I used to prefer study sessions with friends over studying on your own because it would make study experience less boring. But at the same time, I would rarely accomplish my study goals in any single study session due to distractions such as chatting and frequent study breaks. When a teacher suggested studying in library on my own, I initially rejected the idea but eventually decided to give it a try. But I am glad I gave it a try because it turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. My very first study experience in library convinced me it is sometimes better to get away from everything to improve our performance and sense of clarity.
As soon as I entered the library, I could not help but notice the quiet environment inside the library. The loudest noise inside the library was not of people talking to each other but those of footsteps. This environment was quite a contrast to the outside world where silence has become a luxury. As I started my study session, I was taken aback by my studying efficiency. In just an hour, I had covered more study material than I could expect to cover even in three hours during joint study sessions with friends. I did know distraction can be costly but I had severely underestimated the real cost of distraction. It was another proof people are usually quite bad at multi-tasking.
It is hard not to describe the unique smells I experienced while reflecting upon my first study session in the library. The library furniture must have been there for years yet they still emitted that unique furniture polish aroma. The right temperature in the library must also have helped preserve the smell of new furniture. Similarly, browsing through old books was also a memorable sensory experience. The cardboard smell of the old paper was intoxicating in a unique manner. This reminded me that the source of joy behind a new book is not only due to its content but also the sensory experiences we go through. These experiences include the smell of new paper, the texture of the book cover, and the texture of the paper.
While I was able to concentrate better in the library, I still needed breaks from time to time. But even breaks turned out to be positive experiences as I reflected upon the study material I had just covered. My mind would sometimes also start thinking about things quite different and unrelated to my study material. I later realized being secluded is an effective strategy to brainstorm. Maybe this is why thinkers and philosophers often take break from their work or even their relationships so that they can engage in their best thinking. This may also explain why reading activity is often best done in a secluded environment.
If I were to describe library to someone who has no idea what a library is, I would describe it as a vault for books. Wherever I saw, I found shelves and shelves filled with books. Some books were even older than my grandparents and I could not help but wonder how many generations must have benefitted from those books. When I browsed through old books, the unique cardboard-like aroma was not the only hint at their age. Even the pages had turned yellowish; a clear sign that time takes its toll on everything whether living things or non-living items.
The food was not allowed in the library but it seems even library rules are broken sometimes. People always find a way to accommodate their needs in the face of unfavorable laws and from time to time, I would see library visitors munching on snacks and trying their best to not make a noise which may alert the library employees.
I only went to the library to conduct an experiment whether solo study sessions may be better than joint study sessions with friends but I discovered a whole different world out there. In this fast-changing world, libraries have become one of our most effective connections to the past. Paper books are being replaced with e-books and this does make me sad because it is scary to think of a world without libraries.