Where Should You Go To Study? The Ultimate Swarthmore Library Quiz

The looming weight of this decision haunts you wherever you go; night and day you feel it nagging, worrying you, hovering over you with seemingly life-altering consequences. The choice you must make again and again, every new day, sometimes multiple times a day. It’s there waiting for you when you get out of class, when you leave Sharples with a takeout container in hand, when it’s 10:30 p.m. and that paper is due by midnight. 

Every Swat student must answer the constant, all-important question: “Where should I go to study?”

Yes, it may at first glance sound trivial, but the location you choose for doing your work will drastically affect your productivity, likelihood of mental breakdown, and/or quality of nap. College students are notoriously bad decision makers, so how are you to know which choice is the best? Gone are the days of walking aimlessly around McCabe second floor looking for a good spot, circling so many times that the other students wonder if they’ve fallen into a time loop. Now, all you need to do is take this quiz and find out where you should go to study. 

1. A generous Swarthmore alum offers you one of their three fine houses for you to live in (tax-free!) because you helped to save their favorite tree on campus from a terrible disease. Which do you choose?

a. A beautiful, stone cottage in the woods. It’s spacious but still cozy. There are bees and flowers. If the animals started singing cute songs, no one would question it. It’s almost always sunny.

b. A huge castle that stands on a cliff overlooking the ocean. The stone walls and turrets make you feel like you’re royalty. There are big fireplaces and grand staircases. You can hear the sound of the waves from your chambers.

c. An extravagant city apartment. It has huge floor to ceiling windows, sleek, modern decor, and men who operate the elevators for you and wear cool uniforms. It even comes with the largest wine fridge you have ever seen.

2. You run into your last lecture of the week exactly four minutes and 26 seconds late, and slide into your seat, thankful that the professor is so busy trying to set up the projector that they have not even noticed. Why were you late?

a. You kept stopping to take pictures of plants. It’s not your fault: the plants are there and who are you to not take pictures of them? That would just be rude.

b. The weight of the world and your backpack just got too heavy.

c. You had to get coffee before you came to class. You needed it. But you definitely were not going to get up early to get it. A sacrifice had to be made: it was tardiness or lack of caffeine, and the latter was not an option.

3. What is your favorite liminal space on campus?

a. The Crum Woods at dawn. There are definitely fairies and the path changes where it goes based on how it feels on that day. If you stay there long enough you’ll probably start reciting medieval poetry, but that’s just how it is sometimes. 

b. Sharples patio anytime between sunset and 2 a.m. You can see nothing beyond the circle of eerie light that emanates from the lamps. Groups of people randomly appear and walk into Crumb as if they had not just materialized from non-existence. The stones on the ground contain secret messages.

c. Parrish basement, all the time. The corridor never ends, but simply repeats again and again. Every time you go down and return you are in a slightly different version of reality. The vending machine hums benevolently, but you are not sure if the snacks exist or not.

You’re almost there! If you answered A two or more times, go to question 4. If you answered B two or more times, skip on down to question 5. If you got C for two or more, please proceed to question 6. And, for those of you who were chaotic and got three different answers, go to question 7.

4. A tricky goblin offers you a trade: your phone will never run out of charge, but you have to sacrifice one of the Sharples desserts. You have read many fairy tales, so you know making deals with goblins is probably not the best life decision, but this opportunity is too good to pass up. Which sweet treat will you choose to murder?

a. Make your own ice cream sundae: it’s basic and you’re vegan.

b. Marble cake. It isn’t chocolate but it’s also not vanilla, and overall it’s just not that good.

c. You don’t really care, you have three pints of Ben & Jerry’s in your dorm room.

Now that you’ve answered, go to the bottom to find out your result!

5. You decide to go to a wild party, which, legend has it, is happening at a magical and mysterious location known as “Olde Club.” You do not know what to expect but you venture across the land to find out. You show up and it’s just as crazy as you had heard. At what point during the party are you having the best time?

a. When everyone is dancing and singing to “Don’t Stop Believing” at the top of their lungs!

b. When you finally find a quiet space for you and your fearless friends who accompanied you to talk to each other, eat snacks, and laugh at the partiers’ dancing.

c. When you leave. It was so loud and sweaty in there.

Now that you’ve answered, go to the bottom to find your result!

6. You are doing a really stressful lab when the fire alarm in the building goes off. Apparently, someone did something wrong (but fun) with chemicals and now the whole floor is evacuated and closed down for the week. You go outside and wonder what you should do now that you are free from the chaos of lab for the day. What do you decide?

a. You go find your friends! You know they do not have class and you guys can do something fun for the rest of the day.

b. You try to sneak back into the building. First of all, you are really curious about what happened, and second of all, you left your lab notebook in there. 

c. You go back to your dorm and start on your next paper – you have so much to do that you cannot possibly waste this extra time that has been given to you by your guardian angel working through the stupidity of teenagers with dangerous chemicals.

Now that you’ve answered, go to the bottom to find your result!

7. You work hard for years and years and finally achieve everyone’s ultimate childhood goal: you become an astronaut. Through some trickery, the details of which are vague and mysterious, NASA has rewritten the laws of physics so now it is possible for you to travel all around the galaxy in a big and comfortable ship! As you’re packing your bags, you realize you don’t have much room left, and you have to leave one of the following three things behind. Which do you abandon (keeping in mind you get to bring the other two)?

a. Your extensive stuffed animal collection. You don’t really want to leave them but you don’t know what high-speed velocity and strange altered physics might do to them, and you are not willing to take that chance. 

b. Your shoes. It’s space! Who needs shoes? Socks are so much more comfortable and zero gravity does wonders for your arches. 

c. All of your notes and textbooks from astronaut training. They would definitely be useful out there in space, but it will probably be fine, and besides, no one is grading you on preparation … hopefully.

Now that you’ve answered, go to the bottom to find your result!

Question 4: If you answered…

A: You should go to Underhill upper floor in one of the comfy chairs. You can try to get work done, but chances are you will end up asleep. Naps are necessary too.

B: Underhill upper floor at the round tables is the place for you. Not only can you sit with a friend if you want, you can also monitor who comes in and out of the building. Not that you need to do that, but sometimes you are desperate and anything is better than homework.

C: You should go to Underhill basement. This is a place that some are not convinced exists, so if you do go, be aware that you may never return. These are the chances you take.

Question 5: If you answered…

A: McCabe second floor is the perfect spot for you! Maybe you want to be able to talk to friends, maybe you like sitting in weird pod chairs, maybe you just want some good lighting for a change. 

B: You should head up the endless stairs to McCabe third floor. It might be a trek, but when you get there you’ll be able to hear yourself think (if you have thoughts). Plus, you can enjoy watching the tiny, tiny, people on the paths below. 

C: It seems that you are in need of McCabe basement: The Bunker™. You have work to be done and it needs to get done. The chances are that you will end up here at some point after midnight and the stacks may or may not swallow you whole. Good luck.

Question 6: If you answered…

A: You should go to Cornell first floor. You can work through problems with friends and classmates. Or, even better, you can eat muffins from the Science Center Café and bond over your confusion with friends and classmates.

B: You are in need of Cornell Lower Level. Only slightly haunted, this is the least spooky of the library basements. You get the comfort of some stacks but you are not so surrounded that you will get lost and wander into another dimension. It’s a win-win.

C: Cornell Upper Level is where you need to be. The studious energy radiating from the books and the other incredibly stressed students will aid you in your work. However, if you dare speak a word, the library will mercilessly teleport you to an unknown location. You have been warned.

Question 7: If you answered…

A: You should head back to your dorm. Your home away from home. It’s definitely not healthy to shut yourself up in a tiny space and work for hours without seeing another soul, but you need to get the work done sometimes. Besides, you have snacks, and you can wear pajamas.

B: You have been inside in classes all day, it is time to study outside. Find a bench or a wall or a table. The campus is beautiful. You might even befriend a local squirrel or chipmunk!

C: Realistically, you have no intention of studying right now. Work is not currently in your immediate future (even if it should be). Go eat something, have fun, watch a movie, call your parents. When you are ready to be productive, the decision of where to go will still be there, waiting for you.

1 Comment

  1. Writing this comment from the solitary alternate dimension of Underhill Basement… finally, I can complete my studies in peace and quiet! This quiz is foolproof!!

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