Ask A Fifth Year: The Right of Spring

Evan Williams

(Drawing by Annie Raccuglia)

Dear Old and Wise Elder,

The weather has been fairly nice this week, so nice that it’s been distracting me from my schoolwork. Instead of doing homework, I end up going outside and playing frisbee. Do you have any tips for managing time and enjoying the weather?

Many thanks,

An Augur of Spring term

Yeah, I’ve got a tip — stop being a bum and go do your homework! Of course, nothing says you can’t do your work and enjoy the lovely weather. But before I go on, I must apologize for declaring that “we killed winter” a couple of weeks ago. Obviously this was a premature celebration as Zombie Winter attacked with a vengeance last week. However, it looks like we successfully shot it in the head and don’t have to worry about him again until next year’s sequel — knock on wood.

Anyways, of your nearly seven months at Lawrence this year, you’ve spent a majority of it in chilly to freezing weather. So it’s natural to want to kick back and enjoy the warm weather, and it’s your right to take advantage of the warm weather. However, your Lawrence professors want to make sure you get your $46,000 worth of work and sleepless nights as well.

A great way to enjoy spring inside the bubble is to take your homework outside. As long as it isn’t raining, the weather is nice enough to take your books, laptop and notes outside. The fresh air is good for creative and philosophical thought.

However, math and science majors may want to stay inside, as artificial light and filtered air is better for number crunching and other geek-related activity. I merely joke, my dorky friends! You guys are gonna rule the world by inventing the next gadget I get addicted to.

A popular spot for doing homework in the spring is Main Hall green. However, Augur, you have issues with distraction, and the green is a popular place for tossing the old plastic saucer. Therefore, you may want to look at alternative outdoor spots.

A beautiful but little-used spot is the Chapel green. It’s kind of hidden from view when looking from the other side of College Ave., but behind the Chapel parking lot and is a wide open space great for relative solitude.

The stairs of the Chapel also seem to be a nice place to work. The pillars look like they offer nice back support and when there’s not a concert or something, no one will bother you while you work — except, of course, for the occasional voice major belting out for no apparent reason while they walk to and from the Con.

But never fear! Those not of the conservatory persuasion or those too scared to venture over to the dark side of College Ave., there are quiet outdoor study areas for you too! There’s a nice area with a few chairs and a couple tables outside of the back entrance of the third floor of Warch, behind Sage. There’s a beautiful view and I rarely see it occupied.

Also, if you live in Hiett or Ormsby, the area between these two dorms has a couple of nice benches. However, some days there seem to be a lot of cars using that path, which may be distracting. Also, some of the smoking residents of these dorms either don’t know how far 25 feet is or just don’t care about anyone else’s health, and choose to smoke in this area — hint hint, cough cough.

Another nice area is Hawthornden. This is the area between Colman and Brokaw with the statue of the girl and a few trees. Despite the fact that one of the few memorials of the great Milwaukee-Downer tradition on campus is a lousy six-by-six-foot patch with a sign, Hawthornden is a beautiful and peaceful area that can be good for studying.

If you’re like me and going out in this weather can ignite a torrent of sneezes and other allergic reactions, you can have the best of both worlds in indoor areas like the Con lobby, whose glass ceiling lets in every ounce of sunlight.

I also like areas in the Mudd, such as the third floor — which is quiet and has a nice view of campus though the windows. The Science Hall atrium is also nice. But even simply opening your dorm room blinds and windows can brighten your day.

Of course, now, by telling everyone where the optimum outdoor study places are, maybe they will become packed and people won’t use the Main Hall green anymore. So maybe, Augur, you’ll be able to have your cake and eat it too on the green – wow, that wasn’t witty at all, it’s like I’m not even trying…

Also, procrastination is always a great option. The hours of 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. were meant for homework so we could slack off during the day. So go ahead and play some frisbee, or watch those people who hit each other with foam swords — heck, go and join them if you please!