I am a notorious nocturnal studier. I get all my work done during the void that exists between when Late Night closes and when breakfast opens. Not that I structure my work habits around food or anything…but I digress. Or have I even gotten to the point yet? See, this is why it takes me all night to finish my work.
On Thursday, April 4, (well, technically, the early hours of Friday, April 5) I decided to take my unfortunate work habits to the Science Library (SciLi). Ever since the 24-hour study space opened a few months ago, I’d been wondering what exactly goes on there during the hours when nobody should be awake. Would studying in “The Fishbowl,” as it’s apparently called, offer me a sense of camaraderie with my fellow night owls, reinforcing my resolve to ignore my work until the night before it’s due? Or would it be depressing enough to make me realize how lame and miserable my weeknights have become?
If you guessed the latter, you’re right.
Armed with a cup of coffee from the Argus office, I set off for Exley at about 1:45 a.m. I was met with a brief diversion at the Whey Station, where I ran into some friends who were unquestionably in for a better night than I was, and I made it to SciLi at exactly 2 a.m., precisely the time when Olin and the rest of SciLi close and when normal people head home to sleep. What follows is a chronicle of some of my observations as the night progressed. Consider this The Argus’ valiant attempt at a liveblog. Print can’t be dead yet.
2:01 a.m. I had to scan my WesCard at the door to get in here. I probably could have gotten into pong night at Psi U without a WesCard, but here I am, hanging with the truly exclusive Thursday-night crowd. It’s dead silent in here, except for the sounds of typing and crinkling potato chip bags. On the “oppressive” scale, this silence is not as bad as the Olin reading room but definitely more daunting than SciLi during normal hours.
2:03 a.m. I’ve decided to keep a tally of survivors as the night goes on. Current human count: 12, including yours truly. Oh, just kidding—one just left. (Loser.) Current human count: 11.
2:07 a.m. A crowd of four people is standing outside the entrance to this room. Are they wayward partiers en route to Mamoun’s? No, they’re all wearing backpacks—and tonight’s not Tour de Franzia, as far as I know, so it can’t be a themed thing. Are they debating coming in here? I’m confused. This whole glass-window thing is distracting me. I feel like a zoo animal.
2:08 a.m. One of the girls outside just declared, “I’m going in.” She has now joined us, bringing two of her friends with her. Welcome to the dark side.
2:15 a.m. Currently discussing important Argus matters with Josh Cohen ’14 via Facebook chat. I told him the room was at a human count of 14. He asked me if there was a non-human count. I think we’ll all be non-humans in a few hours, so no worries there.
2:16 a.m. Already done with my coffee. This does not bode well.
2:32 a.m. Stumbled upon an uplifting tweet from @horse_ebooks: “You have the unique power to make it a beautiful place or a real mess.” This place in SciLi is neither of those things, but I can already tell that I’m going to be a mess by the time the sun comes up. I’m starting to wonder whether this room even exists.
2:48 a.m. Another person just left. I’m really enjoying the dirty, envious looks these people are getting from fellow study-lounge dwellers as they exit the room. Oh, wait, the dirty looks are only coming from me. Forget I said anything. I’m not bitter at all. Or caffeine-crashing.
2:53 a.m. CRASHING.
2:55 a.m. Note to self: next time you embark on an intrepid all-night journey, try to get more than three hours of sleep the night before.
2:58 a.m. Somebody else just left, and Benjamin Soloway ’13 got up and sprinted after her. This is by far the biggest disruption I have witnessed all night.
3:05 a.m. I am journeying outside of the Fishbowl to get coffee number two from the Exley vending machine. I’m leaving my laptop unattended. Honestly, anyone who would steal a laptop from the 24-hour study space is A) heartless or B) lame enough to be skulking around Exley at three in the morning.
3:10 a.m. I AM INFURIATED. I spent $1.50 at the coffee vending machine for a “regular cup” of coffee with “lightener,” whatever that is. It’s probably toxic. Anyway, what do I get for sacrificing about 80 percent of my remaining Middletown Cash to this machine? A tiny cup that contains basically a shot of coffee. Not a shot of espresso: a shot of watery, “lightened” coffee. Seriously? Was this machine installed before all-nighters were invented? On the bright side, nobody stole my laptop.
3:20 a.m. This silence is getting more and more depressing. I’m going to plug in my headphones and put on some music.
3:21 a.m. Turns out the headphones weren’t plugged in all the way. Remember when “FML” was a thing?
3:29. a.m. Things one should not do at this hour: log onto WesMaps, try to plan out the rest of your college career, and question your own decisions and path in life. Cue existential crisis mode.
3:44 a.m. Before I embarked on this brilliant all-night adventure, I was thinking of interviewing some of the people in here. I have no desire to do that anymore. For one thing, there seems to be an unspoken “don’t talk to people” rule in this room. And besides, what do I want to know about—the work these students have postponed until now? The vicious cycle they’ve fallen into of working late into the night, regretting it, and then working late again out of habit? Being too tired to function normally during the day? Not that I can relate or anything.
4:00 a.m. Maybe I should start doing my homework or something.
4:02 a.m. Human count: 7.
4:09 a.m. Human count: 6.
4:19 a.m. Human count: 5. People are dropping like flies. I should make some kind of graph and plot this rapidly diminishing number of late-night survivors versus time. Or not.
4:33 a.m. John Cage would have something eloquent to say about this situation. I do not.
4:45 a.m. Discovery of the night: “Pride and Prejudice” was not meant to be read at this time of night. Whatever, Mr. Darcy.
5:01 a.m. Who the hell SHOWS UP to the library after 5 in the morning?! Adjusting human count accordingly.
5:41 a.m. Spotted: someone in athletic clothing walking by Exley. Morning is upon us.
5:43 a.m. Somebody tell me why I’m still here.
5:47 a.m. The lights in here are activated by motion sensors. The one above me just turned off. I would wave my hands around to get it to turn on again, but that would require movement, so I’m just going to stare at the ceiling for a while.
6:00 a.m. Human count: 3. Number of pages of reading I have done: 3.
6:11 a.m. I SEE LIGHT. Time to get out of here and recover my soul.