The used and misused: UTSC study space

January 27, 2012

Misused Study Space

Through the few buildings and many hallways at UTSC, you’ll find a variety of places to study. There’s the library, quiet study rooms upstairs by the Doris McCarthy Gallery, as well as the many desks in the S- and H-Wings.

But before you assume this is a study space rave, I digress. I propose a question: If all of these wonderful study spaces exist, then why did I find myself writing an essay on the floor of the Instructional Centre last semester? Unfortunately, although a considerable amount of study spaces exist at UTSC, a good portion of students using them are misusing them.

There is nothing worse than desperately needing to finish up an assignment or cram for a test when you can’t do so solely because of space limitations. The endless scenarios of space-seeking missions are enough to make you scream when you’re in study mode. Here are a few I’ve come across in my desperate attempts to find a place to hit the books!

Situation 1

You have your laptop in hand and are furiously scanning the area for a much-needed outlet. Meanwhile, Mr. Giggles at the desk behind you has his laptop comfortably plugged in, all while catching up on the latest episode of The Big Bang Theory. From watching movies, scouring Facebook, to Skyping and chatting, I don’t care what your purpose for an outlet is, as long as it’s important. But if you’re going to be using that prime real estate for a good time, take it to the hallway, or even better – home.

The same issue exists for computers on campus. Christine Hogg, a second year history student, shared, “I remember once I needed a computer. This guy was sitting at one with it off and his laptop open using Facebook. I asked him if I could go on [the computer] to print something. [He said], ‘No, I’m using it’!”

Situation 2

You walk into one of the quiet study rooms upstairs near the DMG, and it’s packed. You manage to find two free desks, but wait, where are all the chairs? This isn’t necessarily the fault of a student, but again, the frustration and, quite frankly, helplessness, is palpable.

Situation 3

You’re walking through the long, meandering desk-filled hallway in the S-Wing to find that, despite the fact there are dozens and dozens of them, you can’t seem to find one free carrel. Could it be eager students filling up the desks, one by one? Why yes, of course – along with their jacket, backpack, sweater, scarf and lunch. It seems that for some people, the amount of desk space given isn’t enough to act as a coat-hanger as well, so they decide to use the desk and chair beside them instead. Not only is this inconsiderate, it’s simply rude. Try putting your belongings under your chair or in a locker before you take up an entire space with your personal things.

Situation 4

The most irksome of all situations – loud people. This is the biggest problem when it comes to misused study space, particularly in the library, where socializing instead of studying is the norm.

If you’re attempting to catch up on class readings or concentrate on an essay, you really don’t care what the two girls beside you did over the weekend. These spaces are allocated for studying, not for talking. There is, in fact, plenty of space elsewhere designated for just that.

Third year management student, Larry Cheung, vented, “I hate it when I go to the library and it becomes the hangout place for big groups [who are] talking about what they are going to do that night, or that weekend. [I hate them] just being loud and irritating in general.”

It’s time we face these issues head on; we need to stop being polite! If you witness a dude watching movies using an outlet you desperately need, don’t be afraid to speak up. If you see a girl who has sprawled the entire contents of her purse on the desk beside her, again, don’t be afraid to speak up. If you’re being distracted by a group of wandering gossipers, for the love of god, speak up. This may not be easy for everyone, but your classmates do need to know how rude and inconsiderate they are being. If they’re blatantly disrupting your studying efforts, you have every right to say so, because that study space was made with the purpose of being just that; a study space.

If all else fails, you do have a few other options to achieve quiet study victory. Try hanging out in a hallway with low traffic, for example, the second floor of the AA building, or, similarly, the second floor of the ARC. You could even try to ‘de-distractify’ your room and spend a few extra hours at home studying.

In the end, if you’re a frustrated study space seeker like myself, remember to let others know how you feel, because in the end, you shouldn’t have to make compromises. You’ve paid for this and should be able to use it for the purpose it was designed for. But if you’re one of those serial misusers out there (you know who you are), I’d take it outside (literally).