Well it’s that time of the year again. The weather is slowly picking up, assignments are nearly all done and dusted and the library turns into a Class A war-zone. Yes ladies and gentlemen, its exam time. The time of the year when everyone from the engineers to the art historians go totally insane. The RDS becomes a breeding ground for stress and anxiety attacks and the only thing that gets us through the long exam filled days is ‘the guy who makes the announcements before the UCD exams’ (who I did not believe was real until my first Christmas exam last December!).
Sadly our wonderful libraries do not allow much relief from this dire situation. The UCD libraries are only to be braved by the fearless and foolish during exam period. It’s every student for themselves. All etiquette and manners are thrown out the window. You can take out all the necessary books without guilt (even though you’ve thrown half your classmates overboard) and if you leave your seat with your belongings for more than half an hour, prepare for glares of death when you return.
The library is not for everyone during the exams. I’m more of a study at home girl myself ,as I find it incredibly hard not to be distracted by the hordes of stressed out individuals around me (to the guy who wouldn’t stop twitching his leg and moving the desk last week, be grateful I didn’t throw something at you). But I understand not everyone has the luxury of a relatively free home during study week. Annoyingly loud room-mates and even worse annoyingly helpful family (you know, when your Dad comes in every five minutes asking if you want another cup of tea) can make focusing on study an extremely difficult endeavour. The library is your last chance at success.
If you decide to venture into the library to study there, you must remember that there are very specific times that you may have a hope of getting a seat (and even more rarely a plug):
If you get there before 7AM: You are one of three people
- You are well disciplined and prepared to work hard for exams. You’ve worked consistently all year and have a normal enough sleeping pattern. Congrats you’ll probably do really well in you exams (and adult life in general)
- You’re desperate. You’ve done nothing this semester and can’t afford repeats or a semester X. You think you’ll be able to cram a semester’s work including 2 assignments into a week. God be with you.
- You are possibly intoxicated from the night before and have nowhere else to go and think studying is a great idea right now (please don’t be that guy).
If you get there at this time you have the highest chance of successfully finding a suitable study space, with electrical support. Be kind to your fellow students and vacate said area when your brain has fried and you can’t remember how to read anymore. It’s only fair.
If you get there before 9AM: You may get a seat but don’t even think you’ll get a plug. Hope is for fools. Prepare to spend ages staring at the plugs in the ‘Electronic Device Free Zone’ of the James Joyce and contemplate sneakily pugging your laptop in. Don’t. You will be caught.
If you get there before 10AM: Go home, don’t bother. You will spend hours walking around until you eventually give up and spend 2+ hours doing nothing in the Arts Block Café, drinking coffee and eating the muffin of the month (in fairness it is always super delicious!). You’re better off staying at home, finding a quiet space and hiding your phone. Remember to download a website blocker too, Facebook is the devil!
Now the library is open ‘til midnight until the exams are finished and usually most of us mere mortals give up around the 4PM mark, so if you’re prepared to flip your sleeping schedule to the ‘student summertime clock’ a little bit earlier than the 21st May, this could be to your advantage. However don’t fear if you can’t access the library in person. So much of the material you need to access is available online and you can request your books at home, to save you a fruitless quest to the reception desk. Also remember to renew the set texts you’ve stolen. And return your shorts loans. Don’t want to end up with a 30 euro fine like I did back in January that I only managed to pay off last week.
And please remember that everyone is in the same boat this week. Don’t start a conversation in the middle of reference section just because you think no one will here you (they will). Don’t eat; if you must, be quiet; nature valley bar wrappers are really, really loud*. And if you start crying, try and cry in the bathroom, nothing is worse when you’re trying to revise and the noise of a thousand sobs is deafening you in one ear. The library staff are there to help with as many requests as they can. Trust me they’ve been doing this for years, they can handle even the most stressed out Med student there is.
Most importantly I wish everyone the best of luck in their exams and work over the next few weeks. May it constantly lash rain so we don’t feel awful for having to stay inside and study, and may the 8AM traffic to the RDS hopefully move at a constant rate so we all get there on time. Now I must bid you farewell. I have 4 months of reading to do in six days. ‘Don’t worry its Arts. It’ll be grand’ they said. Trust me it isn’t!
UCD Student Digital Ambassador
*DISCLAIMER: Do not eat in the library. I am not condoning eating in the library. Don’t send the library police after me. Please.