One of my favorite things about college so far is finding stuff that I didn’t know about before. I think this has something to do with the fact that my family never really moved when I was a child. (Well, unless you count that time when I was five and we moved a few miles away from our old house, but I don’t – it was such a short distance and I have barely any memories of my life there anyway.) Having lived in between the same two towns for practically all my life, I was kind of bored of them.
It’s different here. It seems as though I stumble across something new at least every other day or so. Even seemingly mundane discoveries are still kind of cool, because they make me feel like I’ve leveled up. +500 Awesome Student Points!
Since the start of the semester, I’ve discovered a few different things on campus that made me ask myself, “How did I live without this before?!” The tunnels, for instance. A tunnel connects my dorm to the one next door, so now I can walk to the dining hall on rainy, cold, windy, or snowy nights without ever having to go out into the elements. I knew about this tunnel last semester but for some reason, I thought it was much longer and more complex than it actually is.
On the other side of my dorm, a walkway connects our fourth floor to the third floor of the honors center. I knew about this last semester, and used it all the time – I love being this close to the center with all its study rooms and computer labs and printing stations. What I didn’t know until a few weeks ago, though, is that if I take the elevator all the way down to the basement, there is a tunnel that connects the honors center to the career center.
I understand why I didn’t find out about this until recently, however: There was no point in using these tunnels when I arrived here this summer, because it’s warm then and the walkway is lined with beautiful trees. (Can you tell I can’t wait for it to be that way again this spring?! It’s gonna be so great.)
February in Iowa is miserable, though. I hate being cold, but what really gets on my nerves is the wind. I HATE cold windy days, and we seem to have a lot of them here. I don’t want to go outside if I can help it, and one other way this has affected my life is that I haven’t gone to the library in a while because I just don’t feel it’s worth it. Yes, it’s less than five minutes away, but those five minutes will be bitterly cold, and in the meantime I have plenty of other things to do to keep myself occupied. (Such as prattling on and on to you via this blog.)
I need a tunnel that goes to the library, basically. But since there isn’t one, I’ll settle for using the tunnels that do exist. It’s a relief to know that when I’m heading back from my evening class that meets twice a week, I can get out of the cold as soon as I reach the career center.
I’ve also developed the habit of making shortcuts through various buildings on particularly cold days. I never once entered the chemistry building last semester, because I had no need this. This year, however, I’m in it several times a week because there are some three hundred other students enrolled in Media Usage & Effects with me, so some of our classes are held in a huge lecture hall there.
Now I cut through there whenever I don’t feel like freezing my butt off – which is to say, always. It was a bit confusing at first, though, because the chemistry building is built on a hill, so you actually enter it from the third floor. The first couple of times I was there I kept going up or down stairs unnecessarily because I had no idea where I was going.
Another discovery I’ve recently made has to do with FOOD. I keep finding places where I can buy a bite to eat and now I feel ridiculous for relying on the dining hall SO MUCH last year. The dining hall nearest to me is closed on Sunday evenings, so I used to either trek across campus to the west side dining hall or buy crappy pre-made sandwiches from the library’s cafe.
Just as before, both options are totally doable in the summer, but not so much fun in the dead of winter. But now I realized I can buy meals in the same dorm that the east side dining hall is in, even when the dining hall is closed! YAY FOR NOT STARVING ON SUNDAY NIGHTS. Aaaand they even sell falafel wraps there! Yayyyy for not having to eat endless crappy pre-made sandwiches!
My favorite new food thing, though, was the realization that I can actually buy entire meals and not just snacks from the student union. On days when I have only forty-five minutes between classes, this really helps.
Forty-five minutes sounds like a lot, doesn’t it? Well, I thought so too. But by the time I’ve packed up my stuff after one class, bundled up against the cold, walked to the dining hall, waited in line to get in, waited in multiple lines once inside to get my food, found a clean and empty table to sit at, eaten my food, waited in line to put my dirty dishes on the conveyor belt, walked to my next class, taken off my coat/hat/scarf/gloves ensemble, and unpacked my stuff… I’m generally cutting it pretty close to the time limit.
Last semester, there were soooo many days when I just didn’t eat lunch on those days, or else ate too quickly and ended up feeling uncomfortable afterwards. And now I’m just like, “Ohhhh… that was there all this time? And I didn’t even know? Wow.” Congratulations on being oblivious, me.
So, yeah. I am inordinately proud of myself for figuring this stuff out. I’d rather be warm and full than cold and hungry – and since I’ll be here for a little more than three years still, I’m glad I figured this stuff out sooner rather than later. Now I just need to find more tunnels leading to mysterious locations… who knows, maybe I’ll even find a food tunnel?!