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A Call For Increased Weekend Study Hours And Locations At BC

At a certain hour of the night, the lights in Stokes are not motion-detective. No amount of jumping around the room or waving at the fluorescents will stop the lights from flickering. “Time to go,” the maintenance crew barks. “The building is closed.”

I feel the same way about not having a place to study on a Saturday night as I do about using the Oxford comma—the subject makes for a lame debate, but the dork-factor doesn’t outweigh my passion enough to prevent me from picking a fight about it. On weekends, Bapst closes at 6 p.m., O’Neill and academic buildings are shut down by 10 p.m., and Walsh Hall, the place I proudly call home, is not an environment conducive to learning on a weekend night.

This past Halloween weekend was not the first time I’ve been lamely upset about having to stop working—and it sure as hell won’t be the last. Instead of spending Saturday night in the library writing a paper due on Monday—an attempt to proactively ease my Sunday-morning stress level—I ended up in my common room the entire night, hanging out with friends.

Yes, good company is healthy. No, I do not regret having fun on Halloween—nor do I regret having had fun on other nights that I had fallen short of achieving similar ambitious goals. A decision was made at the beginning of the night, however, to do work, which is the type of decision the University should support, not suppress.

Right now, the library hours represent a surrender of the University to the social life on campus—an acceptance of bad student habits as opposed to striving to fix it. It’s not about active campaigning against drinking on the weekend—it’s about simply giving students the opportunity to opt-out.

The entire scenario is comically backwards—students want to study, and the University prevents them from doing so. Libraries don’t open for 24 hours a day until finals week, which is good and fun, but midterms week is every week. The tests and papers throughout the semester that arguably affect overall academic performance even more than finals are given less attention and less time.

During finals, campus shuts down. Extracurricular clubs stop meeting, classes cease, and the expiration date of each course nears with one assignment left in sight. Midterms season—which I would argue is less of a defined “season” as it is a perpetual state of being—requires juggling all the prongs of student life. Expect us to keep a rockin’ GPA, be involved in five clubs, and tend to personal health? It’s going to require studying on a few weekends. If the students understand that fact, why doesn’t the University?

My frustrations aside—I understand the University’s rule. I am well aware that I am not in the majority when it comes to favoring productive Saturday nights over fun ones. I also don’t have a solution to my problem, having not studied operational costs or logistical factors that are involved in having a building open 24 hours that, realistically, not many people will use. I simply think the fact that an actual University policy is a huge contributor to the social temptation to party on the weekend is a sad testament to the reality of BC’s drinking culture.

Let’s compromise, BC. You promise to keep a building open until midnight on weekend nights, and I promise to keep my lame factor at a steady studying-on-nights-of-hockey-games level.

Boston College is a work-hard, play-hard school. That’s a fact. I’m not even saying that it’s a bad thing. All I want is the option to do one or the other. All I want is the chance to feel proud about choosing to have a productive Saturday night. All I want is for the lights in Stokes to stop flickering.

Featured Image by Tatiana Petrovick / Heights Photo

November 2, 2015
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