Letter to the Editors: May 29

In response to "Extending library hours extends expectations"

In response to "Extending library hours extends expectations"

Last month, in an opinion entitled “Extending library hours extends expectations,” one student posited that keeping Stauffer open twenty-four hours a day during exam time has a negative effect on students; it was said that this creates unhealthy study habits and competition among Queen’s students. The author also proposed the modest solution of closing the library for just a couple hours a night to evict those who overstay their welcome. 

I disagree with the idea that extended library hours beget higher exam-time anxiety and competition. This is just the nature of exam time: pressure, deadlines, and implicit competition are always going to be present. No matter how prepared you are, this is always going to be a stressful time. Having a perpetually open library neither creates nor exacerbates this reality. On the contrary, peer pressure can often cover all corners of campus—even seeping into the digital world—and kicking students out of the library merely prompts them to take themselves and their stress elsewhere. 

The extended hours policy is a predominantly positive one that helps alleviate exam-related stress. Having the option to stay that extra hour and wrap up your work is much better than being turfed out in the middle of whatever you’re doing. There is nothing worse than getting into a groove just as you realize it’s almost time to pack up and go home. This is especially true for those of us who prefer to work later in the day and may not get to the library until the evening. As someone now at a school where the term “extended hours” means “open until midnight,” I have found myself yearning for the generosity of Stauffer’s exam-time hours—pathetic as that may sound. 

That being said, the author of the original piece noted that the 24/7 opening policy results in some people effectively living in the library—for upwards of twenty-fours straight in some instances. While my intuition suggests that this practice is more conspicuous than it is commonplace, it is totally absurd and unproductive. There is undeniably no good work being done at 4 a.m.  

With that in mind, I can certainly see the value in closing the library for a couple of hours at this point in the night. Doing so is an effective way to curb the more outlandish and irritating behaviour of some students without denying everyone else their much-needed studying hours. 

However, Queen’s students should avoid making library squatters and seat-savers seem like a larger, more prevalent problem than they are. Doing so risks letting the pendulum swing too far the other way. 

Extended hours accommodate the broadest possible range of schedules, sleep patterns, and study habits. Whatever yours are, having a library open to you during exams at nearly any hour of the day is a privilege indeed. I urge you not to take undue advantage of it, but also not to take it for granted.

Nick Papageorge, ArtSci ‘14

 

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