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[Live Blog] Living In The Library For 24 Hours

Finals SZN is officially upon us, folks. If you’re anything like me, you have yet to begin studying and are beginning to feel awful about yourself and your future and just can’t stop wondering how the hell Blake Gillikin has a 4.0. I decided to live in the library for 24 hours to force myself to study for my finals and to navigate every room in this building.

Follow along for a 24 hour play-by-play of my library adventure. 

5:30 p.m.: The lobby by the Curtin Road (back entrance) is packed. An elevator is out of service. Tensions are already high.

5:35 p.m.: I make it to fourth floor’s Life Sciences Library and scavenge the only table open. It is time to grind. 

5:45 p.m.: Seven girls head into the bathroom at once. A male has been watching TikToks on his phone for 15 minutes straight. 

5:53 p.m.: The girl next to me was thrown out of a group chat. She’s pissed. The Chads and Brads of Penn State are pissed that she is speaking so loud.

6:12 p.m.: A group is meeting to discuss their final project. Male 1 is beginning to raise his voice because Male 2 is just not getting it. Male 1 has taken over Male 2’s computer in frustration. 

7:15 p.m.: Dinner time. Fellow staffer, Ava Brendgord, joins me for a five-star meal at Starbucks. My dinner consists of a ham and swiss sandwich and a grande Irish cream cold brew. We eat near the staircase leading down to Knowledge Commons. I feel like I’m back in Rome looking at a chandelier like that.

8:05 p.m.: Next, we venture to the Harry Potter Room with Dana Nunemacher to see what all the hype is about. The ~vibes~ are too intense. The kid next to me is listening to “Marvin’s Room.” Chem 110 isn’t that deep, man. Take it easy.

8:10 p.m.: I have sent two emails in my 2.5 hours here. That is all. Pray for me.

8:47 p.m.: I move to Knowledge Commons. It was tough to find a seat. Someone got a stain on their shirt. Someone else had a Tide To-Go Stick. Life is good in KC. 

10:00 p.m.: Mood: Starbucks barista attempting to spell “Colleen.”

10:40 p.m.: I venture into the Stacks for the first time. I quickly realize that the kids who study here are braver than I am, so I promptly leave.

11:04 p.m.: I go up to the fifth floor where I find a puzzle and naturally have to contribute. One of the books on display was about teaching kids that Santa isn’t real. Dick move, Penn State. Dick move. 

12:32 a.m.: Social media is dry. I have resorted to looking at my Venmo feed. The consensus is that all anybody purchases nowadays are Claws, Ubers, and Juul pods. 

1:25 a.m.: Fifth floor Paterno was simply not it, so I start to go down floor-by-floor to get some exercise. Fourth floor, best floor — y’all can’t change my mind.

1:35 a.m.: Third floor Paterno easily has the best seats. If it wasn’t so deserted, I would’ve slept here. The best find of the night so far was this token piece of paper. Eric B., you tryna pay my tuition with that salary????

1:40 a.m.: Second floor Paterno is… fine? There’s really nothing special about it. The type of people who go to bed at 8 p.m. like to study on this floor.

1:45 a.m.: Hello, janitor man. “Please don’t murder me,” I think.

2:00 a.m.: Back to the Harry Potter Room. Only two other souls are still here. I have to say, I was convinced there would be at least twenty other people grinding it out. Time for me to stretch out on one of those comfy chairs. I feel like Caucasian James.

2:15 a.m.: What better way to spend my alone time than diving into a rabbit hole of Onward State articles? The weirdest thing I’ve read in weeks was the Natty Nittany stories of 2015.

3:00 a.m.: The Ghostbusters vacuum cleaners are fucking cool. I was so tempted to ask the custodian to borrow it for a bit. 

3:10 a.m.: Feeling inspired by Shoeless Male. This sure is not his first rodeo.

5:00 a.m.: These chairs are uncomfortable, and I cannot sleep.

9:00 a.m.: I did it, folks. I fell asleep. Believe it or not, my sleep did not even come close to being the worst place I have slept during my short time at Penn State. As my eyes open, I notice five other people passed out. It was an “I hate my life and want to drop out” themed sleepover <3.

9:15 a.m.: Breakfast time. I order a bagel with cream cheese and a Grande Americano, but I’m a n00b to Starbucks dining, so I get all the way to the fourth floor without realizing I needed a knife for my cream cheese.

9:27 a.m.: We’ve got a Vape Lord among us. Nothing screams “cool” like spitting fat clouds in the library!

10:15 a.m.: I accidentally Airdrop all of the pictures above to a random phone near me, instead of my laptop. It wouldn’t be all that bad, except my username is VapeGod420. Ight, time for me to head out.

11:08 a.m.: A female accidentally played “Mo Bamba” on maximum volume. Her face turned bright red. I almost started tearing up thinking about the sweet, sweet melody that inundated Beaver Stadium on October 19.

12:39 p.m.: I’m sitting next to a window and a solo leaf blew into my peripheral. Just when I think I can’t embarrass myself anymore, I jump. I’m not sure if the coffee is making me jittery or if this place is starting to make me go mad.

2:20 p.m.: It is very difficult to find a seat. I have concluded that individuals who take up an entire table are the worst people ever. I scored a seat in the corner of Knowledge Commons near the vending machines. Vending machines are loud.

2:46 p.m.: Who the hell thought it was a good idea to attach jingle bells to their backpack?

3:15 p.m.: Sitting next to a Starbucks vending machine is just too tempting. For lunch I had a Cold Brew. Nothing says “college student” like coffee as a meal replacement.

3:35 p.m.: I feel guilty for skipping my class, but I wanted to keep this story authentic. Professor Benkiran, if you’re reading this, I am sorry.

3:52 p.m.: The Virtual Reality Center is awesome. My friend and I were able to check out a software that showed storm surges and what different levels of flooding looks like. It’s quite terrifying, so let’s all listen to Greta Thunberg before this becomes a reality.

4:30 p.m.: The Special Collections Exhibition Gallery featured an exhibition called, “Indigenous Roots/Routes: Contested Histories, Contemporary Experiences.” I learned that Penn State was built on land belonging to the Haudenosaunee, Lenape, Shawnee and Susquehanna peoples. The display was really neat, and I am glad that Penn State is featuring this exhibition.

4:52 p.m.: In this back of the gallery is an additional room that is a rendition of John O’Hara’s study, originally from Princeton. He is a Pottsville native, and the room features tons of memorabilia. I would’ve loved to stick around, but the area closed at 5 p.m.

5:00 p.m.: I have made it to the last stretch. I end my night in the Harry Potter Room before I walk out of the Paterno Library at 5:30 p.m. on the dot.

Overall, my experience was positive, though I spent much more time adventuring and people watching than I did actually studying for my finals. The delirium may be getting to me, but I gained a huge appreciation for all that the library has to offer. I do not suggest sleeping here overnight, but I respect the people who do.

My only regret is not asking the janitor to use the Ghostbusters vacuum. I simply cannot stop thinking about my missed opportunity.

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About the Author

Colleen Nersten

Colleen is a washed-up biology grad and former associate editor. Her legacy will live on through stories like “10 Questions With State College Sensation ‘Hot UPS Bae’”. If you’re a STEM girlie, this is your sign to take the leap of faith and learn to write. It’s pretty fun. Colleen misses the hate mail and can be reached at [email protected] or via LinkedIn.

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