It's really cloudy and gloomy outside, but for some reason, I'm not depressed! Usually this kind of weather bothers me, but today I'm feeling cheerful enough. And a little nostalgic.
In the fall semester of 2005 I took probably the hardest college course I've ever had, but the texts were a thrill to read. The course was difficult for me for a number of reasons: #1 I was an undergrad in a graduate course, #2 I was enrolled in five other courses at the time, and #3 I was working two part-time jobs in between classes. Whew! No wonder it was tough! Anyway, this course was Victorian lit, and I remember Wednesdays at the library that semester. Wednesday was my longest day--I was on campus from 9:00 AM to 9:30 PM for classes. In fact, I had four classes that day. After my morning classes, I usually grabbed something to eat at the student union, then headed to the 4th floor of the library (I had a certain area I liked to study in) to the study area near the large south-facing window. If the tables were occupied, then I'd lounge in the soft chairs nearby. I always prayed for seclusion, though that was pretty selfish of me in a university library.
From the time I finished lunch to around 5:30 or 6:00, I was in the library, usually doing nearly a week's worth of assignments for that Wednesday night's class. It's not that I was trying to procrastinate, but this class only met on Wednesday nights from 7:00 to 9:30, and my other five met more frequently. Combined with the number of hours I spent on the job, I usually had time to start the Wednesday assignment sometime on the weekend, then finish it up during my big break on the Wednesday we would discuss it.
Several of my classmates didn't understand how I could spend literally hours alone in the library without going crazy. Many of them wanted to go out with their friends to eat together or go to the bars after class. The last thing they wanted was to be stuck in the library. I didn't mind it.
Being alone in the library gave me a chance to really pay attention to what I was reading, though I usually had to skim the long secondary text articles to save time to read the primary texts more closely. It was an intimate moment with the literature, and great literature it was, too. A few books I remember reading in this class were: Charles Dickens' Bleak House, Wilkie Collins' The Moonstone, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Sign of Four (which is technically a novella). I remember reading much of The Moonstone in the comfy chairs near the window. It was such a cozy spot. I wish I had a cup of hot tea to sip while reading it. Another benefit of reading quietly in the library before class was that everything I read was fresh in my mind for discussion later that night. Yes, I had to do a lot of work for the class, and yes, the semester was very hectic that fall, but by golly, I miss those long evenings of reading by myself in the library.
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