Nathan Hammerschmitt Le Gal
Finals Week: A Journey to The Stacks
You exit Foco—the class of 1953 dining hall—and walk down the steps. It's a crisp, November, Hanover day, a day that hints at the coming snow; the grass and clover are coated in a thin layer of frost. You're glad you just had hot tea as little pockets of heat trapped by your outfit are swept away.
You make your way past Robinson Hall—the headquarters of the legendary Dartmouth Outing Club (DOC)—thinking about the great time you had during First-Year Trips just a few weeks ago. It seems so far off, yet it's only the end of your first term. Time to get some studying done.
Baker-Berry Library is your destination—a maze of bricks and books that offers varying levels of noise. There should be a formula for your relative height to the ground and the amount of noise expected in Baker-Berry. Why isn't there one..?
Walking the tangents from Foco to the closest library entrance is a process. Avoid the puddle. Don't step on that muddy patch of grass. Thankfully, the sidewalks tend to follow the tangents, so the protection of asphalt keeps your feet dry. Still, taking the shortest path does sometimes mean walking through a few strips of grass. Dartmouth students live dangerously.
The destination arrives! The grand, west entrance of Baker-Berry. Granite stairs bring you to the thick—surprisingly light—doors that lead into Baker's lobby (better known by students as Blobby).
Continuing straight past some friends hard at work (the conversation might last for two hours), you eventually turn left and walk into the Berry section of the conjoined Baker-Berry Library (Baker was the old library that was expanded through the Berry extension). The floor goes from black and white checkered tiles to a slick, gray surface. Berry is futuristic—the "information superhighway." At least that was the thought in 2000, when the floor of the main hall was painted with a dotted line to resemble a literal highway. It's a cool, unintentionally wacky feature—very Dartmouth (except for the unintentional part).
Where you're going, though, you don't need roads. You need stairs. You turn right after taking a few steps down the information highway and open a door to "The Stacks." Rows and rows of—nostalgic?—shelves meet your gaze. "The Stacks" are indeed stacks of books—which are further stacked floor after floor.
Flights of stairs after flights of stairs bring you higher and higher. The noise level, as expected, drops. The environment is prime for deep work and awkward looks from students as you make the only audible noise they've heard for the past few hours.
Finally, you make it: the top floor of the stacks. You passed a few books on your way up that looked really interesting, but, alas, finals are on the horizon. The laptop comes out and it's time for work. Stacking all these steps to get to the stacks takes time, and your best move is to stack up the work now. Your journey, in the end, is one of many—one layer in the stack that is your Dartmouth experience.
I hope this added to the stack that is your conception of life at Dartmouth.
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