I walk across a triangle of dewy grass in my pajamas, laptop in hand and groggy from a short night of sleep. The sun hasn’t come up yet. Looking around at the courtyard windows, none of the lights are on. I take out my ID and swipe my way into the dining hall, creating the only muffled sound in an otherwise still and quiet morning. I turn left and enter a deserted common room. sweatshirt hanging from a chair and a half empty water bottle on a side table–the lone relics of the previous day I spread my belongings out on the center table, and begin to pound my laptop keyboard in preparation of a paper I have yet to write. The sun slowly pours through the windows. Once in a while, I take my eyes away from the screen, noticing people walking around outside — at first one or two, and then many. 

 As a resident of Franklin, I have witnessed our college common room’s bustle during the day, and its transformation during the off-hours. At night and in the early morning, the space becomes accessible only to those who live in Franklin. The back and forth of campus-life comes to a pause. The place is still and quiet. Last year, I would find myself sitting there at night, sprawled on an armchair, doing homework under dim light in the company of maybe two other students. Or I would do my work in the morning, as the natural light filtered through the windows, listening to the first sounds of students entering the dining hall for breakfast. 

As a first year, I’ve always been on the lookout for a signature spot where I could actually complete my work. I did test trials at the Bass library cubicles, the rooms in Sterling and various coffee shops around campus, but I kept succumbing to distractions. I found myself feeling stiff in libraries, sitting upright in a chair among rows of other students — all with headphones on and staring at their screens. Cafes like Blue State on the other hand, were too crowded and small, and the constant thought of coffee, pastries and hunger loomed over me. It was only two months into school when I began to fully zone in, when I started working in the Franklin common room. I would casually complete my assigned reading on the couch after lunch. With no lines of desks or books in sight, the room was too cozy to be a studious environment. Yet it was exactly this — the simplicity of working in a room made up of only large windows and furniture — that allowed me to relax, finish my work and worry about nothing else. Instead of having to walk fifteen minutes to the nearest library, all I had to do was cross the Franklin courtyard. In the winter, I could get to the common room through the underground tunnels without treading in the snow. 

         As I wrote my papers, I would constantly go in and out of focus, losing myself in the rhythm of the typin, while noticing people who entered throughout the morning. Some would sit on the other side of my table, we would say hello to each other and then go back into our separate spheres of work. Later in the day, I would come back with friends after lunch to sit on the couches. I would visit all different campus spaces throughout the day. Yet no other places could replace the Franklin common room, where I would always start my day.