Above: The Reg at night. (Photography by Zenobia Gonsalves, AB’11, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Below: UChicago students study in the Regenstein Library during finals week. (Portraits by Kathryn Vandervalk, ’16)
The all-nighters
Hours at the library stack up during finals week.
I’ve seen people bring in toasters to the library, or order in food from Chinatown. My friend told me that he brought in a personal coffee machine to help him through the first draft of his BA paper. Another friend keeps a jar of peanut butter in her Reg locker, “just for emergencies,” or when Ex Libris is closed. Once, I had to travel to a mock trial tournament during midterms week, so I brought my suitcase into the library on a Friday afternoon to print my speech. I was greeted by shocked faces—people thought I was staying for the weekend.  It was 1 a.m. on the first floor of the Regenstein Library, Thursday of finals week. The closing bell had rung three times, shuttering the other six floors of the library, and the people with a lot of work still to do congregated in the closed Ex Libris Café, or at one of the computer desks. There since 8 p.m., I’d seen the same faces for the past couple of hours, typing and reading, occasionally getting up to stretch. What were they doing? How long would they be there? I found answers.  
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2541","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"354","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"460"}}]] Second-year Alexander Eichner.
“How long have you been here?” “Only three hours. But I was here for eight before that. So that’s 11 hours total today.” “How many more hours do you think you’ll spend here?” “A few. You might want to know, I spent 46 hours awake straight from Sunday to Wednesday.”  
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2542","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"354","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"460"}}]] Fourth-year Cameron Okeke.
“I have 20 more pages of my BA to write by 5 p.m. tomorrow, but I’m going home to play Grand Theft Auto. I started my taxes today, and I’ve sent out all of my evaluations to my professors. Anything instead of writing my BA.”  
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2543","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"354","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"460"}}]] Fourth-year Will Craft.
“I’ll be here until around two. I want to give the best work I can possibly give to my adviser, so my edits have to be pristine.” Craft was typing out his BA with a broken hand.  
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2544","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"354","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"460"}}]] Third-year Sylvia Wang.
“How are you doing?” “Well, it’s Thursday night of finals week, so not too great.”  
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2545","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"354","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"460"}}]] Fourth-year joint BA/MA Aidan Milliff.
His friend asks him, “Are you working on your master’s thesis?” “No, that’s a problem for next week [spring break].”  
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2546","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"354","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"460"}}]] Third-year Ana Isabel Martinez.
“How long have you been here?” “A while.” “What are you working on?” “I’m working on a paper about the implications of pornography in the context of human rights. Like whether or not we have a right to pornography and what people have said, for and against.”  
[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2547","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"354","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"460"}}]] First-year Noel Rubio.
“You caught me at the right time. I’m currently on the threshold of sane and completely bonkers.” “What are you working on?” “I just finished a paper on the musical anthropology of Micronesia. Now I have to study for my calc final.”   [[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_original","fid":"2548","attributes":{"alt":"","class":"media-image","height":"354","typeof":"foaf:Image","width":"460"}}]] See you next quarter, Joseph Regenstein.