Where am I? Everything is colored a bluish gray and bathed in clinical fluorescent light. The silence is deafening. Only the occasional pencil or keyboard clicks can be heard, yet there’s an unrelenting hum, probably from the HVAC system.
What time is it? I do not know. This cannot be known. There is no clock to be seen. This is a liminal space. No natural light can penetrate this bomb shelter of a library. The only perception of time can be derived from the urgency of the work that has to be done. No one comes here to hang out. Only to come close to a mental breakdown and hammer out the worst problem set known to man.
The “people” in Carlson should be avoided at all costs. Ever notice how you always see the same folk in the same seats without hearing a peep? They aren’t real. They’re a projection of the library itself to lull you into a false sense of security. You cannot fall for this. If you do, the librarians will add your mind to the laser lab’s supercomputer. Did you think UR acquired the most powerful supercomputer through conventional methods? It’s an amalgamation of gray matter harvested from unstable students. That’s why it crashes so much. They haven’t been able to harvest the minds of stable students, as they steer clear of the secluded locations prime for the mental breakdown.
Regardless of the validity of the mind-harvesting grift, Carlson is weird. It’s an exercise in self-preservation. Does one focus their efforts on saving their grade and forgo food, water, and sleep? I’d personally say so. The library introduces an uneasy sense of mental clarity, as well. It’s never been so trivial to thumb through a textbook or litany of YouTube videos and teach yourself an entire class the night before a midterm. The wheely whiteboards lend themselves to this quite well. All your thoughts can be preserved, without compromising precious mental bandwidth and memory.
I will refrain from name-dropping the specific class, but myself and a fellow student spend somewhere between four and 12 hours at the same godforsaken table. I only left because I hadn’t had any food all day and we were pushing 6 p.m.. She kept on truckin’.
I’ve seen friend groups dissolve, I’ve seen poorly defined mental breakdowns, and even people rethinking their entire major declaration. It’s difficult to spot happiness in the basement of Carlson. If you look very closely, then you may just catch a glimpse of relief in the eyes of a junior, just now realizing a dreaded problem set was pushed back by 24 hours.
It’s not for the faint of heart. Only strong minded individuals should venture to the depths. And be warned: once you go Carlson, you can never go back.