Finals time has arrived, and this being Harvard, EVERYONE is hitting the books. Luckily, Harvard has anticipated our crazed desire to study 24 hrs/7days a week and has scheduled a ten day Reading Period in which classes are canceled, meals are plentiful, and the campus is abuzz with chapter reviews.
It is during this time of year that the colloquial term “Lamonster” takes on added meaning. Lamont is the College’s 24-hour library used by undergraduates looking to overdose on work. It provides every work environment imaginable.
On the first floor, you will find a café operational until 2 a.m. where students can purchase sandwiches, cappuccinos, pastries, and sushi, or can grab any assortment of snacks from the vending machines. The Café is a social work area where students are welcome to talk about work, complain about work, or chit-chat about everything BUT work, while sitting in lounge chairs and throwing their feet up.
Because pictures are not allowed in Lamont during Reading Period, here is a picture I grabbed off of Google Images. This is the Lamont Cafe, but imagine it packed to the brim with students.
Need to get some real work done? No problem, just head back a little further on the first floor to the quiet study section, where you will find an open workspace filled with more lounge chairs and cubicles. There you can still feel part of the world as you shoot silent glances across the room to your roommate or watch your friend from Life Sci receive your Facebook chat asking about the third question on the problem set.
But find even that much interaction too distracting to be productive? Try the second floor where there are desks set up among the stacks or the third floor where there is another quiet study room with more cubicles and fewer lounge chairs.
Ahhh! You just got a text from your Spanish partner reminding you that you need to finish up that group project tonight, and Lamont Café is too full! Not a problem, there is a large group-study space in the basement with plenty of large desks to spread your stuff out, and swivel chairs.
Right now, you might be thinking, “Gee… Lamont Library really has everything a person might need… food, comfortable chairs for naps, study space, books, computers, friends to talk to, and it NEVER closes.” And you would be right. Thus, the Lamonster. The Lamonster is the terrifying creature within us all that lurks the bookshelves late into the night and doesn’t ever leave. The Lamonster eats, sleeps, and works all in the same building, only glimpsing the sun through the windows and only venturing outdoors to go to class. The Lamonster is very, very real. And no time is more conducive to Lamonster behavior than Reading Period.
As I sit in one of Lamont’s first-floor lounge chairs, I can hear the pitter-patter of fingers on keyboards, the scratch of pages being turned, and the faint tin of various types of music blasting through earphones. I have not become a Lamonster today. Soon I will pack up my studying and head home to Pennypacker. But last week was a different story.
I have a very strange exam schedule. I had my two-part Spanish exam last week during Reading Period (I know, I thought this strange too) and my 15-page final paper in Celtic History due last Friday. While this was a completely manageable amount of work, I spent quite a few hours in Lamont. Because I am easily distracted and find that I cannot help but talk to every single person I recognize when work is the other option, I worked on the third floor… for a looooooonnnnngg time. As I am not guaranteed that my teachers (or my mom) will not read this, I will not tell you just HOW late I was up the night before my Celtic paper was due, but let’s just say, that it was very, very late… or should I say early?
But even I have to admit, it’s kind of cool to have a place to go when you’re uber-stressed about a test, a paper, a presentation, and find a community of equally hard-working students! It can be depressing to see the light of the early morn in you room by yourself after a night of work, but in Lamont, you are always guaranteed to have company. I should also note here that not everyone at Harvard becomes a Lamonster. If you have even half-decent time management skills and place even a little value on sleep, you will be a perfectly healthy and happy student with good study habits. But if you happen to be like me and have no ability to manage time and a propensity to put assignments off, just know, you will never be alone in Lamont!
UPDATE: Upon seeing this blog post, my roommate referred me to this new website called Sleeping in Lamont, which I find to be HILARIOUS and very relevant. Enjoy!