The Hypocrisy: Finals Week, U of M Libraries, and Athletics

Submitted by JohnMick on December 12th, 2009 at 10:36 PM
    As I sit in an uncomfortable chair on a raised counter in the undergraduate library (the UGLI), facing the worst color concrete wall I could imagine, I wonder, why is there not a better place for me to study? It's finals week here at the U (and I'm procrastinating on MGoBlog, what do you expect?), and there isn't ample space for everyone to be studying at once. The overflow from the filled libraries packs the local coffee shops and even there it is difficult to find a good study spot. My first thought was that it is ridiculous to expect the University to provide space for all of its students during finals. After all, there are only ten days out of the school year, at most, during which students would fill the given locations around town.
    But wait! What's that you say?
    The University is in the middle of a nine-figure renovation project to a facility that is only used eight times year, if it's lucky? I didn't even know about that. I guess they care more about athletics, huh? But I'm a student who plans on going to law school, making bank, and giving a lot back to the school. If I can possibly pay my ever-mounting loans back, that is. Why don't they invest in my well-being instead of a bunch of football players, most of whom won't play professionally anyway?
    Oh! Really? The University makes more money off the football team? Shut Up! Athletics ended last year with a surplus?
    Obviously there's a decent amount of sarcasm floating around here, the main point being that I think a University of this caliber and relatively progressive minded administration has what it takes to use some of the athletic budget elsewhere. If you haven't heard, some promises have been broken recently. That, combined with Mary Sue's opposition to the State Legislature's cutting of the Michigan Promise Scholarship, points towards a possible remedy, which I propose should be a commitment of aid from the Athletic Department.
    In times like these, successful organizations need to step up in order to stop the bleeding. The financial prosperity of Michigan sports will not continue in isolation. In other words, the state's economic plight has the strength to bring the Big House attendance numbers down with it. The best way to ensure a turnaround is for increased investment from Athletics into the student body and their financial aid. This is something I am sure Martin's replacement could address, but won't.



December 13th, 2009 at 4:38 AM ^

I would have more sympathy for the OP if he didn't admit to procrastinating on Mgoblog. You can do that anywhere, there's no need to walk all the way to the Ugli to do it.

I mean, I Mgoblogged a lot while in finals week as an undergrad, but I also did most of most of it in the comfort of my own room.

Also, if you haven't, go find some quiet out of the way spot to study for "me time". My personal favorite was 3rd floor of the Lurie Engineering center. Autolab used to be a great place as well, but I hear they relocated that CAEN site.


December 13th, 2009 at 7:49 PM ^

Nope, Auto Lab still has a nice CAEN spot. When in doubt, the Union Tap Room was always nice for non engineers as long as you have an ipod.

What would finals week be without being able to say how long you're studying to your friends while spending half your time on mgoblog? It's the equivalent of the guy that spends half his time at the gym trying to talk to people


December 12th, 2009 at 11:06 PM ^

It's called investment in infrastructure, and it's designed to MAKE money. The stadium renovation is going to (a) pay for itself, (b) pay for the majority of other sports, and (c) increase the Athletic Department's profit margin, allowing more money to be diverted to other concerns such as... and this is just off the top of my head... study space.

Besides, the UGLi is full for approximately 8 days out of the year... 4 days each during fall and winter finals.


December 12th, 2009 at 11:07 PM ^

It is important to find a unique location, whether it be the school of social work international institute exhibit (where i am now), east hall atriums, the reference room of the law library, or an obscure art library. (anywhere but the grad+ugli)


December 12th, 2009 at 11:26 PM ^

First of all, this should not be a diary; trivial bitching and complaining is reserved for the MgoBoard.

Second, the academic and athletic budgets are completely separated. I bet the University makes more in a year from tuition, grants and endowment interest than the athletic department does every year.

Finally, are you seriously complaining about studying in the UGLI? I assume you know about the law library, probably much more aesthetically pleasing than the concrete walls you are staring at. There is also the grad library, the med school library, the B-school library and two or three spots on North campus you could study at if you weren't so lazy.

At least you have a library to study in, I am in my 3rd year of medical school at Wayne State, I live 15 minutes from campus and there was no library for my 1st two years of school here. There is no library within a 15 minute drive of me that is ever open past 9pm.

Stop crying, you make us all look bad.


December 12th, 2009 at 11:37 PM ^

You know how Steve Irwin used to hold the deadly Northwest Polynesian Bongo-Bongo Snake 6 inches from his face, and you would say to yourself, "damn, that dumbass is messing with an angry, stressed, and potentially violent creature in its own habitat..."

That pretty much sums up the risk of entering the Law School generally, and the Law Library in particular, this time of year.

I'm not at UofM anymore, but around here stressed 1L's tend to snap in the general direction of undergrads in the Law building. Just a word of warning: if you get bitten, others will point, laugh, and say, "wow, he shoulda seen that coming."


December 12th, 2009 at 11:56 PM ^

And those type of 'crashers' usually don't create any problems, and go largely unmolested. But don't be fooled... we can always identify the undergrads.

They look way too optimistic about life, as if their souls have yet to be crushed by the oppressive weight of the world. They often appear well groomed, recently bathed, and well rested.

These are not the traits of my people.

03 Blue 07

December 13th, 2009 at 8:35 PM ^

They actually segregate a part of the law library's reading room, and you have to be a law student to sit in the segregated part, which takes up like half the room. It may be difficult for an undergrad to find a seat, honestly. Actually, it may be difficult for anyone to find a seat. When I was there two years ago, it was really hard for actual law students to find a seat, and we had access to the whole room and the underground part as well.


December 12th, 2009 at 11:28 PM ^

I know its on North Campus, but the Dude has tons of space, both in the actual library and scattered around the various atriums and stuff.

Also as an A&D student, I've found that the Art & Architecture has some great corners and stuff to study. I recommend the couches on the East wing, specifically the one underneath the staircase.


December 13th, 2009 at 12:24 AM ^

Not to rain on your parade but I was at the dude tonight and it was jam-packed. Usually you would be correct, most times there's a decent amount of empty spots(although as big as the place is, it's always busy). Weekend before finals though? Not a chance. You better believe all of us over-achieving engineers are trying to ruin the curve. I left after a couple hours of studying because there was just too much noise/commotion for me to concentrate.


December 13th, 2009 at 6:04 PM ^

...if you can get in, that is.

I could be wrong because I've only been in the building a few times, but I could swear that that building requires MCard entry on the weekends, and is restricted to people who have actual reason to be there. It definitely wouldn't be the only building on North Campus like that; I know that the Space Research Building is locked down after-hours too.


December 13th, 2009 at 12:10 AM ^

You should try the Foster library. It's on the 2nd floor of Lorch hall, so it's just a bunch of Econ students. It's really quiet, has some computers, looks nice, and has cozy chairs. Although, it may not be open after 7 pm.


December 13th, 2009 at 10:25 AM ^

in the basement (or was it first floor?) stacks of the Grad library. There are a few tables set up down there and if you are lucky, you can get one next to a window. Because of the maize like layout of the library, the tables weren't the easiest to find so not a lot of people go down there. Of course, that was in the mid 90's. I suppose things could be laid out differently now.


December 13th, 2009 at 11:52 AM ^

The Michigan sports department supports itself, pays the U for the tuition costs and any university housing costs for its scholarship athletes, and thus however much they spend relates not one iota to the rest of the University in terms of how much is spent on either capital projects or whatever.

Now, go back and have some cheese with your whine...


December 13th, 2009 at 12:02 PM ^

"My first thought was that it is ridiculous to expect the University to provide space for all of its students during finals."

1. This is not true. There is plenty of space to study if you look around. And even if you can't find any, work in your room.

2. If you disagree with statement 1, then you should go with your original line of reasoning, rather than the utter crap that you spewed out afterward.


December 13th, 2009 at 1:18 PM ^

...maintain extremely strong focus during a study session I can't recommend the Grad stacks highly enough.

I found the Grad stacks after spending two semesters on academic probation. Following that, I decided my best bet for a turnaround was to find a spot in the Grad where I could study quietly for 5 to 6 hours an evening.

I have no doubt that the time I spent there got me back on the Dean's List and prevented me from academically flaming out of Michigan altogether.

Best of luck.


December 13th, 2009 at 1:42 PM ^

Is probably the worst option you have at your disposal. Have you tried anywhere else?

Also, getting there early helps. The libraries get packed at night, those who show up before noon get the spots. Nothing like spending 14 straight hours at the library!!!


December 14th, 2009 at 12:24 PM ^

I second - the UGLi is NOT the best place to study by a long shot. However, even if you do choose that, as long as you get there before 11 am it's EMPTY on the weekends. You just have to get up in the morning, and really if you're seriously concerned about finals, it shouldn't be that hard to do.


December 13th, 2009 at 2:00 PM ^

Though it was 6-7 years ago, I remember that when the libraries became packed, you just had to branch out into other, less-frequented areas. Try to find some empty classrooms, some off-the-radar buildings, etc. Or just try to study at home.

Picking on the athletic department, though, is pretty dumb. They can provide whatever resources they want to their student-athletes, and since they foot the bill, why freak out? There are enough places on campus to study; it may just require thinking outside the box a bit.


December 13th, 2009 at 6:09 PM ^

Not during finals week. Quiet, maybe; empty, definitely not.

North Campus is general is lousy for study locations during finals week. The Dude and computer labs are pretty much guaranteed to be full (although the CAEN website can help you to figure out if that's actually the case). Your best bet is probably to hole up in a classroom somewhere, although you'd have to find one that hasn't been taken over by one of the thousands of group projects due at that time of the year.


December 14th, 2009 at 8:04 AM ^

I am a graduate student and Michigan is one of the top university's in the world in terms of investment in infrastructure and physical facilities. If the OP would actually open up a copy of The Record (faculty/staff/graduate newspaper), he/she would realize that the investment for academic facilities far outnumbers that of the athletic side of the university.

I have zero sympathy for the OP. There are thousands of quiet places he/she can study. When I was studying for my quals and prelim my favorite places to study are in the basement or random floors of the Grad library; 2nd floor of Rackham Hall, the physics students' lounge, the fourth floor of the Ugli, and the medical school library.