We get it, we’re nerds: Olin should have better hours

| Staff Editorial

Everyone knows we work hard. And everyone knows that we all could use some time to chill out a little bit. But does that mean the University should mandate that we take a break from our studies at a certain hour? There’s nothing better than finishing class on a Friday and going home knowing you have a relaxing weekend ahead of you. If you don’t, however, you wind up walking to Olin Library at 9 p.m. that Friday—only to find that the library has been closed since 8 p.m.

A general lack of weekend hours restricts students to studying in Whispers, or in their dorms or apartments. As one could probably hypothesize, a dorm or apartment on a Friday night isn’t exactly conducive to productive studying. Whispers, though an extension of the library, is not much better.

Many students have trouble studying in a room that functions more as a social center of campus than as a legitimate study area. And while it’s open 24 hours a day, the only time Whispers is ever really quiet is between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m. With all the resources that this school provides us, a student shouldn’t have to stress over an exam while listening to the over-caffeinated pre-med majors contemplate the mysteries of ionic bonds.

Even during the week, the library closes at the arguably early hour of 2 a.m. At the very least, the library should extend its hours once midterms start in October, much like it does during finals. Midterm exams often factor just as much into students’ grades as finals do, and certainly students are studying for just as many hours—if not more—while trying to balance their regular courseloads with exams and papers.

If Whispers is to remain the epicenter of late-night studying and the hub of nourishment for working students, we’d also like to see an improvement in the quality of food served there. Studying students need fresh, healthy food (not rubberized wraps, stale fruit and an abundance of bread and cake products) to promote the brilliance (or at least passable work) within. We would rather not break our focus to take a 30-minute jaunt to and from the Village for nighttime sustenance.

On a related note, we have a free business idea for an entrepreneurial student: given the current state of Whispers food and the long, soon-to-be cold walk to better cuisine, please, please start a library delivery service taking orders from Bear’s Den and the Village.

Many of our peer institutions provide students with later library hours both during the week and on Fridays. The libraries of Emory, UPenn, Duke and Johns Hopkins are open 24 hours Monday through Thursday, and Northwestern’s library is open til 3 a.m. Their Friday hours, respectively, are 8 p.m., 12 a.m., 12 a.m., 24 hours, and 11:45 p.m. At a school that values academic rigor and excellence, it is a tad contradictory for Wash. U. to withhold quiet areas for study from its students.

Admittedly, if ever there were a student body that needed limits imposed on its access to libraries, it’s ours. We are all tortured workaholics (or, at the very least, we like to think we are), and it hurts to advocate for a change that would only enable us. We thus offer a caveat: If we are to be blessed with extended hours, please, students, use them with discretion. The library being open at 11:30 p.m. on a Friday night is not an excuse to ignore your boyfriend, girlfriend or other, you know, “fun” obligations. Your social life is an endangered species that needs love and attention, too.

That being said, as college students capable of making rational and informed decisions, as “the leaders of tomorrow,” we should have a library to study in when we need one.

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