A 4 a.m. stint at Herman B Wells Library is a final resort for some students, a last-ditch effort to finish a presentation or complete a term paper.
But for sophomore Tyana Hendricks, late nights at Wells are part of her job.
Hendricks works at the west tower circulation desk four times a week from 11:45 p.m. to 5 a.m. Mondays and Thursdays, 3 to 8 a.m. Wednesdays and 9 p.m. to 12 a.m. Fridays.
She clocks nearly 28 hours per week and is taking 18 credit hours.
“It’s a lot easier than RPS where you’re on your feet all day,” Hendricks said. “It’s the best on-campus job.”
Hendricks and others who work at the desk are responsible for organizing books for professors and their students, answering questions and managing the lost and found.
Though Hendricks’ tuition is covered through financial aid and scholarship, she works these hours to pay her rent.
She lives at Campus Corner where she pays $629 per month for her space in a two-bedroom apartment she shares with a roommate.
Unlike some students who prioritize when to do their work, Hendricks said she plans when to sleep.
Mondays she does not have classes, so she said she is in bed all day.
Her Wells shift lasts from 11:45 p.m. to 5 a.m, so after, she heads home, takes a sleeping pill and hopes to get some sleep before her class at 9:30 a.m., Tuesday.
Her Tuesday classes end at 5:15 p.m., and she returns to her apartment and sleeps until 1:30 a.m.
She then takes an IU Safety Escort to Wells, arriving at 2 a.m., an hour before her shift. The ride service ends at 2.
She waits, sometimes watches Netflix, then begins work at 3 a.m.
Her schedule has affected her mental health, she said.
“My anxiety has skyrocketed,” Hendricks said.
It is hard to juggle work and being away from family in Kansas and her boyfriend, who lives in northern Indiana, Hendricks said.
Hendricks’ drive to work comes from her family. Her mother and step-father both work two jobs and her 15-year-old sister has a job.
“My mom raised us to be hardworking,” Hendricks said.
Hendricks said she must be cautious working late at night. She takes a safety escort to work and a taxi back home.
“I need to have some sort of protection,” Hendricks said. “No one sane is up at 5 a.m., but it’s better safe than sorry.”
Hendricks is responsible for safety procedures in the west tower within Wells.
The doors to the west tower lock at 12 a.m. and only people with a university ID can open them.
She said there is usually no trouble, but sometimes they do get drunk people wandering around.
Last semester, she said a drunk man came in looking for a pen and paper so he could write a letter to his girlfriend.
He approached Hendricks and asked her about her love life.
A night security guard helped her deal with the man and soon after he was put on a library trespassing list preventing him from entering the library again, Hendricks said.
“What’s most usual is frat guys coming in drunk,” Hendricks said. “They’re just working on K201 and Kelley stuff. They’re harmless.”
Hendricks also manages a lost and found at her desk. They usually collect IDs, laptop chargers and other assorted supplies but once received an olive green bralette.
Paige Burns, who works at the west circulation desk with Hendricks, said the oddest thing she has seen while working is a girl who walked in wearing a red and black plaid onesie.
Burns is a library science graduate student who is working at Wells while she looks for a full-time job.
Hendricks said that even with the long nights, some very long, she doesn’t consider quitting. The money and her coworkers are too important to her.
Hendricks takes a 15-minute break each shift. To recharge and get some caffeine, she sips on sodas, sometimes Tahitian Treat, a fruit punch soda that she used to drink back home in Kansas.
For those brief moments, Hendricks is reminded of her home.
She is able to relax and continue through her five-hour shift in the middle of the night.
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