nitpicking my way through campus
I’ll be the first to admit that there are very few things wrong with my life. As I write this, I’m in a safe, quiet space where I feel comfortable and content. I have access to not only higher education, but also a warm bed and french fries. With so many good things in my life, it can seem ungrateful or even immature of me to complain.
But once in a while, this perspective leaves me, and I feel a need to bemoan the most banal annoyances in my life. And when I say the most banal of annoyances, I mean the most minute, insignificant things possible.
For instance, there is one particular automatic stapler in one particular location on this campus that regularly drives me insane. (Hint: It is located in a library that begins with an “s” and rhymes with “cry lie”.) Every time I insert my pages into this stapler, it violently shanks my essays and problem sets so deeply in the page that the text on the corners is practically unreadable. Every time this happens, I feel a visceral pain, as if I have just been stapled myself. Why would a designer do this? I ask myself. Do they themselves not use staplers, and are henceforth blind to this farce? I’ve tried every possible angle of placement to get the staple closer to the edge of the page, but it just makes the staple even more lopsided, and I look like a lunatic to everyone waiting behind me. It is an unavoidable, villainous source of entropy in my life.
Another persistent demon in my college experience has been the fact that students cannot swipe more than two meal credits an hour. This rule is absolutely inane. I pay over $60,000 a year to allow this institution to sustain my existence while I’m here. That said, if I want to get a gourmet Ratty dinner followed by an order of custom tacos, a Jo’s salad, and three muffins and a smoothie for dessert, I should be able to shell out five meal credits within 45 minutes and have whatever kind of personal palooza I want. Some may insist that this rule simply exists to protect students from ruining their eating habits, or perhaps abusing the dining system. I say, let me eat, you bureaucratic heathens.
Even in my most sacred place, my room, an inevitable annoyance lays dormant, waiting to assault me whenever I walk in—the fact that there is barely half a foot of space between my desk and the front door.
The astute among you may be tempted to point out that this is simply my fault for not arranging the furniture more wisely. However, I can assure you, I have already tried every possible permutation of my desk, bed, and drawer to achieve the most optimal placement of all three objects. My cramped dorm is just a fact of life. That being said, I cannot tell you the number of times I have stubbed my toes, tripped over a pair of shoes, or been nearly strangled by my backpack strap caught on my bed frame while simply trying to get to class on time. Half of the time, it feels like a video game. You enter boss-mode when someone has pulled out a chair to sit at the desk, reducing the exit space to mere inches. From there, your only choice is to either a) channel your inner Mario and jump over the whole darned thing, or b) lie on the rug and cry.
Finally, though there are great events happening around campus all the time, there are inevitable frustrations in even your attempt to get to them. Just recently, for example, none other than David Cameron was delivering a talk on campus. I heard about this event several weeks in advance and was ecstatic to attend—I couldn’t wait to be able to converse casually about neoliberalism and Brexit in the bougiest way possible over brunch. I registered my ticket far ahead of time, got a confirmation email that I was in, and promptly forgot about the event until a few days prior, when I got a reminder email.
However, the reminder email was vague. I realized only on the day of the event that it provided only the time, but no actual location of any sort. In order to reveal this information, the email said, I had to “register” my ticket online by creating an Eventbrite account. I hate making new accounts on anything, but for the sake of my education, I did. Then, following the external link, I clicked “register.”
The screen then proceeded to let me know that I was on the waitlist and would be notified if any spaces opened up after the probably hundreds of people before me. In a further show of its audacity, it still kept the location hidden. I had never felt more blindsided in my life.
Imagining the long line of people who were waiting for a ticket just like me, I gave up on the event altogether. In an effort at maturity, I bit a tearful goodbye to my swindled opportunity to hear Mr. Cameron’s talk and tried my best to focus on the good things in my life.
Later, some of my friends told me that I should have waited outside the doors, as they let nearly everyone in.
And thus is a conclusive list of recent ways in which college life has left me out on a limb.