By Sherlock Ortiz
“It’s where souls go to die,” said a friend to me recently regarding Watzek Library. As a proud resident of the quiet section, I was outraged. I love Watzek to death, and was ready to defend its honor. I immediately shanghaied my friend into coming to Watzek and experiencing the immense feelings of productivity it evokes.
The library breeds a community of hard-working students who support each other. When you find a table, everyone prepares to take on the day’s work together. You may all be studying for different classes, but everyone is in the same boat. I had been sitting at a table in the quiet section with some people before and, by bringing my friend, there was not enough room for all of us. I got my stuff and moved tables; one of my former study mates was outraged at my betrayal. When I left the old table to sit with my newcomer friend, I was in some sense betraying that informal and very loose pact. Though the outrage was mostly a joke, I think there was something real there. A similar feeling crosses through me when I have to leave a table and people are still working or when people at my table leave me. When you have a group, things naturally feel easier; being the last person at a table is awful and sometimes leaving that last person behind can feel like a betrayal.
Having a specific stomping ground accentuates this greater sense of community not only for the people you sit with, but for the entire library. When I walk into the library after my morning class. Watzek is a place where many people come to work, and seeing them going through their routine just as I am going through mine inspires discipline. The students who sit at the individual cubicles, attempting to cut out the world and focus entirely on the task at hand, actually help form a close bond. They are working hard, so it motivates you to work hard and collaborate with those around you. When I see the usual suspects at work, either in their groups or at their usual cubicles, I feel a sense of admiration for everyone dedicated to their schoolwork, to learning and to improving themselves.
By far, however, the best part of the library is the separation of work and relaxation. Yes, I hang out and talk to friends in Watzek, and sometimes do not get work done immediately, but the work is in the back of my mind at all times. In my dorm, in the Bon and out with my friends, my work is not as urgent. When my friend said souls die in Watzek, perhaps she was right, if you consider a soul to be light and happy and work to be heavy and stressful. I, however, consider Watzek as the place where souls go to improve. Many friends who do not regularly go to Watzek and have come with me from time to time do say that they should go more often, because they feel more productive. In fact, the people who only go to the Watzek during midterms and finals frustrate me. How will you get work done here if you do not create a habit and a mentality that the regulars have created? To quote a senior friend of mine, Aaron Schimmel ’18, last fall during finals: “I’m a devoted Watzekite all year long and then these f***ing heathens come in on finals and don’t know the rules!” That is not an attack telling people to stay away, but asking that people come more regularly to truly become part of the community. Find your corner, notice when your friends and classmates are in and where they sit. Take advantage of Watzek for what it is: a place to get work done so you can go home and relax, leaving your stress behind and lightening your soul.