When you enter Robarts, you take a silent pact to not judge anyone for anything. No one’s there to impress anyone. No one’s trying to look cute in case they meet their soulmate — if you are, you need to give up, put on your grimiest sweater, and suffer with the rest of us. What happens in Robarts stays in Robarts.
Something magical happens to people in the stacks, and it’s kind of agreed that you aren’t responsible for what you do there because you’re not yourself (like a criminal acquitted of murder due to temporary insanity). You just ignore everyone and turn the other cheek to behaviour that would be awkward if it happened literally anywhere else. Everyone’s in the same ‘I’m fucked’ boat and you gotta do what you gotta do to survive.
These acts include but are not limited to:
Just GET IT OUT, friend. If you haven’t seen someone crying in Robarts, you probably will if you hang out there enough during exam season. The best and worst part about crying in Robarts is its unabashedness. Unlike with other public places, no one’s trying to hide their tears (or their snot). There’s no escaping to the bathroom, because that econ isn’t going to study itself. You just let that shit out, eyes puffy, nose running, and the most you might do is stand outside in the cold for five minutes, smoke, and have a quick existential crisis before hauling ass back to floor 13. No thanks to U of T’s mental health system, ha. Aha.
Eating with no fucks given
To the sunken-eyed bitch with your feet up in the caf at 5:30 am, a can of Monster, and Cheeto crumbs all over your face: I feel you. I am you. We are all you. Everyone smuggles food into libraries, but eating in Robarts involves a new level of desperation that makes it extra messy (and unhealthy). People forget all their manners because the etiquette part of their brain is malfunctioning from the studying.
They chew with their mouths open, they wolf down junk at alarmingly fast rates, and they shove food in their faces with their whole hands. Have I whipped out a Pez dispenser, bubble tea, stale fries, and M&Ms all at once on Robarts’ tenth floor? Fuck yeah. Would I have pulled that shit at EJ Pratt? No way.
Burping and/or farting without shame
I feel like a lot of people have burped by accident in Robarts and been mortified for two seconds but then were like ‘fuck it’ because it’s Robarts. If someone’s going to judge you in a sacred place, they are not worth politeness. People definitely let one loose in the stacks too, but not many people probably notice because everyone has earbuds in. Someone actually posted a cute missed connection a while ago (I want to say it was on Reddit?) saying something along the lines of, “To the girl in Robarts who farted with her earbuds in, I love you.” That warmed my heart. Maybe true love does exist.
Exposing others to your feet
People think really hard about what to wear to be comfortable on long flights, and I see no difference between an eight-hour economy flight and an eight-hour Robarts session – except with the flight you’ve actually made progress at the end. You’re in an uncomfortable chair, quite possibly sharing cramped space with other people, with limited leg room, bad ventilation, and bacteria-infested surfaces. You have to be comfortable if that’s going to be your whole day. It’s natural people take their shoes off because how are you supposed to put your feet up on other chairs or find weird sitting positions with Docs on?
Wearing clothes that burn people’s eyes on sight
If you’re in Robarts stacks for more than three hours, there’s a 75 per cent chance you haven’t done laundry in a long time. It’s math. Maybe you try to look presentable in class, and now all your ‘respectable human’ clothes are dirty. You have to dip into your back stock. That ill-fitting Black Market purchase from two years ago? The hand-me-down jeans from your cousin that make your ass look terrible? Your ex’s threadbare H&M sweater that you found in a drawer months after you broke up? All fair game. You submitted the paper two minutes before it was due. Your gross clothes made you not naked. You both did the bare minimum. You belong together.