Negative Feedback

So I’m here studying in the Rotunda, and a student studying at the table next to me turns around and tells me,

“you must have a very noisy home for you to be able to focus with all this noise around! I’m going home, I can’t concentrate here.”

After she said this, I suddenly heard all the sounds around me.. the droning hum of people chatting, heels tapping on the floor, the opening and closing thumps of the doors, and sounds far away from who knows where that somehow made their way to the melting pot of echoes in the rotunda. I’ve always studied better in the rotunda than in my own, quiet dorm room, and it was after she made the simple comment that I realized why.

The rotunda is a completely solid room and every sound that is made is echoed, and becomes white noise. I realized the reason why I can’t study in my room is because with the absolute silence, my mind wonders off and starts playing songs and recreating voices in my head to compensate for the lack of sounds. But in the rotunda, with all the white noise around, the sounds are enough to suppress my mind from recreating these sounds, like “negative feedback.” But at the same time, the sounds are drowned enough in echo so that I don’t get distracted by any one conversation or distinct sound, let alone understand them.

So I turned to her and replied,

“it’s not noisy enough!”

Maybe I should start tuning my radio to an empty station whenever I study in my room… any ideas?