The Swem Survival Guide

Never has there been such a love-hate relationship than the one that every student at William & Mary shares with Earl Gregg Swem Library. Of course, we love the library itself. It’s a beautiful building with awesome resources. But the sheer number of hours one spends there add up…fast. There is certain Swem etiquette though. Here are the four things I think every student should know before embarking on a study session at Swem.

1. Do not wear flip-flops on the third floor: The three floors of Swem have different noise restrictions. On the first floor, you can throw someone a birthday party and no ones going to care. The second floor is for quiet study but if you need to ask someone a question that’s fine, just keep casual conversations to a minimum. The third floor, however, is completely silent. If you wear flip-flops or if your backpack makes a clicking noise, like mine does, you will get death glares. Before I studied up there for the first time, I questioned whether one actually needs complete silence, but then it really does promote productivity. I get more done on the third floor in much less time than it would take me on the second or first.

2. Take a break every once in a while: It’s incredibly easy to stress yourself out if you attempt to study the same thing for hours on end. It’s more than likely that several of my friends are there studying too, so my favorite thing to do as a break is to take a lap around the first and second floors to say hi them. Most of the time, they are just as relieved to have a break as I am. Another great place to take a break is The Mews (Swem spelled backwards), the 24 hour café that brews Starbucks coffee.

3. If you’re studying with a group, get there early and snag a study room: All three floors of Swem have awesome group study rooms. Because everybody at William & Mary is so intelligent, studying with peers is often the best way to prepare for an exam. The study rooms have whiteboards that you can use to draw out concepts (or doodle on when you get bored). Also, some of the rooms on the first floor have installed some stellar TV’s that allow students to display their computer screens for everyone to see.

4. Use the writing resources center: I think the writing resource center is one of the most underused resource at William & Mary. They have students that will proofread your papers and help you develop ideas to make them better. They can help you in any part of the process of writing a paper, from brain storming to final proofreads. All you need to do is make an appointment.

Hope this guide helps you in what is sure to be a large amount of studying you’ll be doing at The College!

Alma Mater Hail,


Categories: Academics, Campus Life, Student Blogs

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