Students shouldn’t need to be policed into respecting quiet study spaces

We’re not children, we should be able to adjust our behaviour to the places we’re in

Take your crinkly snack bags and your loudly whispered conversations some place else Photo by Andres Chavarriaga / The Peak

By: Kitty Cheung, Staff Writer

Last week, a fellow student sat beside me in the sixth-floor computer lab of the library and proceeded to watch a sports commentary video on YouTube. With the noise leaking from their earbuds, I couldn’t help but look up from my screen, distracted. This person then pulled out a family-sized bag of potato chips from their backpack and munched, loudly. They weren’t pulling out single chips to snack on discreetly, either. These were face-stuffing handfuls that left their entire palm encrusted with chip dust. 

Aside from the obnoxious crunching of both the chips themselves and the crinkly bag that contained them, this student would also lick the chip powder from their hands and then continue to handle the keyboard and mouse of a communal computer. Half in the voice of Damian from Mean Girls, I thought to myself, “Do you even go here?!”

Shuddering in my seat, this led to me to think about what better policing measures could be put in place to ensure that designated “quiet” study spaces actually remain quiet. Should students in the surrounding area give death glares to silence the perpetrator? Should incessant chattering between desk partitions be followed by passive-aggressive shushing? Should a level five offense of high-volume trap music leaking from headphones be acknowledged with a polite tap on the shoulder or an eraser thrown at the head? 

Ridiculous proposals aside, there shouldn’t be any need for quiet study spaces to be policed by security guards or the like, because we as students should understand how to not be obnoxiously distracting assholes. 

Hear me out. Most of us studying on this campus are university students. In other words, we should all have some basic knowledge of adulting and therefore know how to respect each other. Designated quiet study spaces can be a productivity paradise; based off of our individual study habits, there’s a reason why we choose to seek refuge in a silent area. Why tarnish the sanctity of this space with the crinkling of your granola bar wrapper? Why choose to hold a 40-minute loud-whispered conversation with your friend if you could talk literally anywhere else, for example, the staircase a few metres away? 

Really, the concept of a quiet study space is simple. If you’re having trouble understanding the courtesy of studying quietly in a space shared by fellow students, if you need someone to launch their pen at you to figure out how to behave in public, then buddy, there’s a whole slough of problems that are plaguing you (and unfortunately, others around you too). 

Please, for my sanity and for the sanity of our fellow silent studiers, learn how to respect these spaces or else don’t ruin them for others.