If you’re a university student, you might be lucky enough to have access to a 24 hour library. We have one right here on campus. If you ever risk travelling into one of these places, which most people prefer to ignore the existence of, then you might notice a few characters that are hanging around.
- The noisy people. Yes, the ones eating crisps or yapping away on their phones- generally talking about how dull the library is.
- Children: Now, take this as either actual children or university students who enjoy acting like children but they basically end up meaning the same thing. They’re loud and enjoy racing around on their spinney chairs. They’re the ones playing real life pack man and hide and seek.
- Three, two, one… The last minute lot. Yes, they have a 5,000 word assignment due in. Tomorrow. And it’s already 10pm and they’re all sat together complaining that they don’t know what they’re doing.
- Zzzz… It’s the nap timers. Now, I have only seen one of these in my library, but he was always asleep. Now, I know he must have woken up at certain points because his textbooks/computer screen changed every so often and I know the library has a policy on not letting people live there (despite it being 24 hours, vending machines and includes showers). But wow, he took his naps when and where he wanted!
- Finally, you have the regulars who simply never seem to leave. They have their own spot which they always sit in, and they like to have a pile of large text books beside them- to lay their heads on when they want to sleep of course, not to actually read. Though you don’t actually see them sleeping, in all fairness you probably never seem them move from their seat.
Now, here’s another confession of mine: I’m a library regular. And I don’t mean that lightly. It’s almost 8.30am and I’ve been in the library since 6pm last night, on a Saturday night. I was on my own, as I like it for a productive library session, and managed to read a dozen or so articles on gun crime for my dissertation, write 3,000 odd words for my novel (Woo, supressed 20k now!) and watched an episode of Atlantis- the new TV series on BBC.
But you know it’s becoming a bad habit when the security guards start asking if you’re ok, and if you ever sleep.
In fact, this security guard I’ve not seen after one of my alnighters before, though he’s worked at our library for years. He wandered past as I was reading a textbook on Crime and Human Nature, trying to analyse to what extent schools can be blamed for criminal behaviour, when he stopped and asked if I was ok. Now, he didn’t sound worried or anything, just a casual question. To which I smiled nervously and said I was ok.
Then he said something that really shocked me.
“You’re going to be a doctor one day.”
Now that really shocked me. Obviously, he had known that I’d been there most of the night since he must have come in about midnight or so (you know you’re in there too much when you have a vague idea of their shift patterns!). But it seemed a strange assumption. I laughed and just shook my head automatically.
I’ve played with the idea of doing a PhD ever since I started university, and recently I’ve been toying with the idea of doing one in America though that would almost definitely require several years of working to save up the money. But the more I do my masters dissertation, the more I feel that I’m laying the base of what I want to do at PhD level, which makes me think I may consider doing it over here. I’m relatively fortunate in the fact that my government partially funds any university degree we may take within strict guidelines, whereas UK students don’t have that privilege so it’s something I feel I should take advantage of while I have the passion to do it.
On the other hand, I’m not entirely confident in my academic ability to manage one. While I was confident at undergraduate level, it took me three years to build up to that- and going onto a masters I’ve been completely thrown! Which is why it struck me as ironic that the security guard assumed that I was smart enough to be a doctor purely on the basis that I had my head in a textbook at 6am this morning. When, in fact, to me having to do a 13 hour shift in the library indicates that I need to put in extensive effort to even reach average.
I’m not going to lie, being able to put Dr. before my name is always going to be the dream. But it’ll take a lot of consideration and thought to decide whether that security guard saw something in me that I’m doubting right now.