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My shit week so far

Tom Fennelly bemoans the library as the most densely populated country in the world

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[caption id="attachment_117835" align="aligncenter" width="640"]Image: Harriet Cheshire
Image: Harriet Cheshire

Once more unto the breach, dear friends. After a mediocre Christmas, deluded undergrads have been greeted with both the reality of paying for central heating and the realisation that exams or essays should actually be started on.

This does mean, however, that the library has been swamped with panic-stricken louts (or, as us third years refer to you lot as, a 'bloody waste of a good seat') as we all look to take advantage of a studious buzz zone and a free source of warmth.

As the University population continues to grow exponentially, with new colleges confusingly coupled with housing crises for the new intake of freshers each year, it comes as a surprise that the University hasn't seen it necessary to expand the capacity of its study spaces as well. This is 21st century Britain and there are people sat on the floor.

The foyer is not too dissimilar to a scene from a London Underground station during the Blitz, while each painful walk along the library bridge is met by the daily game of working out which set of automatic doors will actually be open today.

Fortification isn't going to solve the problem of an absence of seats, although a trip to Ikea with my nine grand might.

Despite my complicated three year relationship with the top floor of the Harry Fairhurst building, I keep learning new things about the place like a goldfish that wakes up every day to learn that he's in a fish tank.

Did you know, for instance, that along the rear wall by the toilets, there are a series of 'research hotels'? What are these and how do I book a room? Are they full-board or bed and breakfast, with a mini bar? Are they perfect for overnight study? Can I book rooms cheaply via Secret Escapes? Just how clear are the views of the adjacent car park, the medical school, and the back of Thief Lane?

On a more serious note, I've never seen anyone use them and no one seems to know what they're for, which very much reminds me of my ironing board.

What's also new is the big, curly banner next to the printer advertising the University's new Safe Zone app. In the age of the selfie, security services are trying to put the smartphone to genuinely good use by creating an app that tells you where security personnel are and what security notices you need to be aware of.

A fantastic idea, no doubt, however, it will be interesting to see how weekday pissheads use it when they stagger home from Salvation dressed as chicken in underwear, messaging an emergency service for an ironic portion of spicy BBQ chicken wings to go with their outfit as well as a pack of Benson and Hedges.

The app might also hit a teething problem this week after every student was sent an email warning about a change to the WiFi settings across campus.

There's now going to be a period where students are yet to reconnect to eduroam, meaning that when they urgently try to message Security Services to warn they're being stalked, they'll have to lead their stalker on a wild goose chase (literally) around campus while they go through the lengthy process of proving to a machine that you are a human student.

You've got more chance of getting a driving license in Russia as a transsexual with a fetish for voyeurism.

What I find worse about being back in the library is the exuberant amount of human interaction that I now need to politely engage in. Everyone at university learns so much in their short amount of time here about themselves, others, and the discipline that they're studying.

So why haven't any of you learnt I think you're all abhorrent people and I don't want to speak to you when I'm working?

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