Tips for first-years: don’t push your deadline in the UB

To make the transition to a new life in a new city a bit smoother, UKrant‘s student editors give their top tips over the next three weeks. Today: don’t push your deadline in the UB.

Looking for a spot that embodies student life the most? Step through the turnstiles of the city centre Universiteitsbibliotheek, or UB for short. What seems like a simple library is in fact a vibrant human ecosystem spanning four floors, crowned by an extensive terrace with a picture-postcard view of Groningen. It’s a place where I always come to find tranquility, meet friends, or, in the worst case, confront looming deadlines.

Most of the time, I crash on the second floor. For those who wish to experience that dark academy vibe that social media and Harry Potter movies promised, a geuine piece of history awaits there. It will catch your attention immediately – a long shining desk with movable drawers made out of sturdy dark wood that magically turns back time.

Usually, I choose to sit there to romanticise the academic pressure right beneath the elegant antique lamps. That is, if my laptop is charged, as the only thing missing from the table is electric sockets. But then, I don’t think they needed this luxury fifty years ago.

The fun stops, however, with every upcoming exam season. Around then, UB becomes somewhat of a stress factory with students mingling and coffee in the cafeteria’s machines running excruciatingly low. Sitting by the door is simply not worth it then, as your lo-fi hip-hop study beats will be interrupted by several slams per minute or enthusiastic debaters in the hall.

My ultimate tip? Closing time in the UB is not your friend on the night of your deadline. Although writing your essay at the very last minute might seem tempting for perfectionist procrastinators like me, the UB clock speeds up your departure from the building by five to ten minutes.

Such an inconvenience leaves you sitting on the cold stairs right in front of the entrance, tapping on the keyboard of your laptop like crazy while a nearby group of tipsy students contemplates whether they should get Domino’s or McDonald’s. Quite a humbling experience, I must say.

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