An Ode to the Smith Center

By Sami E. Turner

What’s the typical “day in the life” of a Harvard student? For me, it’s a never ending cycle of waking up, eating, studying, more studying, and repeating. The only way of peppering up my day is going to a lively study space and spending time finishing up my long list of assignments, but where does this get done?

In my opinion, the best study space on campus is the Smith Center. It’s the closest escape from my dorm, Straus Hall, which may or may not be currently infested by mice. When I hear a mouse squeak in my common room, Lamont or Cabot Library seem miles away compared to Smith, so why would I waste my energy going there?

Now, you may be thinking, why not Widener, the most archaic and grand structure on this campus? Well, rumor has it (it’s not a rumor) you can hear a pin drop while students are studying at Widener, and if you dare to make any noise you’ll be forced out on a walk of shame. Personally, that’s not for me! That’s what brings me back to Smith — its modern architecture, vibrant furniture, and acceptable noise levels, create the perfect environment for me.

Specifically, I am an avid 10th-floor-goer, like many others.

It’s love at first sight when I scan my Harvard ID at the card reader that opens the heavily-guarded gray elevator. With restricted access, the 10th floor allows students to study next to their beloved peers. This allows us to be protected from tourists, which I appreciate as I get tired of them eyeing us down or asking silly questions like, “How do I get into Harvard?” (Spoiler alert: there is no secret formula — see today’s acceptance rate.)

Once you take the quick trip to the 10th floor, you’re greeted with adequate noise levels for collaborative work and blissful study music playing at all times. Nothing makes me more comfortable than hearing pop songs edited to classical tunes, especially when I have to finish a tear-stained p-set. As I walk to my designated couch, I pass rows of vibrant couches, geometric chairs, board games, and pool tables, all of which add to the laid-back college student aesthetic with a fancy Harvard twist.

It would be a crime to not also mention the beautiful views of the Charles River! On the 10th floor, I am able to catch amazing vistas of the upperclassmen houses, the Charles River, and Cambridge. No matter what time of day, the ~real world~ out the window is an extra source of motivation to finish assignments.

It’s easy to say that the Smith Center has my heart <3.

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