The feeling is something I’ve experienced before. I smell the air and I almost recognized it. My senses are somewhat calmed and I feel at peace. In front of me, long tables occupy the spaces. To the side, stacks of bookcases neatly piled up. I look around my environment. Students occupy some of the tables. Their academic arsenal strewn all over the table ; highlighters, pencils, correction pens, calculators, stacks of lecture notes, textbooks, some photocopied.
I smile to myself… it’s definitely that nostalgic feel alright.
I have mentioned before in my entries in the past ; I have always found the library to be a place of sanctuary – my sanctum ; and I have to credit this ‘sacred affection’ to my university days in Canada. It was being exposed to a REAL library which blossomed this affection and deep sense of appreciation for the library.
Having the day off, and not wanting to waste it, I decided that instead of working from home (yes, yours truly still had some unfinished (and never-will-finish) business with his work-related project) I would spend the whole day in the library.
Not to say I can’t study at home, but for some uncanny reason, I find home to be not an ideal place for me to study. Despite having all my facilities at home, I still thought it would be a wonderful feeling to rekindle that ‘library love’ again.
Well, I’m already into my 4th hour here and I still don’t feel compelled to leave, even though it’s close to lunch time. I have been engrossed with my work for more than 3 hours without much distraction (which is a real wonder for me considering I can rarely achieve this triumph feat if I were to study or work at home).
The library that I’m currently in right now is actually a university library. In the past, I have frequented only the local municipal libraries and the feeling is definitely poles apart. I can’t quite reason out the stark difference between a university and a municipal library, but I’m guessing it’s to do probably with the crowd – university library predominantly sprawled with uni students and municipal libraries, well more of grandparents with their grandchildren.
And perhaps again given my appreciative sense of academia, (I’ve named it my 3rd love after God and my family), I find the university library to be generally more appealing.
I have a fond fascination of narrating to people about why I love the library. Some find my fascination and affection for the library to be stupendous; some just call me a freak. Either way I can’t and won’t blame them at all. The library afterall is ‘boring’ if you think about it. There’s really nothing to do except read or study or work. No instrumental music to accompany the budding scholar as he works through his calculus assignment. There’s definitely no chatting allowed, which would definitely make things dull in the first place!
Aha, but that’s where everyone, or at least most people get it wrong. The library is more than just completing a task.
To use a simple anecdote, consider an aspiring or a professional footballer and a football pitch. When the footballer trains, in a way he is working ; he is there for an objective, perhaps to work on his dribbling skills or his physical stamina. Whatever it is, he is working. And he might just enjoy the particular activity he is undergoing. To him, being on the pitch is 2nd nature, feeling the fresh air, or the warm sunshine radiating to his face ; yes it’s tiring and exhausting, it is frustrating when you find you’re missing your header passes or you’re not heading properly. But the very fact you’re trying hard to get better at your game, and because you’re in your ‘space’, you just love the whole feeling. The tiredness, the frustration, those are just part of it which makes the whole experience an intimate and passionate one.
Likewise the same applies to me in the library. Yes it is tiring to just keep on thinking and working, or frustrating when you’re trying to think of how to solve the problem. And yet, in the midst of the exhaustion and frustration, there is joy. Joy in the process of achieving something, be it whether its researching an term paper or writing an article there is joy.
4 years have already passed for me since I left my university days, but that nostalgic feeling still lingers on. In some ways its exciting, and in other ways it’s a relief. It’s exciting simply because I know the time is near for me to return to back to grad school and today being here in the library offers that ‘sneak-peak’ excitement that awaits me when I return back to my 3rd love. It’s a relief because I still haven’t lost my forte. Granted that I’m not actually working on an academic project right now, but the heart and the determination is still there, despite being in the working world for quite some time now.
I’m just glad I got to experience this nostalgic moment today.