[M.M.X.I.V. 231] Walking on Campus

Notice: Listening to Marc Cohn is NOT required while reading this post.

Back in December, I was rendezvousing with one of the former coordinators of my REU in 2008 at The Mill.  Conversations at those rendezvous are always the type of “how are things going/let’s catch up.”  One part of the discussion, though, encouraged a follow-up blog post.  I don’t know why I waited this long to write the post, but actually this is part one of two, and tomorrow will have a “throwback journal entry” with a reference to this post!

College campuses are often very pretty.  I liked walking on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln not only as a student, but also a few times prior to becoming a student (or even a high school “visit[ing] scholar.”  Northwestern has a wonderful green and blue campus as well.  Therefore, I wanted to mention things about both of these campuses in this post.

Way before I was a college student (in my sixth through ninth grade years), since I was 14 or 15, people near my age were becoming בני מצוה (bar/bat mitzvah), and our family was always invited to the parties as well.  Most of these parties were traditional dinner-dance parties.

At that point in my life, I am not sure which I dreaded more — the services or the parties.  Honestly, I may have disliked the parties more!  At the parties, the music was never of my taste (it was often newfangled Top-40 garbage), and I did not feel comfortable conversing with others (even those that were older than me).  I often slinked off in a corner at these sorts of parties.  This was definitely not a proud time in my social history.  It was definitely a component of my Asperger syndrome, and basically using The Shell to withdraw from the situation, even if there was no actual drama associated with it.

At a few of them, Dad facilitated my action of party-pooper.  These parties were often at hotels in downtown Lincoln.  For at least two of them, Dad and I sneaked out of the party and walked around the campus of the University.  One of these times, we walked by the Lincoln Journal-Star printing press.  Dad had mentioned something about it that was intriguing to me at the time, but I cannot recall now what it was.

On these walks, Dad recalled his days in college, we bandied observations about the landscaping and buildings on campus, and it was good (if non-traditional) father-son bonding time.  Little would I know at that time that I would be attending the University a few short years later, but most frequently traversing the campus on a bike instead of foot.

In the summer of 2001, I was on the campus of the University of Kansas-Lawrence for three weeks (Duke TIP).  Any traversal of campus was on foot, but through often intense July heat, and on steep hills that connected the dorm row to the Tech building where my geometry class was.  We saw more of the campus on weekends as a result of some RC (residence-counselor) guided tours, and planned activities.  I found it to be a pretty campus, even though I don’t know whether I felt that I would fit in there.  (I would not have been aware of my innermost feelings at that time anyway, probably!)

In fact, the post that I will write tomorrow includes Example 3 of leaving a בת מצוה party for campus, but the reason is not for being a party pooper.  Stay tuned for that post!

I have a few other things to comment on about walking on campus, however.  During the summer of 2006, I had a parking pass in the UNL R Street Garage and had to traverse campus in order to get to Brace Lab for physics research.  My most frequent route was to simply take R Street from the garage down to the Sheldon Art Gallery (now Sheldon Museum of Art) and snake through the garden of sculptures in order to get to the lab.

These late spring and early summer days were full of the aroma of lilacs, and even if I didn’t always enjoy working in the lab, it was pleasant walking to and from the lab, getting to see campus from an angle that I did not often see (the south end, in seeing the Union and Love Library from the “other side,” for example.  This was before I had a folding bike, and there are some times where walking is indicated, even if a bike IS possible or plausible to use!

And the last few summers, I have sometimes had dinner with friend(s) in Evanston, followed by a walk around the Northwestern campus.  These are always enjoyable with the view of the lake, the old buildings, and extra opportunity for conversation.  Honestly, I don’t need elaborate activities to be happy–quality time walking with good friends and family keeps me happy!

In some sense, this last paragraph shows how much of a pi I have pulled in the last decade-plus.  I have gone from using walking on a college campus as an escape from social situations into making walking on a college campus an integral part of the social situation!

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Today is the two-hundred and thirty-first day of M.M.X.I.V.  That makes thirty-three weeks.

Today is the thirty-sixth day of the Character Building Trial.  That makes five weeks and one day.

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