Finding a study throne: Students search for Sawyer’s best seats

The inside of Sawyer Library looks like an IKEA with a lot of books. The library can seat about half the school, and with so many different chairs to choose from, it is often hard to decide where you want to sit and do your work. While every Eph has his or her own study preferences, the following list ranks the study-ability of almost all the chairs, stools and carrels on all five floors of Sawyer (but not Stetson – we wanted to leave a little bit of mystery).

Carrel Seating: 

5. The uncushioned bench was our favorite – until we tried all of the other options. The bench is uncomfortable, and we have major problems with the fact that you can’t lean back and work because you end up too far from the desk. This bench’s one redeeming quality is that it has a good cushion on which to lean back – but, as we said, only if you’re willing to take a few precious minutes off the work on your desk.

4. The tall wooden stool in the standing carrel, while the best stool in the library, doesn’t do enough for us to garner bronze or higher. Though we appreciate the College’s efforts to provide us with a more health-conscious option in the form of a standing desk, we’re just too lazy to really appreciate it – we’d always rather study sitting down.

3. The raised mat is perfect for a zen master or someone who spends all day meditating. Unfortunately, that doesn’t describe many College students. Again, it has a comfortable back cushion, but the mat itself feels about as comfortable as a fifth-century peasant’s bed. However, if you are like Sophie and enjoy studying on the floor, this is a good spot for you.

2. The black chair in the window carrel is nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. It’s comfortable but not too comfortable – as Goldilocks would say, it’s just right. We like the height and level of cushion, but we resent the lack of adjustability and the stiffness of the back. The chair also looks like a relic from old Sawyer, and we’re a little disappointed that everything besides the books wasn’t immediately burned upon the closing of that library.

1. The winner, by an overwhelming margin, is the cushioned bench. This seating option corrects all the problems we had with the uncushioned bench: it is easy on the buttocks, you can lean back and still reach the desk and, most importantly, it has a side wall so you can stretch your legs out on the bench itself. It was the last carrel we tried, and after an hour-long trek throughout all five floors, we felt like we had finally reached the Promised Land.


(Not-so) Honorable Mentions: orange steps in the Nap Nook (stupidest piece of furniture in the library) and the  long benches in the Nap Nook (you might as well stay home).

11.The wooden stool is only getting a mention so we can bash it. It sucks. The edges are too hard and hit the thighs oddly, making it just plain impossible to study on. This stool’s only good use is for sitting and talking to someone for a minute before moving somewhere else because you are too uncomfortable. And what is the miniature back part even for?

10. The round orange and red chair is an enigma: attractive at first sight, but uncomfortable at first sit. The wide, rounded back left us almost as confused as a pre-frosh (or most anyone, actually) in a 400-level philosophy class.

9. The white stool on the first floor feels cheap. It is extremely unstable (we vigorously tested the instability in every direction until a librarian came to see what we were up to), and Sophie may have taken a tumble. We were also generally anti-stool, as it’s hard to reach your backpack without following (or falling) in Sophie’s footsteps.

8. The big blue sofa/chair caused a lot of controversy. However, in the end, we decided we were ranking chairs based on study-ability, so this one plummeted down the rankings. We loved this chair because it is super comfy and has a great ottoman. It seems like the perfect nap spot, but it is just too damn comfortable for work.

7. Oh, the beanbag – another brilliant chair that isn’t great for studying. The only way its fabric could be more uncomfortable on the skin is if it were made from sandpaper. We highly recommend wearing layers if you are going to study in the beanbags. A nice thing about the beanbag, though, is that you can prop it up how you want and find your own favorite angle. However, it’s hard to escape when you’re done studying.

6. Our biggest problem with the white computer chair with the red cushion is that it is deception at its worst. This chair fundamentally looks like a swivel chair, but it is not, in fact, a swivel chair. Otherwise, the chair is fine, but the swivel-deception prevents it from earning a higher spot in our ranking.

5. The black computer chair is everything that the black carrel chair is not: adjustable, flexible and sleek. We like to think of this chair as a chocolate chip cookie: It meets our needs but doesn’t offer anything too special. We also commend this chair for its smooth swivel.

4. One of the hidden gems of Sawyer is the tall, orange armchair on the main floor. This chair doesn’t come with a writing surface, but it has a footrest that could do the trick in a pinch. The chair itself is excellent for reading and typing, and you can lean on the sides to curl up in fetal position if your workload is really bad. The sides can also function like blinders, allowing you to disappear into your own world as you work.

3. The curvalicious chair that comes in red and purple was a top contender from the start. It is extremely comfortable, but not to the level of the blue sofa/chair; thus, it is still possible to study in without dozing off. The nearby adjustable table is perfect for doing work, even if it kind of looks like a throwback to middle school lunch trays. A minor drawback is that it, too, is hard to get out of, but why you would ever need to leave it is beyond us.

2. Earning silver is the green chair on the ground floor. This baby is versatile, perfect for a fidgety worker who can’t sit in the same position for too long. You can easily sit forward and work on the nearby tables, lean back and relax while you work, or curl up in a ball if you are flexible enough to do that (we were not). The chair also comes with a footstool, and … wait for it … it can swivel!

1. Finally,  the best of the best, the height of study-luxury, the chair that goes where no chair has gone before: the lone, mysterious gray armchair on the fourth floor. This chair is one-of-a-kind; it has an aura of mystery and an other-worldly quality. Where did it come from? (Probably Stetson.) Why is it there? (Someone probably moved it there.) It is likely that we will never know the answers for certain. Instead, we must be content to revel in its perfect blend of qualities that make it the ideal study chair: it is comfortable and homey as well as stately, it has a perfectly-placed head pillow and its recline angle is such that you won’t easily fall asleep. We love this chair, and we hope you’ll love it, too … if you can ever find it.

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