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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Trying to find peace in a crowded room

Published: November 8, 2013
Section: Opinions

The new Upper Green Room is gorgeous. Otherwise known as Farber Mezzanine, or the room above Starbucks, Brandeis remodelled it perfectly. There are large tables with high chairs, clusters of pink comfy chairs, large white boards, and booths along the edges next to the windows with couches and outlets embedded right in the table top. The bright overhead lighting is optimal for studying, and there is exciting, brand-new technology. On some of the tables in the back, there are large screen computer monitors with available laptop connection for student use — not to mention private study rooms for group projects. This lime green and magenta themed study space definitely beats the previous 1980’s carpeting and furniture. I only wish I could use it.

I am an English major with a philosophy minor, so the majority of my work consists of reading. I can only concentrate on my reading in silence. If I am writing an essay, I don’t mind noise, but reading requires my full concentration. During the morning, Farber Mezzanine is a nice, quiet place to go, but as soon as early afternoon hits, the place fills to capacity. I have no problem with people who need to work on group projects. There definitely need to be places for that; the problem is not the people who go up there to work, but those who do so merely to socialize. The library should not just be a place to hang out—that’s why there are lounges. If there are even any seats left in the first place, Farber Mezzanine is much too noisy to concentrate on any work, not only reading.

My usual favorite place to go is Goldfarb 1, across from Usdan. It’s usually quiet there, but not as dark and solitary as the bottom two floors, or the dungeon. However, people still decide to carry on a conversation there. Only the other day I was sitting towards the back near the bathrooms and someone decided to tutor chemistry right behind me. There are several places infinitely more suitable for tutoring. In addition to both floors of Farber, there are the tables near the front desk, the tables near the writing center, the arm chairs near the magazine stacks, the arm chairs near the computers, and not to mention the SCC. Though people decide to carry on loud conversations in areas not specifically designated as quiet, they still should be respectful.

If I really cannot find any silence on Goldfarb 1, I retreat to the dungeon, but people are still talking there. The section with the long carrels in the back of Goldfarb 2 echoes whispers very easily, and people decide they can just talk freely at the tables on the other side of Goldfarb 2. Usually the individual desks are quiet, but the lights are dim, especially at night when the sun goes down, making it easy to fall asleep.

Many individual lights and outlets don’t work, if you can find an outlet in the first place. The “dungeon,” where people actually get work done, is dark, cramped, and uncomfortable, but Farber Mezzanine, where people decide they can just hang out, is gorgeous. I think it’s very important that we have a specific place for students to study in groups, but if those places were reserved for groups actually doing work rather than people socializing, then students wouldn’t have to disturb others by talking in other quiet areas.

I do not like to do homework in my room because I find it is easy to just to find a snack or crawl into my bed to take a nap instead. The library provides an environment specifically for work that allows me to concentrate on what I am doing. Unfortunately, students who do not understand proper library etiquette ruin the quiet areas on the first floor and the bottom two floors are too dark and dreary.