The Green library on Stanford University campus has some fantastic study carrels. They are big, cozy, old, and made of wood. They are also covered in graffiti. You can find practically anything in a Stanford carrel: poetry, math, scavenger hunt hints, love notes, and of course all topics related to sex education. You may find yourself staring off into space during a study session and realize you are staring at something written on the carrel. It was kind of amazing how so many people added to existing notes over time, making the graffiti sort of artistic. I did not spend a great deal of time in these carrels, but since they were so cozy and entertaining, I did enjoy the time I spent.
When we moved to Provo this past August, one of my top priorities was to finally get a look at the BYU study carrels. I feel like I've heard a lot of talk about the BYU carrels. Some people would talk about their old BYU study carrel as a lost loved one. Apparently they were very attached. The first week of school this fall, David took me to a new faculty breakfast on campus. Afterward we went into the library for a bit. And then I forced him to show me some study carrels.
Now I may report on the sad state of the BYU study carrels. They are exceedingly dull and small. I had high hopes of finding colorful material written in secret inside the carrels, but I looked in at least six of them and there was not a single thing written. NOTHING. The comparison between Stanford and BYU carrels is disheartening. I was looking forward to seeing what BYU students saw fit to write in their carrels. Apparently they have nothing to say. There weren't even any favorite scriptures etched into the plastic.
We also attended stake conference the 3rd or 4th sunday after the move. We were supposed to go to Provo High School's auditorium for it, which I thought really weird. But I sensed another opportunity to inspect the creativity and personal expression of the local students by inspecting their bathroom stalls. After using the facilities during my visit, I can say that Provo high school students either have zero personal expression in bathroom stalls, or the stalls have all been recently replaced. I remember plenty of thrilling material to read in the bathroom stalls during my time at Bountiful High 10 years ago. Bountiful and Provo are both pretty conservative, but Provo takes the cake.
Poor little Provo / BYU students. They don't even know what they are missing. It could be I am wrong and simply looked in the wrong carrels and bathroom stalls. Or not.