February 23, 2012
Math Emporium vs. Newman Library
With syllabus week sadly far behind students at Virginia Tech, we find ourselves spending more time with the books and less time with friends. When trying to get in the swing of a new semester, it is sometimes hard to find your niche when it comes to where to get work done. Based on past experiences and after asking around, I compiled a list of pros and cons for the most popular study spots around campus.
The Math Emporium
Abundant Desk Space and Oversized Computer Screens – when it comes to surface area and screen size, bigger is better. Not only can you spread out papers, folders, and textbooks, but the large Mac screen allows for the simultaneous viewing of multiple documents.
Ability to Socialize – This can be seen as a pro or a con. When viewing this characteristic in a positive light, socializing can provide a convenient study break.
Parking – For the most part, parking at the Empo is not the usual hectic scene it is at most other places on Virginia Tech’s campus. No matter what time of day, there will be a vacant parking spot somewhere; even if it is in the Kroger lot, the walk is much shorter than the walk from Surge to Newman.
24/7 – When gearing up for a long night of cramming, it is nice to know you have literally all night( or all morning for that matter) to learn a few weeks’ worth of material.
Chairs – As we exit the good ol’ days, and by that I mean the teenaged years of carelessness and hangover-free mornings, our terrible posture starts to have its consequences – in the form of back pain. With this being said, cushioned chairs start to be a necessity when sitting for extended periods of time.
Food – For me, snack breaks are a necessity. Often times, food provides that extra boost of energy to get through another hour of studying but the rules of the Empo do not consider this stipulation. Even worse, these rules make the vast assortment of places to eat a salivating tease. We all know how frustrating and inconvenient it is to gather up all of our belongings to check out, only to check back in again, at a different pod.
Background noise – For those of you who lose focus at the drop of a pin, the background noise in the Empo is sure to be an interruption. Not only is there always a piece of gossip to listen in on, there is also never a shortage of confused freshman making use of that red cup.
Lines during exam time – No one can seem to dodge the inevitability of this con. During the most overwhelming weeks of the semester, waiting outside your favorite study spot in a line backed up to Yogi Factory is sincerely problematic, not to mention time consuming.
Quiet Floors – There is nothing comparable to the mutual understanding among students who prefer to reside on the third and fifth floors of Newman Library. It is reassuring to know that peace and quiet will be found on these floors, enabling those distracted readers and workers to get some serious studying done.
Food – Not only can students make a pit stop at Greenberry’s which is located on the first floor of Newman Library, but snacks are also permitted. Forget about the lid requirement which is strictly enforced at the Empo, you can bring a water cup from West End for all the librarians care!
Information Accessibility – Working last minute on a research paper or group project? Need a few more relevant sources? No worries, just look around people, there are literal tons of sources from which to choose. Still can’t grasp the concept of the infamous Dewey Decimal System? Once again, do not fear, there are plenty of capable librarians at your beckon call.
Navigation – First and foremost, no matter what year you are at Virginia Tech, you will undoubtedly get lost in the Library. The endless bookshelves and identical settings of chairs and tables make you feel like you are stuck in a maze. Not only do you feel panicked by the fact that you cannot find the bathroom or desk you were just sitting at, but you feel embarrassed due to the countless stares and smirks people are sending your way because they have seen you circling.
Closes at 2 a.m. – For night owls like me, the closing time is a tad too soon at the Library. Just knowing a time restriction exists, some students find themselves rushing through assignments and pushing back completion to the next day which is never a good thing.
Wooden chairs – In contrast to the cushioned chairs at the Empo, the seating options at the Library are lacking. Unless you want to bring a blanket or pillow as a form of cushioning, (let’s be honest, is there really room for that in your book bags?) then you will have to put up with the extra firm, straight back chairs at the Library.
Parking – Last but not least, if you cannot find a spot at Squires, which is normally a long-shot, then you will inevitably have to make the hike from the Surge lot or even worse, Prices Forks lot, if you want to study in Newman Library. During the winter months, this is a huge turn-off if you ask me.
Whether you agree or disagree, it is important to think back to this list when looking for a place that most appropriately meets your studying needs. After conducting an inter-sorority survey, I discovered most DGs prefer to pass their time slaving over homework at the beloved (or not…you decide) Math Emporium. I know this poll is not accurately representative of the campus population but consider this: Delta Gamma took the cake in the Fall 2011 semester for the highest grade point average, coming in at a shocking 3.5. So next time you find yourself contemplating between the Empo and the Library, remember what seems to work for other members of the Greek Community.
Erin is a sophomore studying environmental policy and planning. You may contact her at email@example.com.