Despite having never pulled an all-nighter and rarely being awake past 12 a.m. on a weeknight, I am no better off in terms of my mental health than any other Penn student. Closing Huntsman Hall earlier won’t do anything to change student study habits other than relocate them.
Regardless of what time Huntsman closes, we are under the same pressure and have the same workload. Now there are just fewer resources. If students want to stay up all night, losing access to $10,000 of group study rooms in one of the nicest buildings on campus won’t stop them. If any building should be open 24 hours a day, it should be Huntsman. You can do everything there — from printers and whiteboards to microwaves and my favorite water bottle fountains, Huntsman has everything I could ever need. Not to mention, it is one of the most conveniently located buildings on campus, being close to most dorms and off-campus housing. Packing up all of my things and moving to Van Pelt Library at 2 a.m. is simply an annoyance and will encourage me to stay up later because I need to trek all the way to the other side of Locust Walk.
Some people will argue that VP resources are equally valuable and the need to “pull an all-nighter” is just the result of poor time management. While this is true to some extent, students at every university do it, and it’s going to happen no matter what time a building closes. Unfortunately, the dark basement of VP is not doing much for my ability to stay awake, and I’d much rather work all night than not be able to submit an assignment. As such, Huntsman is one of the most coveted late-night study spots for all Penn students.
Following the announcement, a number of students have also commented on the positive mental health culture at Princeton University. They claim that this is a result of a four-class norm and building closures at midnight or earlier. I’d take all of this with a grain of salt because the grass is always greener on the other side. All of the downfalls of Penn will seem better somewhere else … until you get there and experience it for yourself. Comparing our mental health culture and resources to other schools isn’t the answer. Every school has its own unique culture and student body that it needs to accommodate and support. We are not Princeton and we shouldn’t be trying to emulate exactly what they’ve done to cultivate this seemingly “positive” mental health culture.
Penn students are nothing if not opinionated — reactions to the latest news of Huntsman Hall closing at 2 a.m. are no different. Ever since the announcement, there have been numerous comments about the change, including a petition to revert back to the old operating hours. I think that the sheer number of negative reactions since the announcement is enough to show administration that this decision should be reverted.
LEILA ASHTARYEH is a Wharton sophomore from Toronto. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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