Senioritis Stories, Vol. 5: The Cubicles are Actually Underrated

Written by Maddie De Pree, Columnist

In the prime of my youth, I could study anywhere. When I first arrived at Furman in Aug. of 2016, I could sit down in virtually any location—Coffee Underground, the loud part of the library, a rock by the lake—and knock out my homework in a matter of hours.

Those days were fleeting, though. With each passing year, I have become more and more picky about my study spots. Sophomore year, I could only complete my work if I was sitting in the back left corner of the library (facing the weirdly large oil painting of the man playing flute). As a junior, I did most of my work in the art building. But the other week, during one of my final semesters at Furman University, I found that I could hardly work anywhere at all.

Allow me to mention here that the task I have be- fore me is mammoth: I am applying to graduate programs. No longer am I merely writing essays and studying for class—I am flinging myself into the abyss of academia and hoping that an incredible grad program will catch me before I hit the ground. The stakes are high, and I can no longer afford to procrastinate.

Last week, I started to grow frustrated with my total inability to grind. I had exhausted all of my go-to study spots: Trone, the English lounge, the living room of my (dope) apartment. Even my favorite coffee shop in Traveler’s Rest was no longer an oasis of focus and calm. “What gives?” I thought. And then I had my epiphany: all of my study spots were too, well, good. They were too cute, too comfortable, too pleasant. If I really wanted to get my work done, I knew I would have to embrace total sensory deprivation. So I entered the cubicles.

In case anyone is unfamiliar with these spaces, the cubicles are the rows of single-user study spaces that are located throughout the library. They are the desks surrounded with three walls with which to block out any and all earthly pleasures, views, and distractions. They are the physical embodiment of undergrad suffering. And they are absolutely perfect for my purposes. Yeah, yeah, they are the most unpleasant spaces on campus, but hear me out. The cubicles are extremely conducive to productivity. Plus, there is a pleasant camaraderie there (despite the air of abject isolation). When I enter the cubicles, I know that the other occupants are in similarly dire situations. Like me, they have no time at all to socialize; like me, they know that the cubicles are the only remaining option. We all sit there, in total acceptance of our collective fate. We relinquish our joy. We turn our souls over to the cubicle.

Since announcing my newfound devotion to this particular study space, I have received a variety of responses, ranging from the pitying “Oh, Maddie,” to “God, why?!” What my critics don’t understand is this: the cubicles actually rock, and I highly recommend. Only the bravest among you will join me. (I jest, of course. Do not actually join me. I’m trying to get some stuff done over here.)

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