When I was in graduate school, I spent most of my time in libraries and coffee shops.
I had to study and write.
And when I wasn’t studying or writing, I was preparing to teach undergraduates how to study and write. It was a busy time, but it was a happy time. I often wish I could go back to it. Even more so, I often wish I had appreciated it more at the time. Now, I’m reminded of my graduate school days every time I sit in a highly air-conditioned space. All of my favorite study spots back then were air-conditioned. I doubt it ever got warmer than seventy-two degrees in any one of them. My favorite coffee shop set the thermostat to sixty-nine degrees, which was perfect for me since I tend to “run hot.” If I got too cold, I’d put on my college sweater. Even in the fall and winter, most of the coffee shops kept their air-conditioners running. We were in the desert, after all, and though the heat outside lifted during those seasons, it could still get toasty inside, especially if it got crowded. It turned out that I wasn’t the only student who appreciated the ambience, air-conditioned coolness and decor of the local coffee shops and libraries, since they were almost always busy during the semester. During finals week, it was impossible to find a place to park or a place to sit inside. I’d still make it out there since I didn’t have air-conditioning in my apartment and found it very difficult to concentrate if it got warmer than seventy-five degrees. Air-conditioning was important for my concentration as well as my comfort.