For the love of God, please don’t look at me while I’m studying. I’m begging you. As I drown in my personal cesspit of work, I really and truly would simply like to not be observed. If I had an invisibility cloak, I would use it. Since I don’t, I’ll just scream into the CT void and hope that you all get the message.
PRR is a scene from my nightmares. I’m haunted by the one time I went in there my first year. Innocent, hoping the words of the great philosophers and scientists lining the walls would somehow boost my intelligence through osmosis, I stepped into the silent room. The high ceilings and real wood inspired awe. I almost felt like a real college student for a second, instead of the precarious pyramid of nocturnal raccoons (in sunglasses and a trench coat, of course) that I actually am.
I chose a long table to sit my mopey ass down at for a few hours. Then, I oh-so-carefully pulled out a chair. First mistake. The squeak of the chair echoed through the room, provoking the same reaction as if I had simply started screaming. I was suddenly the focus of every pair of bloodshot eyes in the room. Other first-years looked at me pityingly. Sophomores rolled their eyes with secondhand embarrassment. Juniors looked up at me, bleary-eyed from poring over poli-sci readings, gazes hardening as they noticed the source of their distraction. How dare I drag them from their depressive focus even for a second? The seniors just looked like they wanted to squash me like a bug.
Even once I was dreadfully sat in place, ears burning from all the heated glares, my hands trembled as I pulled out my laptop. The air turned thick with the pressure. (Is there actually any air circulation in there? I would guess not. Preserve the books at all costs! The possibility of students fainting is only a mildly unfortunate externality.) I was suffocating under the weight of my peers’ expectations, trying to focus but failing. With every passing second that my MS Word document remained blank, the disapproval grew as I brought the room’s average productivity down by a factor of ten. I lasted only half an hour before I ran, throwing my sweatshirt over my head to pretend I was invisible and stumbling blindly towards the door. I haven’t been back since.
To my PRR die-hards, please note that this is more a reflection on me than on the space. I love libraries. I just hate people. And the fact that I am a physical, visible being.
My new study spot of choice is Wilson Commons, where I bask in my irrelevance and spend half my time staring out the windows. Nobody in Wilco gives an absolute shit what you’re doing. It’s truly freeing. While Wilco the building may have seen my emotional breakdowns, dropped metal water bottles, and even the occasional submitted essay, I can almost guarantee that I have never been seen by someone who I didn’t want to have notice me. Hiding from the evil ceiling lights (which now go on at 3 p.m., kill me) under the shade of my precious tiny tree, I hunch myself into a small, red-eyed demon over my keyboard and try to muster up the creativity required to graduate.
And nobody looks at me. Please continue to not do so.