Sometimes the stress of four or more classes, not enough watery iced coffee, and trying to balance friends, school, and your drinking problem get to be too much. When you’re feeling particularly down in the dumps and not even free food from a vague, Frick event can elevate your spirits, do whatever you can to avoid these locations: The five spots on campus that make us realize our impending doom.
One—There has been what looks like a Mylar foil balloon stuck to the upper branches of a tree outside the Frick for months now—lightly wavering in the wind, its silvery surface capturing every wink from the sun, reflecting off our glasses’ lenses, reminding us of our undeniable mortality. We will be graduated, closer to death than we’ve ever been before, and it will still be there, its seemingly harmless form mocking us with each rustle and quiver.
Two—The computers for “public use” in the library, forgotten behind a shabby lost and found box and a disregarded coat rack that hasn’t properly functioned in five years, which begs the question: is a coat rack a coat rack if it’s without coats? The laughably outdated, yellowing Dells that probably still run on dial-up (is that a thing?), are never in use, so why do we have to witness their melancholic existence of anti-functionality? In proper Modernist fashion, their seemingly inoffensive, objective structure conjures up all sorts of bad feelings in myself and probably my fellow peers. We don’t want to be reminded that one day our shiny, new toys will be outdated and unwanted just like our soon-to-be aged bodies and slowed wit.
Three—At times the Roost can be downright offensive. It’s 10 p.m. on a Thursday night, the air thick with cheeseburger breath and post-practice body odor. Not to mention the call of the wild sorority girl, a jungle cry to alert and locate fellow denizens dressed head-to-toe in white, as banshee-like and inane as you can get. Just keep your eyes down, make sure you have all your faculties (i.e. be sober), and hope to god there isn’t a chair in your way. And you think, these are my peers. These people will get better jobs than me, and make more money than me, and have prettier children than me.
Four—Adversely, the Roost on a weekend. Not a soul in sight, your heavy footsteps resound in the abject basement, there is but one light on—the majority of the Roost is shrouded in darkness. It is incredibly eerie and you can practically hear the cheerfully-painted pipes groaning for some company, calling you up to be immortalized as PVC and forever forgotten.
Five—The back basement table of the library. The spot the most homework gets done. The no-nonsense attitude of the thick, grey plastic table focuses our every physical resource on the work. This is my go-to spot when I have a homework list so long it brings tears to the eyes of homeless men after I recite it to them on my walk home from school. But when wedged in that dank corner surrounded by the forgotten books of education majors long past, we can’t help but think, what’s the point to this homework? Will it really help me get anywhere? Why am I even in school… Oh, no.
In reality, there is no escape from inherent despondency. I feel like I end a lot of my columns with advice on activities to produce good feelings—but, what’s the point? It’s like, sometimes I can’t even bother to clean my coffee mug before I reuse it; sometimes, I can’t even finish sen-