I had a meeting last week with a few fellow students. In an effort to find a study room, I head to Gerstein library, which boasts of wonderful study rooms, with large windows, wireless internet connect, plugs, and (almost functioning) whiteboards. It is the perfect place to have a group study meeting, and in fact, that is what the entire floor is designed for.
Upon arriving at the hallway in which the study rooms were located, I was disappointed to find that they were all taken. A little investigation, however, revealed that some of the rooms were being used by one student. Both the students whom I spoke to, informed me that they would be in the room for one to two more hours despite me telling them that the room is reserved for groups of students for three or more.
What students need to realize is, where are several libraries which allow for single-student study. There are cubicles, extra-quiet study single-study spaces, and much more. On the contrast, only a minimal amount of study rooms are available for students in groups. As a result, it is very unfair when students who are not studying in groups take up the group study rooms.
There is also the opposite scenario to contend with.
Currently, I am sitting in a quiet study area – and although there are couches available for groups to sit and quietly study, three young men have taken up residence in those couches, and are exchanging a tirade of angry swear words. The noise has gotten so unbearable (despite my loud sighing and pointed glares) that a security guard has had to come upstairs and tell that that their ridiculousness is being magnified all the way downstairs. Of course, as soon as he left, the f-words and yelling continued.
Here is what I’ve finally understood – a single student in group study rooms, loud groups in quiet study areas – this indicates to me that students are not deserving of these resources. I hate to say it, especially because I am a student myself, but a few of us seem to have a knack to be unable to follow the rules, which results in everyone having an unpleasant experience.
Unfortunately, Gerstein hasn’t kicked in gear yet to consider having someone that students can go to when the group study rooms are being occupied by one student, and the security guard didn’t think to stick around long enough to realize these guys need to be kicked out. But its not the library’s responsibility, or the school’s responsibility to be a parent to the student. Students need to grow up, and recognize that paying for university doesn’t make them in charge. Sitting in a group study area doesn’t mean a lady should have to come and tell you that your yelling is carrying down the hall into offices when you are sitting in a LIBRARY, for goodness sake, and it does mean that if you are going to take up a study room when you are the only person in it, then you need to recognize that when someone with 3 or more people comes along, you need to relinquish the room!
But enough of my venting tirade! I’m sure you’ve been caught in a similar situation … the question is, how to we address it?
Stay Calm: Most of the time, people don’t realize they are being loud – it is not intentional, and getting angry at them will get their defences up and make them resentful. Instead, stay calm and be respectful.
Diffuse the Blame but Be Firm: In my experience, when people are in a study room making too much noise, it is best not to be accusatory. I generally start with ” Hello Guys, sorry to disturb you. Most people don’t know this, and I’ve made this mistake before myself, but this studyroom isn’t soundproof. It is misleading, huh? (don’t forget to smile 🙂 )
Use Humour: Using humour is a great way to make people feel comfortable when you’re getting mad. I generally continue my statement with “It is no big deal, but I thought I would let you know that we can hear you down the hall, especially because if you are planning a surprise for me, I don’t want to hear it yet!” (insert second smile here :)) Okay, my joke is lame, but it gets the point across – I can hear you embarrassingly clearly, all the way down the hall. Be quiet.
Rule Reminder: Don’t be afraid to remind people of the rules – most people will be fine getting up and moving when you politely tell them you have the team of people waiting for the study room, which is the disclaimer for the study rooms ‘reserved status’.
Suggest Alternatives: Instead of just kicking someone out, consider providing them with alternatives – such as an extra-quiet study area that they may not know about. That makes it a little easier, especially because they’ve settled in to the place you’re about to invade.
If you’ve experienced the noisy student in a quite place, or the alternative silent single student in a place reserved for group study, then you probably have some stories, ideas and suggestions on how to conquer this problem. Leave a comment!