Sniffling and claiming spots

Your top five of UB pet peeves

Sleeping students, long phone calls in the hall, spot hogging: these are just some of the things people find annoying in the UB. But the biggest annoyance? The sounds other students make – according to an UKrant survey of 161 students.
By Lyanne Levy / Translation by Sarah van Steenderen / Photo’s Felipe Silva

Johanna Bauer freaking hates it when people around her in the UB won’t stop sniffling. ‘It’s so gross, and all you have to do is go to the bathroom and blow your nose there. It’ll only take a minute.’

A student who’d forgotten to turn off his porn. Everyone in the room heard it as he opened up his laptop

Once, when a girl across from her wouldn’t stop sniffling, the psychology student decided to pipe up. ‘I couldn’t stand it anymore and asked her if she could please get a tissue. She said she had allergies and couldn’t help it. But that doesn’t mean you can’t blow your nose, does it?’

Fellow psychology student Alex Joo agrees. Strangers sniffling drives her nuts. But people who don’t wash their hands after going to the bathroom are also high on her list of things that annoy her. ‘It’s disgusting. Knowing you have to touch the same things as those people: the doorhandles, the computers…’

Someone snorting drugs in the toilet

They’re not the only ones who feel perpetually annoyed when trying to study at the UB. An UKrant poll among 161 library-goers revealed that almost all students are annoyed with each other , with 62 percent saying they got agitated at least once a day. The biggest annoyance is the noise others make. ‘People typing loudly sucks, but I really hate whispering. Some people have entire conversation while whispering, like that’s not talking. It’s still distracting!’ says medical student Mai Bos.

Students crawling through the library with collars on during hazing

Psychology student Roman Meyer was one of 82 students who put ‘noise’ in his list of top three of annoyances. Once, he found a student playing his electric guitar in the hallway. ‘He even brought his own amplifier, which he was actually using. I found a spot as far away from the door as possible.’

Surprisingly, spot-staking – which happens quite often – was only the second worst offence. 71 of the 161 students hate it when people come in in the morning, claim a chair or computer, and then disappear to the cafeteria.

A student who started screaming when security removed her things

For IT law student Sanne Barzilay, this is the main reason to avoid the UB during the exam period. ‘Some people just put their stuff down and disappear for two hours. There are too many people here in the exam period to do that’, she says. The busy period causes a host of vexations. ‘There’s just not enough room. Some people resort to eating their lunches in the stairwell. During the exam period all the tables are occupied, and the noise is just really distracting. Some people sneak food into the rooms. It’s awful. All the rustling.’

Peer pressure

The third biggest annoyance? Tics: people smacking their lips, clicking their pens, snoring. Students cannot stand it. ‘This guy sat down next to me once. He put his stuff down, pulled his jacket over his face and went to sleep’, once student says.

Two people having a messy breakup in the hallway

There are students smoking right outside the entrance when there’s a clear sign that’s not allowed, and students making phone calls in the hallway. Although one student said that eavesdropping on people’s reports of what they did over the weekend was a lot of fun, it’s still distracting. And less fun are  the library employees talking out loud in the quiet zones. One student witnessed an employee getting upset with a girl for drinking water from a cup instead of a bottle. ‘The girl started screaming and had to be removed by security in the end.’

Someone who’d left her things behind for an hour. Her iPad’s alarm went off every five minutes until someone turned it off

Funnily enough, students rarely speak out against their fellow library goers’ behaviour. Only 22 percent of students actually went up to whomever was causing a disturbance. But they should, says UB communication officer Frank den Hollander. ‘We have four floors with 2,200 students. We can’t enforce everything’, he says. ‘Students tell us when people claim spots for too long, but we’re counting on them to exert peer pressure on each other. So please confront your fellow students with their behaviour. It’s the students’ responsibility.’

Gross bathrooms

Putting social pressure on thoughtless peers is one thing, but what if, for example, the bathrooms are dirty? Students have seen it all: semen on the toilet seat, unflushed turds.  One student found three extremely gross toilets that he wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole. ‘They were all dirty in a different way’, he marvels. The fourth bathroom he tried was finally clean enough for him to use.

One girl had claimed six chairs just for herself

Other things happen in the bathrooms, too; one student once saw someone snorting drugs, and another witnessed people having sex. ‘I went to the fourth-floor bathroom during the exam period. I heard them going at it and was like, you do you. I guess they needed it.’

Crying cleaners

Trash is another issue. Over the course of the day, the trash in the coffee rooms increases. People eat entire meals there and leave their crap behind. ‘We’ve found empty pizza boxes stuffed down toilets’, Den Hollander says. Even though cleaners sweep through the building three times a day, it’s not enough. ‘I once saw cleaners coming down the stairs crying because they couldn’t take it anymore.’

People making out in a coffee room

‘People bring their food to the coffee rooms every single day’, one student says. ‘They don’t clean up their trash and I just hate that. I feel bad for the cleaners. Especially late at night, after ten, it’s like all the rules just go out the window.’

But in spite of their vexation, people keep coming to the library. ‘I basically live here’, one student said.

What annoys students the most?


1Other students making noise (50 percent)

2Students claiming spots when they’re somewhere else (44 percent)

3Tics, like lip smacking, pen clicking, loud typing (42 percent)

4Whispering (39 percent)

5Phone calls in the hallway (17 percent)


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