This author, a renaissance man through and through, leads a busy but not especially studious life. So, when the Record asked me to go undercover in the Quiet Room, the lounge-like study space in Paresky that remains deadly silent 24 hours a day, I knew it would prove to be
particularly challenging. The Quiet Room, practically an institution at the College, is home to a very specific type of person, one who is so dedicated to their studies they are willing to enter an environment devoid of distraction (and fun). Some students go through “Quiet Room phases,” never lasting more than a semester, but only a few strong-willed individuals can truly claim membership. The following is my (not at all exaggerated or fictitious) journal accounting my mission there.
Captain’s Log, Day One of Quiet Room Recon: Set up base in one of the armchairs in the Northeast Quadrant of the Quiet Room. Nervously fidgeted in silence for ten minutes, observing the denizens of this strange world in my vicinity. Observed one pair of people (appears to be a mating pair), who seemed to be able to communicate only by long-held eye contact and subsist only on shared sips of coconut water. The low, dim lighting, despite its hindrance to actual studying, seems to have one plus: at least it can double as romantic mood lighting.
Residents seem to feel it’s necessary to surround themselves in a stack of textbooks, course packets and notebooks. Unclear whether this society is able to absorb information by osmosis or whether this is some strange nesting instinct.
I cracked under the silence. Called in backup to come have whispered conversations with me, which seems to have raised the hackles of many of the dwellers. They seem unwilling to break the silence in order to confront us and communicate more efficiently. Fascinating.
Captain’s Log, Day Two of Quiet Room Recon: Entered the Quiet Room and began to play the song “Afternoon Delight.” It took under 30 seconds for one of the inhabitants to ask me to turn off my music — a much faster response time than anticipated. Will have to try again with different genres of music (for science) and see if the response is any different. The inhabitants are also apparently angered easily by humming the tune of “Afternoon Delight” – not sure whether that is simply due to the choice of song. More testing required.
Captain’s Log, Day Three of Quiet Room Recon: Took less than 10 seconds for the Quiet Room-ers to ask me to turn off Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz album, which I always like to blast when I work for its soothing vibes. Their response came in the form of unexpectedly vicious shushing. Current hypothesis is that these inhabitants have, bafflingly enough, spent so much time in here that they forgot what good music is. Their impressive coordination, however, made me think that perhaps the Quiet Room inhabitants are privy
to a clandestine communication method to which I lack access. (Walkie-talkies, perhaps? Telepathy?)
Captain’s Log, Day Four of Quiet Room Recon: I have noticed the
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prevalence of “I heart the Quiet Room” stickers, which I believe are a marker of status. It seems like some sort of queen bee figure has the power to judge whether or not you’ve earned a sticker – stickers cannot be earned without pulling at least five all nighters or witnessing at least one sunrise. Fascinating. I asked for a sticker, but to no avail. Received only a cold, hard glare. Note: I am beginning to feel less and less welcome in this strange land.
Captain’s Log, Day Five of Quiet Room Recon: The feeling of danger has been increasing the whole time I’ve spent here today. I drew an “I heart the Quiet Room” sticker and taped it to my laptop, but the inhabitants were not fooled. I was attacked by one of the lower ranking members, likely trying to gain favor with the higher ups. The inhabitant tried to take away my portable Bluetooth speakers. Never one to conform to societal norms, I decided to stay. I had a job to do here, after all, for science. I put my speakers on full volume, put on my sunglasses and blasted “Turn Down For What.” Down with the quiet of the Quiet Room! No longer shall this explorer be silenced!
This act of rebellion unsurprisingly ended my journey into this unexplored territory. While I admire the Quiet Room inhabitants for their impressive focus and dedication to actually completing academic assignments, I ultimately found their environment to be unsuitable for sustaining (this) human life. There is much to learn from the foreign culture of the Quiet Room, but, unfortunately, this reporter is already too far-gone to benefit from its good influence — my time spent there during this mission will be my last. (No Quiet Room goers were harmed in the making of this article.)