Oh, Reading Period. Brain waves ebb and flow, intellectual juices churn, and students abandon happiness and societal notions of hygiene to write essays and study for exams. Where better to have this scholarly experience than Lamont Library, where during Reading Period, students tend to camp out for days at a time.

The next couple of weeks will not be Lamont’s finest. The study areas will be crowded and hot, the students will be exhausted, and the atmosphere will be one of constant high-stress and intensity. However, if we all do our part, we can make Lamont as welcoming as possible.

Here’s a quick and dirty guide to the rules of conduct that will help you maneuver your experience in Harvard’s 24-hour library during this hectic time.

Be cognizant of how you smell

When people don’t wear socks and then take off their shoes in the reading room, their feet smell. However, as Professor Daniel Gilbert explained in his intro psych class this semester, the senses detect change; a person with smelly feet may not be aware of how much their feet smell simply because they are used to the odor. So for everybody’s sake, if you’re going to Lamont for the long haul, please wear socks. And while you’re at it, stock up on deodorant, toothpaste, and plenty of changes of clothing.

Eat real food, but not in the Reading Room

It’s probably unhealthy to subsist entirely on the mildly frozen California rolls available in Lamont Café for the duration of exams, so do your body a favor and grab some real grub. There are plenty of dining halls close by, and you can always spare a few minutes, give your brain a break, and eat some real dinner.

Be pleasant to others

Let’s think long-term, folks. There’s no need to cut someone in line at the Café, snub somebody of a seat, or be generally rude to your peers. Everybody is going through a rough patch, and you don’t want Reading Period to destroy your reputation for semesters to come. Buck up! It’ll be over soon.

Photo courtesy of Desira/Wikimedia Commons.