One thing I've noticed here in the United States is that students take everything they own with them, everywhere. As the constantly shocked, always observant foreigner I am, I did some thorough research of this phenomenon at the magical place that is… the library.
You would expect people to simply read or study at the library, but there's just so much more.
First of all, couches. Well, more like armchairs, but still. In my University back in Spain there are no comfy spots to study, just plain, sad, grey chairs that make you want to leave the library as soon as you enter it. But here libraries are basically big, spacious living rooms with many different seating options.
It's one of those things you don't know you need until you have them in your life.
The libraries are so welcoming and cozy that students make a home out of them. I've already discussed the comfy, athletic clothing, so that's a given.
But they also bring food. Not just gum or snacks, but burgers, sandwiches, fries… you name it. Seriously, people will take out their lunch (or dinner) and eat it right there among all their books and papers. The result is a smells-and-crunching combo. Not distracting at all.
My favorite people at libraries here are the sleepers. Cute human sloths that are so overwhelmed by homework that they decide to give up on life and sleep their stress away. And I love this.
I also love that this is socially acceptable. I've noticed, however, that people sleep anywhere here; it's like a live performance of the college-student essence. In Polk Place's grass, on outdoor benches, indoor benches, dining halls, the floor, anywhere. And they say siestas are Spanish…
Another thing I've noticed is that here people talk in the library. If they have anything to say they say it out loud, and nobody cares. Also, why silence their phones? Nah, pointless, they want everyone in the room to listen to their Katy Perry ringtone (nothing against Katy Perry, just obnoxious ringtones).
Despite all of this, I oddly enjoy going to the library here. All the distractions help me concentrate better.
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