Southwestern has made an impression on me. Its white buildings and green lawns and passionate professors have become sort of a comfort zone to me these last few weeks as I meander my way into life after SU. When I describe my experience in college to those unfamiliar with our campus later in life, I’m probably going to use a lot of very unsophisticated “reallys”. Southwestern is really hard. The classes are really good. The grass is really green. Despite all the papers I’ve written and sentences I’ve constructed, I can’t find a word to embody the feeling of Southwestern. It’s just really Southwestern.
So here’s what I know now, after really hard classes and really late nights and really trying times and really cool tidbits I picked up in those really hard classes.
1. Mabee smells. It smells like years of homesickness and old alcohol and burning popcorn and cigarette smoke and perfume. That smell never goes away, and whenever I am around the building, it’s like I still live there and the last three years of my life never happened.
2. Genderraceandclass is actually one word. Possibly the most popular phrase here, genderraceandclasss will find its way into every class, lecture and intellectual discussion on campus. Get used to it and learn to embrace it.
3. No one knows what time the academic buildings close. Everyone has their own theory about this mystery, whether they got their information from the website, a professor or Chief Brown herself. Unfortunately, each theory is dramatically different, hence the mystery of the actual closing times.
4. It’s really hard. If you made all A’s in high school, you’re going to make some B’s. B students will make C’s and C students should probably go ahead and drop now. Or else work really, really hard. Because that’s what we do here. Which brings me to my next point.
5. If you’re a girl or a really sensitive guy, you’re going to cry at some point in the library. If you’re a guy or a really tough girl, you’ll probably punch something. At some point, be it a paper you can’t finish or an assignment that’s already two days late and counting or a frozen computer, something will break you down. It will crush your spirit, and you will cry.
6. The whole thing about the kid sitting on your left not graduating with you is true. Again, it’s really hard. And lots of people can’t take it. End of story.
7. Identity doesn’t matter. I see so many first-years come to Southwestern and remake themselves and create a new identity so they’ll be known as “that one girl who really cares about the environment” or “that one dude who never wears shoes”. For the most part, no one is watching you, no one cares what you do, no one is paying any attention whatsoever to “who” you are. For the most part, people are pretty self-absorbed.
8. Certain things are so Southwestern. These include: people playing Frisbee on the mall, people napping on the mall, people having intellectual discussions on the mall, people playing guitar and praising God on the mall, people smoking cigarettes on the mall. People. Mall. Southwestern.
9. You can’t get your picture on that super cool frame next to the commons unless Career Services helped you find your job/internship/graduate school. I really, really want to be in that frame, but I found my jobs/internships/graduate school outside of Career Services. So unfair.
10. The restrooms on the second floor of McCombs are quite nice. And very rarely used, so they’re always clean. Unlike the second floor library restrooms, which are creepy.