These desks don't make sense

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APRIL 28, 2017

There will come a time when you’re taking a midterm in a lecture hall and you’re juggling the test, a cheat sheet, scratch paper and a calculator all on one tiny, collapsible desk. It’s times like these that we must acknowledge that some of the lecture hall desks simply suck. Somehow, each building has its own set of fold-out desks with different shapes and sizes. Remarkably, they all manage to fall short of our expectations of a desk, so here are some of the worst culprits.

Dwinelle lecture halls

These are the classic shitty desks. They fold out from beneath you, so you have to reach underneath yourself to pull them out. They’re also about half of the size of the notebook you intend on using. Any additional materials will inevitably end up on your lap. They might even end up on the floor, as several desks are loose and prone to collapsing on themselves at any given moment.

Banatao Auditorium

We assume most desks are rectangular because somewhere in history someone figured out that this was the best shape to write on rectangular pieces of paper. Whoever chose the desks in Banatao Auditorium in Sutardja Dai must have thought some kind of triangle-paper revolution was imminent, because that’s the only reasonable explanation for designing desks with such tiny, triangular fold-outs.

Pimentel Lecture Hall

The shapes of these desks are truly inexplicable. What begins as a regular rectangle angles upward and curves to create a shape that we’re convinced only exists in the form of Pimentel’s desks. Maybe they were testing aerodynamics or creating modern art. Whatever they were doing, the original use of these planks of wood could not have been writing.

For a school with such prestigious engineering and design programs, we still can’t seem to figure out the best way to build a folding desk. Or perhaps the desk-builders of the past were prophetic and anticipated that the shape of notebook paper would become unpredictable and the size much smaller. Until that time comes, we’ll still be mildly frustrated with the desks we were given.

Contact Ryan Melvin at 


APRIL 28, 2017