Surviving 24 hours in IKB: a report from the other side

photo Geoff Lister / The Ubyssey

We've all heard the rumours before, the whispers of people completing the unthinkable. But today, we take it on — the fabled 24 hour IKB stay.

My team and I will document our trip, our visit to the highest of hardcore students. They have fought for their spots in the highly competitive seating arena. They have had their study playlists ready for weeks. This is their Olympics. This is what they trained for.

Hopefully, we will gain some insight into their lives. We expect minimum casualties.

Hour 1: We have entered the den. Unlike the opposing group located across the grey river in Koerner Library, the IKB live a unique mix of total silence and quiet conversation. While not technically forbidden, talking loudly or eating chips are looked down upon by the surrounding groups. One such outlier became victim to the anger of the group in front of us. It was a startling introduction to the group dynamic as they are shunned from the collective.

Hour 3: The locals have accepted us as one of their own. After a silent fight over an open seat, first blood was drawn and I gained the respect of the elders. I have earned the ceremonial mask of tired eyes and a permanent frown. In order to fully integrate, I have surrounded myself with a random eclection of textbooks ranging from economics to biology.

Hour 6: Food has become scarce. Many of the locals we befriended through silent looks when others do something beyond the norm have turned against us. More and more of the group are breaking off and eating from the “Vending Machine.” I'm assuming many of those remaining do not like this because the sound may attract predators. They look on angrily as the hunters of the group pry out their chip bags in celebration.

Hour 9: Night has fallen in the library and many of the locals are leaving. When questioned, one of those leaving had the response, “Magda’s. She calls to us.” It is assumed that “Magda” is what those in the Totem Park clan call their reclusive leader. The rival Vanier clan is leaving in response. The remaining locals say those who are left have been chosen to live in the fabled on-campus housing.

Hour 12: We have discovered a secret sect of the group located in a private part of the library, named by the locals as “Rare Books Collection.” In “Rare Books Collection,” those in it do not talk or eat at all. Our presence as outsiders was immediately noticed and anger filled the room. We assume this is a cult and left before the situation became dangerous.

Hour 14: The night brings new terrors as the group thins out. Will there be someone around the corner? Sleeping in a classroom? You just don't know anymore. One of our team wandered off and returned in a new set of clothing. When questioned, it became clear they did not remember the last hour. My team has become tired and has decided to set up camp in the the outskirts of the open arena. We rest our foreheads against the uncomfortable tabletops and hope to see another day.

Hour 17: We have awoken to a horrible crying sound. One of the locals, “Stephanie” — who we befriended earlier in the line to Iké’s — came over to us and told us that it was the sound of the “Unlucky.” She warned us to stay away from them as their lack of luck is contagious. It has come to our attention that the locals are a very superstitious group. “Stephanie,” for example, claims that Irving K. Barber himself will grant you good luck if you stay within the library for six days straight. She is on day four.

We have not seen “Stephanie” since.

Hour 19: Daylight is breaking and many of the locals start praying at the altar of the lord “Starbucks” in exchange for some kind of youth drink. Some of them have packed their books and venture out of the safety of the Library. They claim they will “declare victory over the 8:30 a.m. exam.” Their survival is questionable.

Hour 23: With only an hour until the completion of our study, there is a new wave of locals whom we have not seen before. The remaining locals are responding negatively to the new members and venomously look at them when they mention they “only had six hours of sleep last night!” and laugh loudly at Facebook videos. They will have to train the new members of the group in order to safely make it through the exam season.

Hour 24: Our study has come to the conclusion. One of our crew members has decided not to return with us and fully embraced the studying lifestyle. We are not looking forward to informing his family. As for the locals, we question their sanity, but understand it is one piece of a larger part of their life.

As we leave, we bring a fair number of the locals with us. One of them stared at the library doors and said, “Oh whatever, I only need a 50 on this exam anyway.”

From the journal of Natalie Morris, first-class member of the Society of Fake Scientists, Student Division.