feeling the pressure to adhere to the severe study pattern of silence and absolute focus imposed by the ambience. In fact, just last week, upon attempting to get a head start on my Writing class paper, I encountered what felt like myriads of obstacles from the minute I stepped into Bobst.

Starting from accusatory glances screaming “why are your boots so loud?” to the issue of finding a free spot in the building amidst the overflowing students, when I finally succeeded and settled in a corner I could not shake that feeling of not living up to the expected level of productivity everyone else appeared to share. After an hour of this tension, I concluded this sort of masochism would only translate in a counterproductive strategy when it came to progressing with my essay.

But there are alternatives to this self-imposed psychological torture. I would suggest small cafes located on campus. Spread out across the Washington park area, coffee/tea shops like Starbucks, Argo Tea, or Pete’s coffee offer commodities such as dining dollar use and a relaxed atmosphere, most often playing soft, familiar tunes in the background.

These cute coffee shops or tea hangouts seem to be the best solution; no expectations, just studying on my own time with unlimited coffee supply at hand, and bountiful people watching.

And then there's the ultimate New York study spot: the Public Library. Filled with students, tourists, researchers, and bookworms, this library is a buzzing yet respectful space adorned in Hollywood cliché green desk lamps and romantic stashes of books to get lost in. If that were not enough of a push factor, pause and consider its grand architecture: history-infused columns and arches, roofs elaborately painted with Renaissance frescoes and antique wooden carvings aligned along the walls. Sounds much better than Bobst right?