Make a sound and you’re out!

Why can’t we study in peace?

The sounds of students shouting, laughing and enjoying their 45-minute break from class, stretch to every corner of the school. The screams, music and food wrappers opening and crumbling are inescapable.

I sit as far away from the lunch tables as possible, and yet I can still hear conversations from my peers who are dozens of feet away. Concentrating on my notes is virtually impossible when there is absolute chaos everywhere.

Whether you’re studying for a test, reading a book or doing a homework assignment, we can all agree that noise and distractions are unwelcome visitors.

Students of all ages can understand how difficult it can be to memorize the countries on your map for geography, or the polyatomic ions for chemistry when the raucous noises around you are incessant.

According to research by the National Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health, ambient noise can have a negative effect on your health as it can raise your stress levels and blood pressure.

So why is it that students at Oak Park High School are now being asked to refrain from using the Oak Park Library, a quiet and peaceful place to study, during school hours?

Understandably, the vocal disturbance and disorder left behind by a few students were disappointing and enraging; the occurrence was a mistake made by a few individuals. So why is the entire school population paying the price?

Students with a test during a 5th or 6th period would often take advantage of the open library, using it to isolate themselves from the loud and chaotic noises of lunch in order to be able to peacefully study. In reopening the library for student use during this time, kids could even print out papers for school, get tutored or simply read a book during this time.

According to Gensler, “Libraries serve a critical role in the … experiences of today’s student … Libraries continue to serve highly practical campus roles as well as places to study, to find quiet, and to access resources — even if those resources are as much pixels as paper.”

Students deserve an area on or around the campus that provides them a quiet space to study, discuss class lessons with their peers, do their homework, read books and easily access and print documents for their classes.

Understandably, such a request is difficult to fulfill if compromises from all parties aren’t made. Students cannot expect staff or the administration to trust that we will not take advantage of the opportunities we are being offered and so it is our job to cooperate and respect the rules implemented by the library and the administration. Likewise, we ask that the administration and library staff take into consideration that the misconduct of a few students shouldn’t affect the entire student population. We understand that trust isn’t something you can simply ask for, it’s something that has to be earned and it’s up to us to ensure that the staff both at the library and at school see that we’re dedicated to our cause.

Noise is all around us and to eliminate it entirely is completely unrealistic. The second best thing we can do is distance ourselves from the source of the problem, and what better way to do that than to seek refuge in the library conveniently located next door, right?