The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Wednesday October 20th

Finding Places To Study Hard Not That Easy

Even if people just want to spend the evening hanging out with friends, they seem to think that the very best place to form these emotional bonds is at Davis Library. They come with their cell phones, bags of candy and smuggled-in Lenoir take-out boxes and camp out for hours in the very best spots in Davis -- the tables, the study rooms, and the couches on the eighth floor overlooking the Ruffin/Mangum quad.

Getting up early won't guarantee you anything. These people are tough. They don't mind sleeping on wooden chairs, and since they come in packs, they can take turns guarding their spot.

Meal times mean nothing to them, and the suggestion that they go home early to get some rest will just make these folks laugh. You will not outlast them by staying into the wee hours of morning or avoid them by coming at a different time the next day.

However, do not fear, you can beat these people and find a quiet place to study.

First of all, they may have the ability to sit in one spot for hours at a time, but they have not yet found many spots outside of Davis. Sure they go to other libraries, coffee shops, dining halls, dorm rooms, rooms in the Student Union.

But, do they think about empty classrooms or the practice rooms in the music building? No!

At 10:30 p.m. on a Tuesday, Davis will be packed, even more so the closer we get to exams, but Hamilton and Bingham and Davie ... wide open. The very best room in Greenlaw, the Gaskin Library on the fifth floor -- all yours baby!

Of course, some people will feel a little reclusive sitting by themselves in empty classroom buildings, especially if they don't ever get around to studying.

In these cases, the next best option is to create a reason for these people to leave Davis or at least to move to another floor.

Promises of free food usually work. The best way to make that believable is to say your residence area has free food in its lounge and that you've just eaten but want someone to take advantage of the amazing catering. When you give them your marlock key to get into the dorm, they'll not only believe you but will pack up their bags within five minutes.

Once they figure out that you've simply used your sharp mind to lure them away from their prime location in Davis, they will probably become enraged, berate themselves for the stupidity, and then throw away your key. It will cost you $45 to replace the key, but you will get to keep the lovely library location for the night.

Another possibility is to select one member of the group and ask him or her to check your head for lice.

Say that you heard something about all of the furniture on the floor being infested and that you really have been itching but were too busy studying to worry about it sooner.

You can also mention that you've seen a group of campus celebrities on another floor studying together.

Of course, you have to say it in an offhand manner.

For instance, "Hey, do you know the name of that women's soccer player who just scored the winning goal last weekend? Practically the whole team's on the fourth floor, and I can't remember their names."

Some people, of course, will not surrender seats for the hope of seeing athletes. Others will send a representative to confirm the situation before they move.

If you cannot get the party in question to leave, you have only two more options. First, you can simply abandon your hopes of finding the perfect studying spot. There's always the SRC, or you can always just sleep for the next few weeks.

Second, you can form your very own Davis table-claiming group. The second option, though worthwhile, requires resilience. If you choose the second course of action, remember to plan ahead, stock up on provisions, and watch out for people who will attempt to trick you into leaving your hard-earned spot.

Good luck.

Marian Crotty can be reached at

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