Confusion Corner: Study spots best kept secret

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October 16, 2009

1:13 AM

We’re a school that takes studying a bit seriously. The students that populate Earl Gregg Swem Library until the moment it closes on a Friday night can attest to that. I’ve found that we, as students, have the tendency to create some fairly elaborate, almost ritualistic, study habits. Think of the people who cordon off a square of Swem using three desks as walls, or the people who can only do their homework on a blanket spread out in the sunken garden.

My freshman Orientation Aide told us that she did all of her class readings perched in a tree in the Crim Dell Meadow. Maybe it’s just me, but that sounds a little counterproductive. I already tend to drag my feet on readings, but if I had the additional barrier of having to climb a tree, I think I’d give up entirely.

I have to admit, though, I have some fairly elaborate study rituals of my own. I’ve never been at ease doing work in my room. I know exactly where the TV remote is, and it doesn’t take long for me to end up using it. I need someplace foreign and slightly uncomfortable. Swem would normally fit the bill, but I have a tendency to listen to music while studying; to occasionally drum or sing along to that music. I’ve found that tendency not entirely appreciated by Swem’s residents, so I set off to find somewhere more secluded.

Suffice it to say, I’ve found a place. Everyone on campus has one, the one spot you think nobody’s discovered. You treasure it like some sort of well-kept secret, as if it’s Harry Potter’s Room of Requirement. In reality, it’s probably no more a secret than the one-dollar bag of bread ends at The Cheese Shop, but it’s fun to maintain the illusion.

For a while, it worked well. Then my iPod switched to Biggie’s “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems.” I’m not sure if it was the four cups of coffee I’d had or the wide variety of candies I’d recently raided from the nearby vending machine, but his lyrics just spoke to me. Surprisingly enough, I thought to myself, I also “used to have the tre’ deuce and the deuce deuce in my bubblegoose.” What are the odds, right? I then spent roughly an hour googling lyrics and trying to sing along to various Biggie songs.

I’d quickly exhausted the repertoire of old-school rap on my iPod and, briefly confronted with the possibility of having to continue my paper, promptly began downloading more. There’s just something so cathartic about being able to spout off lyrics along with a song — you’re just ready to cap some bitch-ass punks.

In the end, it took me twice as long to write that International Security paper, but on the bright side I’ve got all three verses from “Party and Bullshit” down pat. That’s a life skill right there. I imagined breaking it out at parties and an astonished member of the crowd — of course there would be a crowd — would yell, “White boy got skillz.” Then I’d finish by dousing some bitches with a bottle of champagne.

Despite my brief fascination with the world of gangsta rap, I did need to finish my term paper. Either that or I’d chosen the wrong career path entirely, and would need to immediately get myself a rhyme journal and a wide variety of prison tats. Comparatively, writing my midterm seemed like the easier choice.

__Kevin Mooney is The Flat Hat Confusion Corner columnist. If you tap a map of the College and say “I solemnly swear I am up to no studying,” you can find his study spot. “Procrastination Managed.”__

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