A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Quarantine has made all of our productivity suffer and it’s really unfortunate. I know many of us have shared or written posts on productivity and motivation but I don’t really have tips on how to cope without the UB, this is more a post to express and hopefully share my woe with others. I believe some of us can go with booking and strict measures, but the majority of us are uprooted and away!
I normally dwelled in the University Library. Before Quarantine started, living there would help me keep up, even study ahead if I liked a class. I felt so motivated to work and I had an environment I had come to love. This had been my rhythm since my first year and I’d walked into the library starry-eyed in my first week. My friends and I were often in the library and we took breaks together, went for walks and motivated each other, shared snacks in the cafes and had far too many stamps for free drinks accumulated. Treating ourselves to the occasional matcha latte was tradition, packing extra snacks to share was the norm, having our favourite spots where we sat together was a given… We had a running joke of how we lived there, how we would haunt it if we died. One of the most common questions sent in our group chat was ‘who at lib?’. It’s somehow still a running joke now.
I’ve often loved the odd social yet not social studying of the library. You don’t know most of the people around you but you all silently force each other to study. Sometimes, you get distracted by someone’s water bottle or laptop cover… But you still have an environment.
I found that even if I wasn’t productive, I was more productive there than I would have been at home. Maybe it took four hours to do one reading, but at least I was doing it. At home, Blackboard wouldn’t even have been opened. Anywhere else it wouldn’t happen. Sometimes, I’d go to the library if I needed to sort my life out too, sending emails, sorting out my folders or writing blogs.
I would sometimes be in the Library from 10 to 10. But when I got home, I could just relax. This was my space to rest and wind down. These trying times have made it harder to compartmentalise in that sense. There’s only so many times I can reorder my desk and the lack of social studying will make me open reddit one too many times.
Of course, I have had to learn to adapt. The two tips I have, that you may not have thought of, are as follows:
1) if you study in your bedroom, put your mattress up or put something on the bed that takes a lot of effort to move, my friend uses his weights!
2) Invest in a writing slop or laptop stand, they’re pretty affordable these days. If you’re going to sit there and pretend to be productive, at least you’re not going to destroy your back. And if you’re actually productive, then you’ll feel even more accomplished knowing that your posture didn’t have to suffer for it.
Unfortunately, I’ve moved back home so I don’t know if I will even get to study at the UB before I graduate. But you can bet I will be going back there to actually say my goodbyes, perhaps with my library buddies. (I hope they allow us to go back without having to pay just the once!)
Tell me about your library love, or your fun rituals and memories! I’d love to yearn together!