In this Nov. 2 file photo, students study on the fifth floor of Fairchild-Martindale Library. Students often complain about the lack of study space on campus during finals. (Patrece Savino/B&W Staff)

Students struggle to find library space for studying

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The stress, extra cups of coffee and late nights in the library are underway. It’s finals season.

Final exams are held between Dec. 12 and Dec. 20. During that time, students can be found studying all over campus, including in Fairchild-Martindale Library and Linderman Library. The libraries tend to fill up quickly each day, and some students think a lack of study spaces has contributed to their stress during finals.

After LTS made changes to FML’s sixth floor to create more study tables and open space, students have been looking for more private study spaces to review for their exams.

Alternative study areas for students include academic buildings and nearby cafes and libraries. Some students study in Saxbys and Starbucks when the libraries become overcrowded and they’re unable to find a quiet space.

Grant Cummings, ’19, a biology major, prefers to study in academic buildings during exam periods. Maginnes is his favorite spot to study. (Kendall Coughlin/B&W Staff)

Grant Cummings, ’19, is a biology major who has given up trying to find a desk in a library during finals season.

“It’s always a chore trying to find space in FML during finals,” Cummings said.

Instead, he said he prefers to study for his exams in one of the academic buildings Lehigh opens up for extra study space during exam periods. Not only does Cummings think it’s easier to find a study space in academic buildings, but he said the overcrowding in the libraries can be distracting.

“I need total silence when I am studying and can’t have any distractions,” Cummings said. “During exams, everyone is trying to find spaces to study in the libraries and talk with friends or roam around, and it can be distracting, especially when you want some silence.”

Cummings said he would rather wake up earlier in the morning to claim a classroom with a whiteboard or chalkboard to study with fellow classmates in a private room. He said his favorite building to study in is Maginnes Hall.

Rachael Grobman, ’19, a political economy major with a focus in entrepreneurship, often wakes up early to find a study spot in the library during exams. At times, Grobman sees people claim cubicles and never come back. (Kendall Coughlin/B&W Staff)

Rachael Grobman, ’19, is majoring in political economy with a focus in entrepreneurship while also working toward her master’s in education. Grobman is typically an early riser, so she said that helps her have an easier time finding a study spot during exams.

“I get here really early in the morning since I know it gets really crowded, so I try to get here by 10 at the latest and normally save my one friend a seat since she is not a morning person,” she said.

Grobman said during final exams, it is common to see people save cubicles for their friends.

“I like having a study buddy to sit near in FML, but I never save a cube for more than an hour — I don’t think that’s fair,” she said. “I see people come in and drop things on a cube to save and then never come back, and it’s frustrating for the people that get here and can’t find study space.”

Grobman said she usually studies in FML but will also go to the bookstore, Williams Hall and Rauch Business Center throughout the week.

Lehigh accommodates students by extending some buildings’ hours during final exams. Starting Dec. 11 at 7:45 a.m., FML will remain open for 24 hours each day until Dec. 20 at 10 p.m.

Packard Lab, the University Center, Rauch and Williams will also remain open past their normal hours. Students are able to reserve study rooms online through the Center for Career and Professional Development.

Allie Gleich, ’20, likes to study in STEPS during exams. She also reserves rooms through The Center for Career & Professional Development. (Kendall Coughlin/B&W Staff)

Allie Gleich, ’20, has been using this option since her freshman year. She said her favorite place on campus to study during exams is STEPS.

“It becomes really hard during finals to find places to study on campus, so you need to either get up really early to secure a seat or get creative with your study spots,” Gleich said. “Freshman year I learned about the (Center for Career and Professional Development) study rooms that you can reserve and decided to try it out.”

Gleich said she thinks it is a great idea to take the empty spaces on campus and use them during the busiest times of the year. She has found that the room reservation system reduces the stress of trying to find somewhere to study.

“They also provide coffee and snacks,” Gleich said, “which is a really nice plus.”

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2 Comments

  1. If you’re looking for additional study space, Lehigh University Art Galleries (LUAG) will be hosting Study Night at the Museum tonight Monday December 11 from 6 PM – 11 PM in the LUAG Lower Gallery. Free snacks and drinks provided.

  2. Lehigh Student on

    Thank you for writing this, it has been particularly hard for me to find good study space over the past week and it’s good to see it being discussed. The biggest issue for me, and I’m sure many other students, is that I study most efficiently when I’m at a very quiet desk or cubicle and utilize FML throughout the semester for that reason. It’s particularly frustrating that we can’t all have that beneficial study environment when it matters most; finals. Furthermore, people leave (non-valuable) belongings in FML cubicles for many hours and often all night because they are so afraid of not having a study space. I really wish that Lehigh would expand their capacity of cubicles and quiet study spaces during finals. I think it would make a big difference for many students during this chaotic time.

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