I went over to Robarts today and signed up for a U of T alumni card. It allows me access to the stacks and borrowing privileges. I immediately flashed the card at the desk by the elevators and headed up to the 10th floor. For the first time in over eight years, I took a step onto a Robarts stacks floor. I spent 20 minutes walking around the 10th and 11th floors, reconnecting with memories I had of studying and working on papers at the desks, still crystal clear moments of reading certain sentences and paragraphs in certain textbooks by certain windows as the hours before class dwindled, giving up for the night and signing out every textbook I could and shoving them into my bag before grabbing a sandwich and taking the subway back to my cousin’s condo. It was all in front of me again, and it was new at the same time – a rekindled friendship that I’ll be able to rely on for the next two years. The shelves on the Robarts stacks are kept in darkness; when you venture in between them, the overhead lights turn on to greet you. The sides of the library are home to miniature offices for the PhD students. Sneak a look inside and witness piles upon piles of texts arranged as though someone at their wit’s end arranged them, in amidst empty and askew containers of food eaten haphazardly. I found a table on the 11th floor by the west-facing window, opened my laptop, and read about the history of film studies, spinning my brand new alumni student card on the desk. A window washer swung down and cleaned the window, ensuring an unobstructed view.

I checked out a book about lost films on the way out. I’ll need it for my first paper.

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