Opinion: Bring the old Bobst 8th floor back

The old configuration of the eighth floor north reading room was unique and inspiring. Put it back.


Natalia Kempthorne-Curiel

Students working in the north-facing study room on the 8th floor of the Bobst Library. (Natalia Kempthorne-Curiel for WSN)

Claudia Yoon, Contributing Writer

Serotonin is actually quite nice, you know? You don’t need to be a neuroscience or psychology major to realize why our bodies need serotonin. It’s our happy hormone.

My serotonin source is nature. And the eighth floor reading room of Bobst Library used to be my perfect fix.

I discovered the fourth and sixth floor silent reading rooms in Bobst last year, and my easily-distractible first-year self could not have been more thankful. They’re giant rooms full of students working, studying, or at least pretending to. Besides the occasional birth control alarm and the brief moment of music from the disconnected AirPod, the room is noiseless — a muted space dedicated purely to your focus.

During my second semester, someone asked a guy in my Elementary Korean class where his favorite spot to study at NYU was. “Bobst eighth floor supremacy,” he said. I was curious. What made the eighth floor so much better? Later that day, I waddled over to Bobst, waited a lifetime and a half for the elevator, strolled in and pressed eight.

Call it an exaggeration, but when I stepped out of the elevator, I was utterly stunned. An aura of deep studying filled the air. I stumbled through the long hallway toward the study room. Before I even went in, I was mesmerized by the view from the magnificent windows: the blue from the sky and the green from the trees of Washington Square Park. As a nature enthusiast, my body overflowed with pure excitement as I scanned the area and noticed that the tables were facing north towards the windows.

The setup was pristine. It fed my nature addiction while I fed my GPA — the perfect give-and-take.

So I would like to give a personal shoutout to whoever had decided on the layout of the eighth floor in previous years. You have not only aided my ability to actually get work done, but you have given me a gift that nature provides me: serotonin. I thank you, my GPA thanks you and, ultimately, my sanity thanks you.

Through personal observation, I believe that the higher the floors go, the more intense the grind atmosphere becomes. Maybe it’s a placebo or something else, but the energy of the students studying on the eighth floor is different than those on the fourth and sixth floors. The people in that room are the future Goldman Sachs interns and girlbosses of the world. Red Bulls unpacked, Starbucks drinks sipped, AirPods in. Besides the few students whose typing speed corresponds to the Kendrick Lamar they’re listening to, inside the ears of others are classical piano pieces, subliminal focus messages and quintessential lo-fi study beats.

The eighth floor reading room was the place to be if you wanted to be a successful student, until they changed it. The tables no longer face north, but instead extend perpendicular to the windows, mimicking the floors below them. There is a lesser sense of peace and calm than the old layout provided. Instead of looking up from my work to admire the park’s verdant liveliness, I would now look up and meet the eyes of the student across from me. It’s silent. It’s awkward. Nobody likes that.

I want the old eighth floor back. I need it back.

WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer. 

Contact Claudia Yoon at [email protected].