Oddly specific campus phenomena that you may not have realized you missed

April 18, 2021 — by Esther Luan

Graphic by Minsui Tang

After spending more than a year in quarantine and away from campus, it’s hard to leave the comfort and familiar home workspaces when you return to come back to in-person school. I’ve struggled with this personally — is in-person school really worth sacrificing rolling out of bed 20 seconds before online class starts? Is it worth losing the opportunity to grab a bag of chips from the pantry during an especially dull breakout room?

I’ve done everyone a favor and listed out some common campus life phenomena to further inform your decision — many of which are annoying yet somewhat nostalgic. Upperclassmen might have forgotten some, but y’all will remember; freshmen, you’ll experience these for the first time soon. Buckle up for a hike down memory lane (or the math wing hallway).

1. Healthy Food vending machines. 

Adrenaline rushes through your veins as you feed a $5 bill and it disappears with a zip. You pray to all the deities, who may or may not exist, for good fortune and a return on your investment — maybe some saltless pretzels or a can of zero-sugar San Pellegrino. The invocations are futile — the machine rolls a row of allegedly nutritious snacks forward and then stops just short of dropping one. You pound your fist against the glass display in agony before departing to notify the maintenance staff. Friends chuckle at your misfortune, but they too will soon suffer the same fate.

2. Refilling stations.

There is nothing quite like filling up an empty water bottle after sweating out all your fluids during an especially painful chemistry exam. You watch the “number of plastic bottles saved” metric go up by one and feel a small sense of fulfillment. The crystal-clear flavor of filtered, chilled H2O washes away your sorrows. Did your friend offer a breath mint for solace after the test ended? Tastes even better. 

3. English wing murals painted by past students. 

You occasionally take a moment to appreciate these as you walk past on the way to your next class. They are manifestations of the artistic talent and creativity that you will never possess. Also, they make the beige brick walls more bearable to look at.

4. Debating whether or not to put your earbuds in two minutes before the end of passing.

“Was that the bell or is everyone just coincidentally beelining to the door at the same time?”

5. Working hand dryers in the bathrooms.

I’m hoping that by adding this item I can will it into existence. Every year, at a certain point in second semester, the chances of happening upon a working hand dryer are eclipsed by that of experiencing a lightning strike. Somehow the slightly humid spring air makes it feel even more gross to walk out with your hands damply gripping a laminated bathroom pass. 

6. Cracking your back on the blue chairs.

This is still on my list of top three places to crack your back and I haven’t been able to experience it in over a year. Recommended by 10 out of 10 chiropractically qualified Esthers. The plastic magically angles directly into the best part of your spine. Between me and all the Falcon readers, I would steal one of these chairs if they weren’t attached to desks.

See you on campus. Maybe.

 

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Comments

Spot on and insightful. Gave me a giggle in between otherwise the otherwise endless daunting digital workload of a Wednesday, and I'm sure it will have done the same for many other readers. Thanks! You should be writing for McSweeney's Internet Tendency someday...

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