Thursday, May 24, 2007


Today, for old times' sake, I dropped by the university campus where I did my undergraduate degree. It was a strange sensation, seeing it all again, seven years after I left. Before I got there, I wouldn't have been able to tell you where anything was, or what individual buildings looked like, but when I arrived it was all instantly familiar. Everywhere I stood, I would have a flash of memory telling me exactly what was around each corner, or in a few hundred metres in each direction. But I still didn't quite get the big picture back in my head until I'd walked around the whole campus.

Funnily, the sight of each building brought back a whole set of related memories that I had totally forgotten.

For example:

The cafe under the library where Geekman and I had our first date, followed by many 6 hour "study breaks" (while drinking endless cups of horrible, horrible 55 cent coffee).

The second hand clothes shop which sold me $1 items of clothing that I still wear today, nine years after I bought some of them, is sadly gone. But the sandwich places where I could never afford to eat are still there.

The Registry, which along with a few hundred other students, I once helped occupy for nearly a week in a protest against increased student fees. My job was to sit in the elevator and go up and down, up and down, to make sure the police couldn't use it to come up to the second floor and arrest us (we had barricaded the stairs). I had a major assignment due a few days later and it's amazing how difficult it is to concentrate on solving phonology problems when you have to interrupt your train of thought every two minutes to press the "close doors" button.

And I've saved the best of all until last: The cushions under the stairs in the physical sciences library. Is this not teh awesome? (Please to excuse the blurry: I had to take this picture without a flash so as not to wake the sleeping student.)

Since this library has heating, something no student houses ever do, my flatmates and I spent many happy winter evenings curled up here with a thermos flask of Milo and a good book. I think there used to be beanbags and giant sofa cushions rather than the neat mattresses and pillows they have there now.


Lucy said...

The cushions are fantastic! All libraries should have them. I used to just sleep with my head down on a study carrel desk.

Fifi Bluestocking said...

Hooray for library cushions! I was thinking just yesterday that I would really and truly like to install something like this in a corner of my office for those between class slumps. Actually, when I used to teach EFL overseas, one school I worked in had a room with a bed. I assume it was for use if you were suddenly taken ill but no one ever went there so on particularly bad days I used to kip between classes and turn up to teach with pillow marks all down my face. OK, enough of my unprofessionalism.

shrinkykitten said...

Wow, I'm really feeling like I was a really inadequate student - or at least had a paltry student experience because the only place I ever slept was at home, in my bed (or on a gymnasium floor, or in a hotel).

Lucy said...

Shrinky, I used to nap in the library to hide from people between classes, so I really don't think you were missing anything there.
I'm feeling sad about the lack of milo-fueled slumber parties in my undergrad experience, too, though.