Walking around the top floor of the Perry–Castañeda Library early in the morning, Travis Willmann sees a pair of feet sticking out from underneath a table and students sleeping in awkward positions everywhere. But the UT Libraries Communications Officer is used to this scene — it’s finals season.
“It’s like they’ve given everything they’ve got to get that last little bit of studying in,” Willmann said. “They collapse, rinse and repeat the next day. For the last three or four weeks of every semester, I’m coming in and there’s people coming out with pillows and bedrolls.”
Among the chaos that is finals season, the PCL offers students resources to assist them through finals.
Next Tuesday and Wednesday, therapy dogs will be available for students on the ground floor of the PCL. Coffee and donuts will also be available for graduate students in the Scholars Commons located on the ground floor.
“Students get a lot out of interacting with these really kind and sweet animals,” said Carolyn Cunningham, head of the Teaching and Learning Engagement Team for UT Libraries. “They’re soft and like to be pet and like all of the people around them. Students might be missing their pets at home, or they’re really stressed out and they haven’t been able to do the self care techniques they normally do.”
The PCL also provides information about outside sources students can utilize during finals, such as the Counseling and Mental Health Center and University Health Services. Willmann said the CMHC brings massage chairs for students to the PCL, and University Housing and Dining provides additional healthy snacks for students.
“I would encourage anybody who’s wondering if this amount of stress is normal or if they just want to chat with someone, we can definitely help connect them with the right people,” Cunningham said.
SURE Walk services are always more heavily utilized during finals, and because they last until 2 a.m., Willmann said the services are beneficial for students who study late on campus. He said occasionally the libraries around campus will coordinate a surprise pizza delivery in the evening while students are studying.
Willmann said he has witnessed students sleep in tents and do the Harlem Shake on the fifth floor of the PCL. He said he has been waiting on The Daily Texan to do a photo series of what goes on during finals between the bookshelves of the PCL.
“It’s hard to keep up with everything that goes on during finals because we’re packed,” Willmann said. “This becomes a place where people live for the final weeks of their semester. Whatever you can imagine people doing in their personal space, this becomes their personal space.”
Biology junior Noor Radde said she comes to the PCL when she needs to get work done with no distractions, but she avoids the PCL during finals.
“When it gets too crowded, it just distracts me too much,” Radde said. “You can feel the tension around you. I just see people freaking out, and it discourages me from coming here.”