Analyzing the anonymous messages on the desks of Green Library

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Green Library — an essential part of the fabric that makes up the Stanford experience. To some, it acts as a second home, where many a stressed student has cranked out a MATH 51 p-set. To others, it serves as a mecca for late-night finals studying at the end of each quarter. How much of the student body has studied into the wee hours of the morning, until they hear the father-like call at 12:45 a.m. to depart and relocate their studying elsewhere? This is the life story of hundreds of Cardinal kids during finals week, as demonstrated by the clusters and clusters of bikes that lie desolate at the base of Green.

While studying an economics concept or working hard on a math problem, have you ever taken a moment to assess your surroundings? Bring your attention to the cubicles that make up the majority of desks in the library. They’re almost prison-like at first glance, yet they hold a certain level of sentimentality after many hours. The desks contain a snapshot of the thoughts, emotions and ideas of the hundreds of students who have sat in those exact sports, stressed over similar problems and glancing outside at the same view. The messages of “You got this” and “XYZ” are embellished on every desk. We should find strength in the common experiences of hundreds. We’ve all been in the midst of finals season; with exams approaching and papers looming, a student can feel very alone. But any student can find solace in the support of the messages adorning the desks of Green. The shared experience of finals soon becomes a blip in our periphery as we chill or party the night away next quarter. It is a necessary evil that can be conquered together.

It is easy to suffer from duck syndrome in the Stanford bubble. You may think that other students seem calm while you feel alone and stressed out. But actually, the anonymous messages in the library prove that all students struggle with concepts, make mistakes and have to work very hard for their grades. As humble Stanford students, it’s easy to downplay the hard work that it takes to receive decent grades. But those unfiltered desks contain snapshots of the hours of grinding that others religiously undergo as well. You are not alone.

The messages are the physical manifestation of the love and support of Stanford students across campus who have shared the same experience and cried the same tears. So the next time you visit Green with an ugly p-set in hand, take a look at your surroundings to find the support of hundreds of your personal cheerleaders.

Contact Emily Broadhurst at ebroad23 ‘at’ stanford.edu.

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