The 10 unspoken rules of swotvac

It’s swotvac. You’re stressing out, we’re stressing out, everyone’s stressing out.

However, there is a way we can crawl out of swotvac intact and it begins with us. We can all do very simple things that will make this swotvac more bearable for everyone and we’re going to spell it out in this post.

Here’s how we can all be good swotvac-ers this swotvac season.

1. Don’t reserve tables in libraries 

If you’re planning to leave your spot in the library for an extended period of time (i.e. going out for lunch with friends), don’t even think about reserving your table. Reserving tables is understandable if you need to go for a toilet break, or to quickly to find a book somewhere in the library. But if it’s for hours on end, then no. Take your things with you and free up that space.

2. If you need a nap, don’t take it in the library

Seating is scarce and it’s frustrating to see someone sleeping in a chair you could be studying in, or sleeping on a computer you could be using. There are heaps of great places on campus for naps (e.g. The beanbag room in Rowdy), but leave the library desk spaces for studying students. Otherwise you may end up on here.

3. Bring tissues

No, the tissues aren’t for your tears while you cry about how unprepared you are for exams (don’t worry, we’re in the same boat too). We’re looking at you, loud sniffers. Nothing will get your death-glares faster than perpetual, shamelessly loud sniffing in a library. Include a travel pack of tissues in your bag, and another throw another pack in your clear stationery carrier for exam day. 

On a related topic…

4. If you’re sick, please keep your germs at home

Unless you absolutely have to study at uni (say, you need to use a software that’s only available on the uni computers), please stay home if you’re unwell. We definitely do not want to catch whatever you have.

5. Avoid eating loud food in the library

By all means pack all the snacks and brain foods you want but please don’t eat crunchy, loud food. Those doritos may be delicious but they sure aren’t pleasing to the ear. The same rule applies to strong smelling food. Those curries from Egg Bistro may be delicious, but they’re best enjoyed outside the library.

6. Turn your phone on silent 

To save yourself the embarrassment and to save everyone from a heart attack, please turn your phone on silent. Be mindful that even if your phone is on vibrate, constant phones buzzing on tables are annoying and distracting.

7. Be mindful of what you say

If you are feeling confident and super prepared for exams, that’s great! But please don’t rub that all over the faces of us who are under the pump. This also applies to social media.

8. Don’t hog the powerpoints

We all know how hard it is to find a free powerpoint at the library. Do you really need to use 2 powerpoint outlets to charge your laptop and phone? You can probably charge your phone through your laptop and free up the other powerpoint for someone else.

And if your device is fully charged, you may want to offer someone your powerpoint if they need to give their dying laptop some electric juice.

Or if you’re feeling extra generous – you could bring a powerboard from home. You will instantly win friends at the library.

9. If you’ve got a room booking, exit the room on time

Study rooms in libraries are in high demand. Please make sure you keep an eye on time and get out of the room when your booking ends so the next group can make the most of their booking. You can also find more study room etiquette in this post.

10. Keep the noise down *waves fist angrily*

Loudly chatting in a silent study zone will not win you friends. Silent and quiet study zones are usually clearly indicated in libraries, so please respect the people studying in these areas and keep noise to a minimum. If you need a space where you can chat with your friends, do book a study room instead.

If you enjoy listening to music super loud, others around you may be able hear your music. If someone sitting next to you can shazam the music coming from your headphones, then it’s way too loud. Do everyone, and your ears, a favour and lower the volume.

Also – please do not make/take a phone call where hundreds of ears can hear your conversations. Take your call well and truly away from the study area.


Although all the points above are common sense, don’t underestimate how far these acts go. These simple acts will make everyone’s swotvac just that bit more bearable. And if anyone’s being a pain in the library, do have a chat to the librarians who may be able to help you out.

– Your Unimelb Adventures crew

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