Here’s why you should, in fact, sleep in Olin

| Senior Forum Editor

When I was young and naive, not yet jaded by college life, I wrote an article. I was floored by the ridiculous phenomenon—or so I thought—of people sleeping in Olin Library. There I was, in the midst of this glorious, giant building, surrounded by the glowing white light of the sun that poured through the windows, stressed and drowning beneath the weight of midterms, and hopelessly roaming around with books in tow looking for a spot to sit.

Whispers Cafe had reached more than maximum capacity, with anxious students just like me pouring out of the cafe and spilling into Olin. We were all hoping that somewhere in this building, just maybe, there was an open seat. But to our dismay, there were none.

You would think, surely, there would be one, singular seat which I could inhabit. But I assure you, there were none. Who was to blame for this harrowing offense? The nappers. Some were studying, using the library and its seating arrangements for their intended purposes. But these spaces were also inhabited by the nappers, the students who packed backpacks with blankets and then saw it fit—for some reason that was unknown to me—to take a nap in any and every area that they could.

I was appalled by the sight, infuriated by their audacity to use this space—this public space intended for higher learning and education—to nap. So I wrote an article to inform these students of all the things they could and should be doing other than taking away study spaces from the more studious. I believed this for a while. That is, until I became one of them myself.

This year, I was granted the marvelous privilege of being one of the juniors selected to get booted into off-campus housing. With that I’ve shared the many joys of sharing a living room with cockroaches, walking what feels like miles to campus in the snow and yes, dear friends, having to sleep in Olin.

Once upon a time I wondered why people would do such a lowly thing. You pay thousands of dollars to live in a dorm or apartment; why on earth would you subject yourself to sleeping in a library?

What I failed to realize, however, was that these people who napped in Olin had reached a level of intelligence that I had not yet unlocked. To those of us who live off campus, walking back and forth between home and school can be taxing. My days start early in the morning with class, and they go well into the night with homework and extracurriculars, all of which are on campus. In my mind, I could go home. It’d be preferable even, but wholly unrealistic. To walk home only to have to turn around and walk back to campus an hour later—especially in this cold weather—is absurd. It’s far easier to stay on campus until I can go home for good.

But, sometimes you’re just simply exhausted. You’ve spent all day working, you want to go home and curl up in bed where it’s warm and you can’t be harmed by the woes and troubles of academia. But then reality bursts your bubble and you realize that you’re forced to stay on campus until your six o’clock meeting begins. But you’re smart, and resourceful, too. You realize that although it’d be nice to go home and sleep, you don’t have to. Which brings me to the divinity that is the Olin nap.

It’s far easier to walk to Olin and trudge down the steps until you find an open, cushioned seat in the B-stacks than it is to walk all the way back to The Lofts. You put your worries at bay for a minute and allow yourself to snooze at the bottom of the library before you have to return to the inevitable. You wake up, mildly refreshed, at least enough to continue on with the rest of your evening. You’re the winner here.

Now, over halfway done with my junior year of college, I get it. I understand the students who robbed me of my study spaces freshman year, the ones who just wanted to sleep before they had to get up and go, and this is something I’d now encourage everyone to do. Save your time and energy and just take your nap in Olin; it simply isn’t worth it to go home for a short period of time. I just wish I would have known sooner. Maybe I would have been less tired back then.

Sign up for the email edition

Stay up to date with everything happening at Washington University and beyond.