The Campus Seating Shuffle

Depending on the hour and location, it can sometimes be hard to find a good seat within the study spaces on campus. Some days, one gets lucky and gets the biggest and best table in the house; other days, one wanders campus hoping the next locale isn’t as full as the last.

I was in the café area of our library once, which happens to be one of the most popular places on campus to go do homework. Walking in, I began to scan the area for an open table, and circling the place once, I finally spotted an empty two-person table. I scurried over to claim it and had my hand inches away from one of the chairs when, from out of a nowhere, a white New Era baseball cap whizzed by me and landed on the table.

Have you ever seen one of these mid-air?! It's an experience.

I looked around and saw its owner standing across the room, still in Frisbee stance with his eyes dead-set on my table. I stared at the hat, and then at the owner, my mouth gaping. He simply shrugged in a sucks-for-you sort of way.

And that was the day I was Indiana Jones’d out of a table.

The hardest spot to score a seat on a school night is our campus Starbucks. I mean, with a staff lineup of hot baristas, delicious coffee, and the overall comforting coffeeshop atmosphere, who wouldn’t want to be there? It is not uncommon (at least, not for my friends and me) for people to start off snagging any seat they can find in the establishment (i.e., fitting four people and their laptops around a two-person table) and quietly eyeing all the bigger tables, ready to pounce when one finally opens. Some people will even be so eager as to put their things on the table before the last occupant has even fully gotten up from their seat.

You really have to be nimble when it comes to taking one of the coveted four-person tables though, especially the tall ones right in front of the counter. Sure, you might have longingly had your eye on it for three hours, but if a just-arrived customer grabs it for you, it’s back to sitting sullenly in your rinky-dink corner and hoping the next table opens up soon. It’s happened to me before, and sometimes I’m tempted to take a page from Library Guy’s book and claim my space from a distance like he did; somehow, though, I can easily foresee myself being kicked out of Starbucks for whipping my jacket across the way.

What irritates me most is when solitary people take over the four-person tables on busy nights. Two people I’ll accept, but not one. By all means, they’re the best tables in the house, but when three or more people have to cram into the tiny tables uncomfortably (or worse, try to set up camp on a couch), little love is held towards those lone bodies. It’s even worse when–like last night–that one person isn’t even using the full length of the table, but rather, is reading a book in their hands while my friend and I try to balance our laptops on the perilously narrow (and wobbly) table closest to the constantly-opening door. Why this person hadn’t instead situated themselves in a couch or at the bar by the counter, I didn’t know, but they earned my death glare for a good ten seconds for sure.

Today, my friend and I found abundant space in the study lounge within the business administration building, although the temperature in here is giving me goosebumps. Still. Nice to find some open chairs on our first try.

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2 thoughts on “The Campus Seating Shuffle

  1. Love this post! It’s so true too! I laughed pretty hard at the story in the beginning and you being Indiana-Jones-ed out of a seat. People are intense and competitive about their seating! I’ve found Monday-Wednesday are super busy. Thursday is a not too bad days around. Friday is empty! Saturday pretty light. Sunday is full of everyone who did nothing over the weekend. Ugh. Have to get creative with study spots.

    • I’m dreading finals week… last semester, people ended up just setting up camp on the floor and in hallways of public areas! Not to mention, I had to show up to Starbucks at 6am to scout out a seat. Eek…

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