Now that my second semester at Hopkins is well underway, I’ve realized that I’m spending a lot more time in the library this semester than I did last semester. Of course this makes sense to some degree because my grades are no longer covered, and so I need to work a lot harder. However, I think it’s gotten to the point where I’m in the library more than I’m in my own room. If you’re wondering why, it’s because I’m taking 17 credits, working a job, doing research, interning, and am involved in like five additional clubs. Even though having so many time commitments is no walk in the park, my involvement in each has already been very rewarding and I cannot imagine how much I’ll learn from them in the years to come.
For those that don’t know, the Hopkins library system is made up of both the Milton S. Eisenhower Library (MSE) and Brody Learning Commons (Brody). To makes things easy, for the rest of this blog I’ll be referring to them both as “Brody”. In fact, because both buildings are connected underground, students just call them “Brody” as well. At Hopkins, most freshman study and do their homework in Brody. That’s because it has a very collaborative atmosphere and allows spaces for students to not only work alone quietly, but also in groups where things can get a little noisy. Upperclassmen, especially those who live off campus, tend to work in their apartments or houses because they are usually pretty spacious (especially compared to the AMRs). Since I spend so much time in the library, I thought it would be interesting for me to share how where I sit in Brody correlates with the work I’m doing.
Brody atrium is always “lit” for lack of a better word. Whether its 12 p.m. and you stop by in between classes or its 2 a.m. and you’re heading back to your dorm, you will always see someone you know working in the atrium. For me, regardless of what floor I start working on on a given day, I will always somehow end up in the atrium. Sometimes I end up here because I need a break from my work, but other times (more times than I’d like to admit) it’s because it’s past 3 a.m. (when MSE closes) and security is pushing me over to the Learning Commons section which fortunately is open 24/7. The atrium also has many comfy couches and small tables for group studying. I have yet to decide whether or not the comfy couches are a good thing; they might actually be too comfy. Some nights, I’ve fallen asleep on them and have woken up a couple hours later only to realize that I hadn’t gotten any work done.
Q and M levels are in fact two separate levels. If you enter Brody from the side of the Gilman Quad, you start off on Q level, and the floor right underneath is M level. The reason I’m writing about them together is because I don’t know that much about them simply because I’m barely ever on them. However, I’ve noticed that these floors tend to be the noisiest, and that there are always small groups sitting around a table either working on a group project or chatting with each other. I honestly think that during my one and a half semesters at Hopkins, I’ve probably studied on Q and M levels like once (if even) and I don’t really have a good reason for why this is so. I have friends who study on these levels and they’ve never had any complaints, so studying here is something I’ll probably be doing a lot more of in the coming weeks.
A level is set up with long sets of tables; so, it’s perfect for group work, but not that conducive to solo study sessions. A majority of my friends (especially upperclassmen) study on A level. I think that a student’s productivity on A level directly correlates with who they are sitting around and also what time of the day it is. If you sit around your friends and are not all working on the same assignment, there is a good chance that you will all get distracted (I know I do). Also during the evening, A level tends to get really noisy because it’s so crowded and this makes it hard to concentrate. As it gets later into the night, many people leave and it becomes a lot easier to do work. I’d say after 12 a.m. is when you can find me on A level (assuming I don’t have too much work to do or am not studying for a midterm/final).
I think B level is where Brody transitions from a place for collaborative homework sessions to a zone for serious studying. This is because B level mostly filled with individual desks (sort of like cubicles) for people to setup all of their work and then stay in the same spot for hours on end. When I’m doing my homework, whether it’s a problem set for Physics or a writing assignment for Introduction to Business you will definitely find me on A level. After my classes end for the day, I usually find a desk (close but not too close to my friends) and take control of it for the rest of the night. It’s interesting because as time passes, I notice that my desk gets covered in coffee cups from my frequent runs to Brody café.
During my first semester, I was rarely on C level. However, this semester I’ve realized that C level is a great place for me to be when I’m studying for a midterm. C level tends to be a lot quieter than B level, and this is perfect for when I’m trying to teach myself a new concept the night before an exam. As I write this blog, I’m actually sitting on C level simultaneously studying for my Introduction to Business midterm which is coming up on a couple days. Wish me luck!
Honestly, D level scares me a little. It’s extremely quiet, usually empty, and an AT&T dead zone (probably because it so far underground). It is so quiet that I’ve gotten angry looks from D level studiers when I open my backpack too noisily or even drop my pencil. I’ve been to D level like twice, and this was only because it was finals week and the rest of the library was full (I literally looked everywhere before coming to D). In seriousness, D level is the place to be if you are really looking for some alone/quiet time.
All around Brody there are state-of-the-art glass study pods and rooms that can be reserved. These pods have 360 degree writable surfaces and are equipped with modern screen projection software. My first semester especially, I took advantage of these pods and reserved them for hours on end. I have since then come to realize that maybe group studying is not for me, especially when my friends and I are all studying for exams in different classes. Next time you’re in Body make sure to stop by and say hi!