I stuffed my backpack with eight Green library books (sacrificing valuable space that could have been used for several sweaters left behind for the sake of the two carry-on limit), lugged it through the San Jose airport on my aching shoulders and sat with it between my feet, taking up my limited floor room as I watched “500 Days of Summer” and “Never Been Kissed” in an uncomfortable, cramped position on my five-hour flight all the way back to Atlanta. And, after all that, what did I do with said backpack as soon as I entered my much-missed room at the start of Thanksgiving break? I tossed it in a corner, where it would remain for the entirety of the week.
I was so lazy over the break that I couldn’t even bring myself to print out the readings that I had to do to save myself from paying the six dollar printing fee in my dorm’s computer cluster, even though I knew all along that I wasn’t going to actually do any reading — the thought of pulling up Canvas and being reminded of the workload hanging over my head was enough for me to justify giving up a few bucks.
Of course, when I inevitably returned to campus, and the cloudy haze of good sleep, even better food and a complete lack of real responsibilities was removed from my eyes, I came crashing back down to reality and realized just how much it was going to suck to have to spend my next few days playing a brutal game of catch-up (but first I mustered up the courage to do so).
Considering the negative impact that seven days of laziness had on my work ethic, I knew that I was going to have to pull out the big guns in order to effectively do this. So I thought to myself: What’s the best way to guarantee productivity? By going to the one place where the weight of the social pressure that comes with with just sitting in there literally forces me to do my work — the library, preferably Green.
When I’m working in my room, the amount of time I spend working on one assignment seems to be roughly three times as long as the amount of time I would spend completing the same assignment in the library. Basically, 20 minutes spent reading or working on an essay in Green equates to an hour at my desk. Phone breaks after every five pages I’ve read or 20-minute socializing breaks after writing half of a paragraph are certainly not the most efficient ways to go about completing the next day’s work.
In the library, though, I just don’t have the option of letting myself get distracted, out of fear of being “that girl.” I don’t want to be the one person on my phone when everyone else is hard at work, noses in books, fingers typing so quickly I can barely see them moving. Social media? What’s that? Texting? Never heard of it. These things practically don’t exist in the library’s realm of ultimate productivity. And if no one else is partaking in such pleasures, I feel pressured to refrain from them as well. I don’t even like unzipping my backpack to take out my computer and notebooks because I feel like I may somehow be disrupting the flow of the powerhouse. But this all contributes to what I love about it.
The library and the people within it hold me accountable. Then again, maybe I’m doing the same for someone else. Maybe the library is only such a powerhouse because everyone that goes there is holding everyone else up to a certain standard. I admire the productive environment as if I’m just an outsider allowed in, but who’s to say the other people within it aren’t thinking the same thing?
I don’t really need to question the inner workings of the system. All I know is, no matter how much work I let build up, no matter how quickly that deadline is approaching, as long as I can make it to the library, everything is going to be just fine.
Contact Kassidy Kelley at kckelley ‘at’ stanford.edu.