At approximately 10:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2002, Lauinger library somehow transformed into a zoo. Sitting at the circulation desk trying to fully absorb the chaos that is final exams, I wondered how I would manage to complete the absurd amount of work that was to be done in the midst of this madness that was once a quiet sanctuary.

It was clear that there was no way I would maintain enough focus to muddle through the government and economics readings that would undoubtedly make or break my GPA. Nevertheless, what was even clearer was the identity of the beast that could ultimately bring my brief stint in the world of academia to an abrupt end – the cellular phone. They were everywhere.

Although it may seem that I am exaggerating the seriousness of this situation a bit, those present between 9 p.m. and midnight between the 9th and 20th of December can bear witness to the multitude of loud one-sided conversations taking place at the front entrance. The first time my attention was drawn to this transformation I was anticipating the end of a three-hour shift at the circulation desk. I was tired from a brutal day and knew that I needed the tranquil library atmosphere to focus on my much needed studying. What I found instead were various individuals sprawled in the aisles of the fourth floor stacks having not-so-meaningful conversations about significant others and football scores.

While I understand that my finding a good place to study was not a priority on many other peoples’ lists, it was definitely at the top of mine that night. And, as a hardworking member of the library staff, I in many ways find temporary silence a right that I have earned. If I could have paid someone $1 million to find me a decent corner in that place during those 11 or so days, they would undoubtedly have failed.

After that night I was forced to derive a system that I prayed would not fail me. I would wake up at the break of dawn and rush to the library where I was sure I could manage at least four good uninterrupted hours of study time. This was, of course, easier said than done. The snooze button on my alarm clock and excessive amounts of caffeine became my best friends and simultaneously worst enemies. Still, my assumptions about Lauinger’s restored tranquility at dawn proved true.

However, my victory was short lived, for by 10 a.m., the remainder of the Georgetown population found their way to my sanctuary and infiltrated it with the aforementioned hustle and bustle reminiscent of an open air Caribbean market at high noon. Oh, how I came to detest that ridiculous sound the phones made against the wooden desks when vibrating. Or, rather, the Yankee Doodle ring tones interrupting my deep and intense thoughts on East Asian politics. By that time, I had only two hours left to cram three months worth of information on global political systems and two doors down in a study carrel, a grad student spoke in a louder than necessary voice to her mom about her sister’s pending wedding.

As a cell phone owner myself, I could never endorse their ban in the library as they can prove helpful when meeting friends and classmates. However, there are certain aspects of common courtesy that should be respected during a period when other individuals’ level of stress is on the rise. For instance, most phones have a feature that allows them to vibrate – it’s there for a reason. Also, if the nature of the call is of such importance, simply tell the caller to hold and move to a noisier spot where it is obvious those around you will not be bothered by your conversation. Sounds simple, right? Well, it is. After all, one should do unto others what they want done unto them because ultimately what goes around comes . around and karma always comes back to bite you in the you know what.

Prisca Milliance is a sophomore in the College.

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