When it gets near exam period, the underworld beneath Sookmyung Women’s University heats up
more than anywhere around the campus. Sookmyungians gave this place a pet name ‘The dungeons.’ here would this be? It is a reading room located next to the library underground. Many girls’ passionand endeavors still rely on this place that Sookmyung students adore. However, the room is not completely quiet. Then what is the current position of the Sookmyung Reading Room and what needs to be resolved?
Why are Boys in Here?
There are many places students can study, such as empty classrooms, the library, and so on. Yet, the most preferred place is the reading room. Then what is the reading room? Reading room is consisted of floor A and B underground located at the 2nd campus of Sookmyung. There we could sometimes see male and foreign students, and students wonder how come they have come in. In fact, not like many Sookmyungians think, the Sookmyung reading room is opened to every student who is enrolled at SMU. Therefore, it is free to exchange students from Korea and foreign universities, graduate students, and students on a leave of absence. It is even available for students who have already graduated from SMU if they only register for a card at the library. There are 4 rooms on floor A that have 450 seats in total, and 3 rooms in B that have 356 seats. Room A1, A2, and all the rooms on floor B are available for any enrolled students. But after 10 pm, male students are only allowed at A2. A3 and A4 have their special purpose. Only graduate students who writing a graduation thesis can use room A3. If they apply for the seats in A3, they would be provided designated a seat and a locker for 3 months. A4 is available for juniors and seniors of SMU preparing for diverse state or certificate examinations. In the resting rooms, students just have to scan their ID card at the desk and designate their seats for 6 hours. It can be extended 30 minutes before the end of the time. Floor A and B1 is opened 24 hours, but B2 and B3 are only open 9am to 10pm. In the basement, there is one toilet in each floor and few sofas are placed for rest. Lockers are located at A and B. There are 7 computers for students to search on the Internet in A1. LAN (local area network) wires are provided for laptop users, 5 in A2, 7 in A4, and 5 in B2. But not all types of computers are allowed. Notebooks are not permitted in A1, but everything to do with a laptop is allowed in B2. In other rooms, only watching lectures is allowed. Before, digital lockers were rented 24 hours for free, but the digital lockers don’t work now. Therefore, all the lockers are rented with a reduced cost of 15,000 won for 6 monthsand 10,000 won for 4 months. Next to room A4, café la neige provides tired students a place to recharge.
Come Back Quick for Your Seats
Starting from April, the reading room’s entrance and exit system has changed. Students had to scan their student ID card when entering the reading room, yet now they have to also scan when coming out at either two sockets, leaving or short outing. If students don’t come back by 3 hours, their designated seat is canceled. An executive of the library said, “This change of system was to prevent students from saving seats. The result is effective.” Kang Minji, Division of Economics ’07 said, “I was glad to see this system. There were no seats when I tried to designate a seat. But in the reading room, there were not many people. The system before was so inefficient to control the reading room! Now it’s much better.”Starting from April, the reading room’s entrance and exit system has changed. Students had to scan their student ID card when entering the reading room, yet now they have to also scan when coming out at either two sockets, leaving or short outing. If students don’t come back by 3 hours, their designated seat is canceled. An executive of the library said, “This change of system was to prevent students from saving seats. The result is effective.” Kang Minji, Division of Economics ’07 said, “I was glad to see this system. There were no seats when I tried to designate a seat. But in the reading room, there were not many people. The system before was so inefficient to control the reading room! Now it’s much better.”
How about Other Universities
SMU reading room is not available for other people outside school. However, there are Universities that open their reading rooms to everyone. Shin Seohyeun from Chungnam University said, “Because our University’s reading room is free to anyone, even students have no place to sit. Also, because people from outside don’t care about the University, they use the facilities badly.” Yoo Sohee form SMU, Division of Business Administration ’08 said, “SMU is strict about exit and entrance system to outsiders. This prevents any potential crimes and students can feel safe 24 hours a day.” SMU has its reading room only at one place, underground, due to the small campus. However, Dongduk Women’s University uses much more room for reading rooms than SMU. Yoo Yeonhong from DWU said, “We have the main reading room but also, all around ampus there are other rooms for studying. DWU tries to utilize as much space as possible for students to study.” Kong Heewon from SMU, Division of Economics ’08 said, “The seats are too scarce for all the students in SMU. If we can’t put more seats in the bunker, then rooms around the campus should be utilized.”
Where are Your Manners, Ladies
Starting from last June, there has been a complete reform in the reading room system, and this system has indeed unclogged the limited use of the reading rooms, but complaints are continuously being voiced. Other problems that the Sookmyung reading rooms have yet to solve can be divided into two categories; the facilities and the etiquette. The problem being issued the most is that there isn’t enough space. According to survey results held in September by SMT, when asked about which problem of the Sookmyung reading rooms is the most severe, 42% of SMU students replied that the lack of seats is the biggest problem that should be fixed. Park Saehee, Department of English ’11, said, “When the exams arrive, I need to practically run from class to the reading rooms in order to get a seat. Even though the system changed, I still feel that there aren’t enough seats.” Excluding the reading rooms where only students who have applied beforehand can use them, the
actual number of seats that are available to average students is 562. Let’s compare these figures with a university that has a similar size to us; Hongik University. At the reading rooms of Hongik University, there are 1,690 seats available for any student to use, and among them, 958 seats
are open for 24 hours, nearly twice as many as SMU. Sookmyungians are hindered each time the exams come near. Many complain about the hygiene of the bathrooms as well. Most of the students who use the reading rooms are those who study for long hours, sometimes even overnight. For them, the bathroom is a mandatory pit stop each couple of hours. Yet, many students claim that the bathrooms at the reading rooms are the most unclean throughout the whole campus, according to complaints that have been posted onthe Sookmyung community website. Also, there have been discontent voices regarding the locker fees that once used to be partially free. However, not all the faults lay in the hands of the facilities. They also lay in the hands of us as well. “Student etiquette” turned out to be the second biggest problem that needs to be solved at Sookmyung’s reading rooms (referring to the same survey results held in September). For those who have used the reading rooms during the exam period will know how irritating it is to haul yourself all the way to your designated seat, and then to see a bunch of litter left by the former user in front of you. While people complain about how dirty the bathrooms are, we need to step backwards and think of who actually litters the floors and clogs the toilets before we blame the cleaning staff. Other than that, talking loudly in the hallways, eating food in the reading rooms,
leaving boxes full of books and blankets on the floor, are just a few of the manners that make the other students scowl. Students who remain in their seat even though their time is up are the most difficult ones to handle. When concentrating too hard on studying, one could forget that they need to get out of their seat. However, keeping promises related to time are basic manners, and students shouldn’t be careless regarding this matter.
The Last Light on Campus
Students that stay in their seat even though their time is over are violating rules, but students that go in and out of the entrance without using their student ID cards are also violating the rules. In the case of the latter, this is the due to the cause of inattentive supervision. On the contrary, troubles that occur within the facilities can be due to the lack of moral etiquette of the Sookmyung students. The hygiene state of the bathrooms could be solved if the cleaning staff came to clean
more often, but it is basic manners for the students to be more careful first. We can’t always blame the facilities for the problems that lay within the facilities, and we can’t always put fault in the students for when they break the rules as well. The solution to these problems starts from taking interest in one another. Take the community site of our school homepage for example. Whenever a complaint about the reading rooms is posted by a Sookmyungian, whether it’s too warm or the Internet doesn’t work, a staff member of the library department replies at least within half an hour. A smooth problem-solving communication system is already in place among the faculty, staff, and the students. There are still yet many problems to be solved, and many facilities to be improved. Many students wish for printers and copiers in the reading rooms. Since the back door gate of the 2nd campus is closed around 10 PM, students have no choice but to go around the dark path in order to buy food during the night. For those who study overnight or stay for a long time, ramen or other meal-type food products can be suggested to be sold at the vending machine. Finally, our reading rooms need to figure out a way to increase more seats during the exam period. Considering the characteristic of the reading rooms being emptier when it’s not the exam period, they can close a few rooms in order to save electricity and maintenance fees. There is a need for a flexible management according to the supply and demand of the reading rooms. The reading rooms, also referred to as the dungeons of hell, aren’t the favorite places on campus to visit. Yet, don’t you feel pride when you see a fellow Sookmyungian stay up all night at the reading room to
study? The Sookmyung reading rooms need to switch it up a notch to catch up with these strong willed Sookmyung students.