For many, the thought of college academia is surrounded with images of stunning libraries, auditorium sized lecture halls, and professors with years of experience teaching the next generation of minds. It creates the setting for starting that next level of education you are looking for as you begin your college journey. It leaves the uniform, single hallways with classrooms and lockers on either side that was high school and starts in an entirely new scene that is new and exciting as it can be geared towards any type of student. Some prefer the large lecture halls as they can fade into the crowd and take on the information in waves from the professor projecting content from the very front of the class. Others love the intimate setting of seminar style classes where the students participate in discussion as much as the professor facilitates it. Some prefer to retreat to the secluded stacks of Van Pelt’s library to home in on the necessary material for their impending exam, while others need the natural light of one of campuses high rise lounges to get through their dense material. Everyone finds their niche to drive their studies. In coming to Penn, I was looking for the quintessential academia landmark for me to retreat to in times of inspiration of motivation during the rigorous schedule of my nursing studies.
As I was applying to school, some of the research I did was to look up the school buildings or rather the campus’s entire aesthetic and see if it was a place I could find myself day in and day out, being able to take a step back and feel like I was part of a bigger effort for the future than just the assignment I had to work on for the next day. While looking for this reassurance in Penn’s campus, I stumbled upon Fisher Fine Arts Library. For me, this was the closest image of academia I saw to Hogwarts, granted it was the. combination of Google images and my imagination. However, just seeing this gave me the feeling that college was indeed going to be the next step for growing my knowledge base. This was fortified when I finally indeed came to visit and saw the library in person. Everyone working in Fisher that day, regardless of the topic or project they were working on, had the purpose to be there. The silence was something everyone was participating in unison and wasn’t deafening but rather peaceful. With its regal grandiosity, I feel like my work has the most purpose every time I sit down to study, no matter what I was working on. It is unlike Van Pelt library for me as this was purely a space for me to clear all my thoughts besides the topic I was there to work on. Everyone else around you appears to have the same mindset which really helps set the tone for the next couple of hours you will spend there.
No matter how many times you study there, you will never get old of its detailing and aesthetic. There are these small sayings embedded in the stain glass windows throughout the building. I always like to look up from my studying and see which phrase my eyes land upon. It’s funny how often they will connect to the material I am learning or give some much-needed perspective. There is also this little spiral staircase that appears to lead to nowhere and is there for its simplistic grandeur. However, it actually leads up to this tiny catwalk of study. These are mainly on reserve for graduate students, however, make sure to sneak a peek of this little hideout if you ever get the chance! You can also see the regal lamps that line every table and the study nooks to the back of the main library room. These were the best from coming with a group of friends to set up in the back and work late after having a meal together at the nearby Hill dining hall freshman year.