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December 3, 2011

You'll know where to find me during midterms

Daily Star

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This column is taking me longer to write than usual, mostly because I have to type each letter softly, one at a time, for fear that the "click-clack" sound of my laptop keys will cause the others around me to revolt.

You may be wondering where in the world I could be where people around me are so on edge that a laptop's clicking keys could cause a potential fit of hysterics. I'll give you a few hints:

1. The only space for me to sit to write this is on an uncomfortable half-inch-high carpet in the corner of the room. All other seating is either taken or being fought over Roman-gladiator/Real-Housewives-of-New-Jersey-style.

2. I only have approximately three inches of legroom on both sides of me. To extend my arms or legs would prompt me to smack them into large shelves carrying titles such as "Realism and Social Vision in Courbet & Proudhon" and "Bugs Bunny: Fifty Years and Only One Grey Hare."

3. People are milling around me, muttering to themselves and if I'm not mistaken, pulling out tufts of hair in frustration.

If you guessed the local psychiatric ward, you would be incorrect. In fact, I'm currently residing (and doing my best to fend for my life) in my college library during Midterm Week. By the time this goes to print, midterms will be long over, but the terror will probably still reign in the aftermath of these horrible exams. In fact, it's still up in the air if I will actually make it through this week. I find this uncertainty incredibly unnerving, but I can't afford to hire a psychic to see into my future, and my Magic 8 Ball just keeps telling me to "ask again later." And I do. Which is certainly not helping my severe procrastination.

The atmosphere in the library here is tense, still and, if we're being honest here, probably a tad bit dangerous. I mean, I remember studying day-in and day-out for my midterms in high school.

OK, fine. I remember seeing other kids studying day-in and day-out for their midterms in high school.

But I have never seen anything like this before. Students are everywhere, either inhabiting desks with seemingly every one of their personal belongings, or packed into corners, quite literally becoming one with the walls.

I swear to you I didn't know anyone was sitting in the corner opposite me; his clothes even seemed to blend in with the off-white walls. It was only when I saw the "wall" start to shift that I noticed there was actually a person getting up, walking away with a slight limp and a back that looked as though it had begun to meld into the corner's 90-degree angle.

Kids are permanent fixtures in the library today, huddled over their laptops and textbooks for hours at a time, pausing only for the absolute necessities. And by that I mean more coffee. I mean, you have to hand it to them. I've seen numerous people in the last few days pass up food, water and basic hygiene just to pass these exams. That's dedication.

Even though this amount of dedication is a tad overwhelming, I'm happy to be attending a school where the students love their work so much that they put forth as much of their time and effort as humanly possible. And as challenging as this week may be, I have faith that if I take a leaf out of these student's books, I'll be just fine. At least until finals week comes along …Adrian Adamo, a 2011 graduate of Oneonta High School, is a freshman at Emerson College in Boston. 'Teen Talk' columns can be found at