If you’re like me, the silence of a reading room in a library is terrifying and soul-diluting. You sit there without sound, yet still surrounded by many fellow human beings all of whom you know are capable of making noise. You struggle to read the next word of your textbook, but wait- was that a gust of wind blowing? No, it was merely that guy two tables over exhaling slightly louder than usual. Oh dear heavens, now you need to turn the page, but you’ll disturb EVERYONE in that room with the little waves of air caused by that single second of rotating a piece of paper 180 degrees. What to do? This is bad. You hear thumping sounds now- are you hallucinating? This place is suppose to be silent, and- oh gosh, that’s your own heartbeat. What if they can hear it?! Why are your thoughts suddenly yelling? Get out! Out before you disturb the peace! OH NO, PACKING YOUR THINGS UP IS CREATING DEAFENING DISTRACTIONS THROUGHOUT THE ROOM. No choice but to just sit there immobile until EVERYONE ELSE LEAVES.
So I never study in a silent zone. In fact, I also try to avoid the abyss of Robarts. Some people feel the dreary opaque walls that confine you inside and away from the sunlight helps them focus. But not I. I can’t handle such places of emptiness.
On occasion I will choose to study on campus regardless. Normally I’d invite a friend or two so as not to feel so lonely. But you can’t talk in libraries- so I’ve gone out of my way to find my top three study locations on campus where talking at an audible volume is totally okay.
E.J Pratt Lounge
I hesitated to mention this gem of a study spot because I’ve always considered it my special little under-rated hideaway. But no more. You can eat, talk, study, and more in the Pratt basement; there are even meeting rooms you can use without appointment. Bonus for the insanely comfy couches and chairs.
The Buttery, The Larkin Building
Good food (Pizza Pizza) and good drinks (Starbucks) in addition to tons of seating make this a great study area for prolonged cramming with friends. For more privacy, there is a separate seating area for reading and the occasional self-conscious nap.
The Two Study Areas in Sidney Smith
I didn’t even know how to get into these rooms until second year. But that’s just me. Now I find myself in Sid Smith studying more than anywhere else on campus. I always manage to find a place to sit, and there is always just the right amount of hustle and bustle to keep me studying without falling asleep to the lulls of strangers breathing.