A letter, during finals week

Dear Everyone-Studying-in-the-Library-Basement (alongside me),

You’re working really hard today. I can see that your faces are buried into your books, or glowing with the light of your laptop screens. Some of you are furiously plodding away, typing one more sentence, one more paragraph, one more problem set, one more bullet point. Some of you, your eyelids are drooping, your eyes glazing over; you’ve been staring at your chemistry textbook for an hour too long. Some of you, your brain is melting; if you try to squeeze one more factoid into your head, it might break.

It’s Wednesday — day three of your least favorite week in the quarter. Maybe you’re gearing up for your last final; maybe you’re sweating out that big research paper. Maybe you’re dreading it; it’s your least favorite class, your weakest subject, your most dreaded concentration. Maybe you’re loving it, cheerfully plodding away at your favorite field, the most fascinating information you’ve ever learned. Maybe this subject is what you want to study for the rest of your life. Maybe it isn’t.

Either way, lift your eyes from your MacBook and take a look around.

Look at all those people.

The girl with black, square-framed glasses and a French braid, reading a textbook.

The guy with oversized white earphones, drinking Naked juice.

The girl with the gray sweater, playing with her wavy brown hair and texting.

That one.

Those people. All of them.

Each of them have a story. Each have a reason they’re here in this library. Maybe they sweated their way through high school and earned a hefty scholarship that carried them this far into academics. Maybe they’re working three jobs to stay afloat financially. Maybe they have dreams to be a marine biologist, an engineer at Apple, a prolific novelist, a business consultant, a mom. Maybe they come from a privileged background, or a destitute one.

Maybe they have been hurt. Maybe they’re aching for a real friend. Maybe they’re arrogantly assuming they don’t need one.

Maybe they’re content. Maybe they’re broken.

Have you ever thought that maybe, just maybe, the reason you’re in this library is not all about you? About this test?

Think about it.

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