If you believe the tell-all message boards on CollegeConfidential.com, the cluster of UMass dorms known as Southwest are . . . well, let’s do it Zagat-style. “Very lively.” An “Animal House-like scene.” “If you live on campus and are not a partier, stay away.”

So what’s Taylor Gugel, a dean’s list type who frequently gets up in the wee hours of the morning for ROTC drills, doing in one of these, ahem, lively dorms? Reveling in the peace and quiet, actually. Gugel lives on one of UMass’s two 24-hour “quiet floors.”

Despite their incongruous placement — one is in Southwest, on the 22d floor of the Adams dorm; the other is on the fourth floor of Brooks, an alcohol-free dorm in Central — quiet floors are the place to be if you want to knuckle down and focus. (Think of them as the college’s answer to the Amtrak Quiet Car.) They’ve been around for at least 20 years, and they never seem to have trouble filling up, though maybe that’s because they house just 66 people. Very few freshmen choose to live there; this year, only five of the 66 are first-years. But 27 are sophomores. We’re guessing that after a busy first year, a quiet floor would feel like quite the refuge.

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