Ever since you went to that first Columbia info session in Havemeyer 309, the entire room feels like success. Sitting in the uncomfortable wooden chairs with their too-small-by-far desks reminds you that you made it and that you’d better do your damndest to enjoy it. As your pencil rolls off your desk for the fifth time, Havemeyer 309 seems to be laughing at your bright-eyed enthusiasm.
Sure, there’s no denying Havemeyer 309’s look of academia. The sliding chalkboards, the wooden seats, the balconies on the sides – the place smells like learning. And you’re not the only one that thinks so – everyone wants a piece of that stereotypical college lecture hall! Havemeyer 309 has made quite a name for itself, showing up in all three Spiderman movies, Mona Lisa Smile, and Ghostbusters. To just know that you’ve possibly sat in the same seat as Bill Murray… life is complete.
But, looking past Havemeyer’s prestige, the room itself is actually pretty poorly designed. The rows between seats are too narrow and the chairs themselves are pretty damn uncomfortable. The tiny desks you’re given are at a slight slant, causing all your pencils to immediately roll onto the floor, down the stairs, and away. You watch your disappearing pencils and contemplate climbing out of your row to retrieve them, but immediately think better of it.
From time to time, the entirety of 309 will be plunged into darkness as the professor tries to figure out how to dim the lights. Apparently, because we are still stuck in the 1980s, the lecture hall’s lighting is all or nothing. We’re not sure which is worse – squinting to see the powerpoint slides under the harsh lights, or watching them in pitch blackness as anarchy ensues.
While the millions of sliding chalkboards make it look like you’re about to do some serious learnin’, you don’t understand why you would ever need that many chalkboards. Can we not just erase? Even worse is that some professors seem to think that they have to use all the chalkboards, making note taking feel ridiculously overwhelming. Another thing you can blame for your midterm grade? Havemeyer 309’s terrible acoustics. If you sit in the back of the lecture hall and your professor doesn’t use a microphone, you can kiss your productivity goodbye. The acoustics in 309 make it almost impossible to hear from the back, provided that your professor isn’t screaming. While most professors do tend to use a microphone, it’s better to sit in front just in case.
Overall, you’ve fostered a careful love-hate relationship with Havemeyer 309. But what do you know? You’ve found it really hard to focus ever since that radioactive spider bit you. To your spidey-senses, the lights are too bright, the room’s acoustics too loud, the seats actually comfortable. Over the hum of the projector, you hear the city of New York calling for a hero.