So you’re coming to Yale… Congrats! Hooray! Be merry! You probably pushed yourself way too hard in high school, and you deserve a little celebration.
But if you’re reading the YDN already, you’re probably not taking that advice to heart. So allow me to touch on a topic you likely do care about, oh you beautifully ambitious student: libraries. We’ve got lots of them at Yale. They’re all very pretty, and JE’s Taft Library is the prettiest (no personal bias, I swear).
During your time at Yale, you will become intimately acquainted with these spaces. You might even fall in love with one, but I’d suggest trying to keep it platonic.
I’m not here to tell you how or where to study. I just want to offer a few words of wisdom about how to comport yourself properly in these oh-so-sacred spaces.
Some libraries are talking spaces. Some are not. Be aware of which one you’re in and behave accordingly.
In a silent library — the daunting Gilmore Music Library comes to mind as an example — don’t even think about sneezing. Don’t cough. Don’t put your bag down too loudly. Don’t inhale or exhale. Don’t go with your friend. You might tell yourself that you can work in silence next to each other, but just spare yourself the temptation. Your friendship matters, but the shared silence matters more.
Even in talking spaces, like Poorvu, I’d advise hushed tones only. Those kids talking really loudly in the corner, they’re the swim and dive team. They can get away with it because of their jock-superstar status. You can’t, so don’t try it.
I exaggerate, but I swear some of the above offenses will elicit a dirty look or two. So try to avoid bothering people, but also don’t be afraid of them. Be the girlboss you were always meant to be, and flip off anybody who dares to challenge your noise levels if you think you’re in the right.
Take it one step further and be the one to shoot a dirty look to some cursed and weak-willed kiddo with a pollen allergy who can’t contain their sneezes and sniffles even indoors.
You may be wondering why I’m such a grumpy curmudgeon when it comes to libraries. After all, I’ve only been here for a year. I am still walking around full of youthful joy, blissful naïveté, and that wily charm of a boy just vibing in the world.
My villain origin goes as follows: I was sitting alone in the philosophy reading room in Sterling on a Sunday night, cranking out a math pset. In walked two girls, jabbering away about where to have a birthday party. After a few minutes, I shot them a sideways glance. They didn’t notice.
I tried to focus, but to no avail. I was looking over at the two of them, willing them to hush, and made eye contact with one of them. “Oh sorry, we’re about to leave. We’ll try to be quieter, though,” she offered sheepishly. Being the blissfully kind and naïve boy that I was at the time, I believed her. But her promise was emptier than the condom bag outside the JE FroCo suite. (Somebody was getting some action, and it sure wasn’t me.)
Finally, the girls left, turning the lights off on their way out, leaving me alone in a dark room as their voices slowly grew faint as they walked down the hallway. That evening on the sixth floor, a boy died and a villain was born.
Don’t be those girls. And don’t even wait for someone to corrupt you. Be the villain you were always made to be, shoot those dirty looks, and let’s keep the libraries quiet. You’ll be a hero to more than you know.
See you around in the fall. Cheers (quietly from Taft)!