By Liv Hage

As finals approach, frantic students from all academic disciplines race to find an acceptable study space to suffer in. The lucky ones are able to claim a room in the HSCC, while the rest scatter to the winds, hoping to find some cozy nook to burrow in. It’s a perilous business, finding a study space. Like a sleep-deprived goose, the Grinnellian will lash out at anyone who gets too close to their nest (in this case, their favorite empty classroom). 

Fortunately, there is one building that avoids the violence: Burling library. Dejected students, having lost their territorial pissing battles over study spaces in the academic buildings, find solace here. Eerily similar to a square cake, Burling consists of four delectable academic levels, each brimming with ideal spots to drown oneself in homework. Confused about which floor to study on? Fear not!! The B&S has conveniently compiled a guide to each floor, so that the struggling student reading this may finally do their busywork in peace. 

Since the basement was deemed “uninhabitable” by the Iowa Dept. of Health and Human Services, we begin with the first floor. As a “social zone,” there is no noise limit for this floor. That means that most people here will not think twice if you start singing “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables at full volume—in fact, they’d encourage it. The students who actually work on the first floor possess an incomparable level of focus. The ability to filter out the hyper buzzing sound of first years is entirely uncanny. These souls have clearly made a pact with some eldritch entity, for this level of fixation is unnatural.

Those who actually wish to study in peace flee to the 2nd and 3rd floors. These floors are, if anything, inoffensive. The neat rows of cubicles provide a pleasant space for focused work, while the long rows of bookshelves evoke a romantic dark academia aesthetic. We have a few notes on how to survive these floors, though. First, the beanbags on the second floor are reserved for people who are a) trying to take a nap, or b) on the verge of a mental breakdown. There is no in-between. The 3rd floor is also relatively harmless: as a dedicated “quiet zone,” you will find no rogue Theater majors belting out songs or insufferable PoliSci majors debating loudly. But given its proximity to the fourth floor, one must exercise caution when studying there. 

This brings us to the highest and most infamous floor of Burling: the fourth floor. Nobody actually studies here. The fourth floor is most likely used for occult rituals and/or orgies. There have also been reported sightings of the Demon Cat on the fourth floor: apparently it was last seen drawing lewd furry artwork in the bathrooms. All of this information is to say, this floor is absolutely cursed. The only people who go up there are either wizards or unfortunate individuals who have sold their souls to the God of Burl himself. If you must travel into the treacherous web that is Burling Fourth, we recommend wearing an amulet of protection (known as the Jewel of the Prairie). The strange man wearing a bird costume outside of Mears will give it to you. 

Well, there you have it folks: the strange landscape of Burling debunked by your favorite collection of degenerate journalists! We wish you the best of luck during these trying times of tests and papers that “will not write themselves.” Good luck and godspeed. 

With love, 

The B&S