Inspiration for this piece may or may not have been drawn from The Varsity’s article detailing secluded study spaces. All queries/threats should be directed towards the offices of Emory Claire Mitchell, our senior legal counsel.
If you’ve ever tried to let out a quick sob in a Robarts reading room only to look up after the first tear and see a dozen pairs of eyes glaring at you — you’ve learned that crying in the library isn’t for you.
Still, many students, ourselves included, find it equally difficult to cry at home. Familiarity can equal distraction as your eyes wander across the room and catch a roommate, pet, or meaningful photo; maybe bottle up your emotions and take an excursion — or 12 — to the fridge. The proximity to your bed is not helpful either when trying to resist the urge to take yet another one of those 13–hour “naps”.
Then, there’s the power of the space itself; the ability of lights, sounds, and colours to inspire our thoughts, shift our moods, help us relax, or cause additional stress. As much as it’s important to stay centred regardless of our surroundings, the environment that we find ourselves in can either be helpful or obstructive in this feat.
For those who are searching for a middle ground between weeping at home or abiding by the library’s strict pact of silence, we’ve explored and tested some alternative crying spaces.
OISE Nexus Lounge – 252 Bloor Street West, 12th floor
The Nexus Lounge not only boasts one of the most impressive views on campus, but also offers a versatile crying area with desk space, lounge space, and a kitchenette.
This makes it effortless to rotate your grieving, breaking, and snacking all in one spot, not to mention snapping some stunning scenery. Natural light fills the room during daytime, but the best part comes for those miserable urbanites crying overtime — a radiant sunset over the city.
Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular & Biomolecular Research, Indoor Garden — 160 College Street, First Floor
If you’re looking for a dynamic and energizing whimpering space, step inside the Donnelly Centre’s indoor garden. Divided by tall tropical plants, this spot feels secluded from the rest of the building. In the midst of palms and bamboo, an opening leads to a wood-based patio with benches. The feeling of being inside a hidden oasis creates a soothing effect. This is a great place to catch up on addressing emotional trauma in an incredibly unique environment.
Athletic Centre Pool Gallery — 55 Harbord Street, First Floor
At first glance, this may seem an unlikely study spot. But the Athletic Centre’s pool gallery has a surprisingly depressing atmosphere — a result of its vast space and the moderate sounds of happy swimmers and pool water swaying below.
The bleachers overlooking the pool are often empty in the morning hours and are gradually settled by students bawling with books, bags, and coffee from Café AC just outside. The spot is also great for sobbing with a friend as you won’t run the risk of getting the dreaded ‘shhh’ when consoling each other out loud.
Myhal Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Atrium — 55 St. George Street, Fifth Floor
The recently opened Myhal Centre has all the sophisticated design and choreographed misery one would expect from a UofT building. This extends to the spacious fifth-floor study hall that makes maximal use of brutalist-style architecture, with soul-sucking cubicles that provide maximum privacy for a weep, cry or, if you’re in the mood, a shattering howl. Even if you’re not suffering internally, Myhal is friendly, spacious, and has a welcoming atmosphere to let out a humble roar.
Jackman Law Building —78 Queen’s Park, First Floor
This mourning spot emanates a sleek modern elegance throughout. The atmosphere is heightened in the main study hall with its abstract edges and endless windows to longingly gaze out of. From the tables, students get a cozy view of Queen’s Park’s swift construction.
The sights of nature combined with the openness of the space create a peaceful atmosphere that really lets you get in touch with your devastating sadness. And don’t worry about knowing what seasonal depression means, as students crippled with the disorder have been taking advantage of the spot since the building opened in 2016.