Category: Campus Living

Spring, Sprang, Sprung

Spring has arrived here on the Elmhurst College campus! The weather has been pretty erratic, but it’s finally starting to feel like spring. For a while I started to hear the joke that Chicago/the Chicago area is called the Four Seasons, because we experience all four seasons in one day. A couple weeks ago, there was snow, sunshine, and crazy wind, sometimes all in the same day.

 

I’m grateful it’s spring, because of how beautiful the campus gets when everything starts to bloom. Elmhurst College is a registered arboretum, which means that we have a huge variety of trees, bushes, flowers, and other plants that flourish on our campus. According to the Elmhurst College website, we have our 800 different trees and shrubs. Seeing everything flower and the grass on the mall become lush and green is such a welcome and relieving change to the barrenness that the initial melting of snow brings.

 

 

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My favorite is walking to Schaible Hall. I’m not sure what kind of trees border the walkway, I want to say magnolia, but they are gorgeous once they bloom. It makes my journey to class so much more enjoyable. It’s kind of amazing how much more alive campus feels and how everyone’s mood changes once the weather gets warmer and the flora thrives once more. People lay out on the mall on blankets to do homework or just hang out with friends and enjoy the weather. And it’s great to see more members of the community taking strolls across campus, especially when they have their dogs with them, which some of the students, including myself, love to approach and ask to pet.

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I feel lucky to go to school on such a gorgeous campus. It may sound cheesy, but it really lifts my spirits to see how alive campus becomes during those first warm days of spring.

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An Infestation of the Enemy

I will finally weigh in on a highly contested issue among the student body: the squirrels. I hate them. So much. They are everywhere, lurking in the bushes, the garbage cans, they scream from the trees. Those screams haunt my nightmares. And let’s be perfectly frank, squirrels are rodents rife with disease. I have looked the enemy in the eyes. Those beady black eyes with nothing behind them.

This squirrel clearly has no shame. It's like showing up to a buffet with your own bib.

This squirrel clearly has no shame. It’s like showing up to a buffet with your own bib.

Have some respect for yourself! Eat some acorns like a normal squirrel.

Have some respect for yourself! Eat some acorns like a normal squirrel.

This is why I suggest a revision on the “no pets” policy in the dorms to allow cats. Back at home in dear old MI, I have cats who I love, partly because they ward away squirrels. Unfortunately, one of them is too fat to do much of anything other than sleep and cuddle, but that is beside the point. The point is population control.

 

I will never understand others’ infatuation with those furry rats that call themselves squirrels. I just try to enjoy watching the occasional bunny hop around and not try to eat trash.

The Jog of Gratitude

One of the things I love about Elmhurst and living on campus is how polite everyone is. It’s like a little slice of Canada here, that’s how polite people are.

 

The most common random act of kindness everyone performs here on campus is opening doors for the people behind them, exiting a building they are entering or vice versa. If there is someone in front of you walking into the same building, there is a 90% chance they will open the door for you, or at the very least push the door open a little bit more for you as they walk through it.

 

And as I’ve noticed this (and as it’s become second nature to me), I decided to have a little fun with it. One of my favorite past times here on campus is to see how many times a day I can get someone to do, what I like to call, The Jog of Gratitude.

 

The Jog of Gratitude is when you open the door for someone, but they are far enough away from you where you are waiting with the door open and they have to pick up the pace a little bit so you aren’t left waiting too long. We have all been subjected to this, we have all been The Jogger at least once every few days. There’s a certain amount of schadenfreude that comes with being the one who is holding the door, waiting for The Jogger.

 

Prompted half by amusement, half by curiosity, I began my friendly experiment. So nearly every day when I’m about to enter a building, I try to get just enough in front of someone to open the door for them. Sometimes they catch up to me just enough, but more often than not, I can get them to do The Jog. On any given day, I can get about six or seven Joggers. My record is sixteen (granted, I was running around campus quite a bit that day).

 

Once in a while I’m thwarted and become The Jogger myself. And in those moments as I jog to the door, I smile. I smile because of the kindness in that polite act of being willing to wait a few extra seconds for someone else instead of letting the door close and moving on.

Unexpected Necessities

Dorm life is fantastic, and I 1000/10 recommend it. The new freedom, the new people, and new experiences it opens you up to are indescribably great. However, with great power comes great responsibility, especially since you’re basically on your own, at least concerning caring for yourself and your room. As I’ve grown adjusted to dorm life, I’ve picked up some new tricks to keeping a up a lovely household (okay, just one room, but I do consider it home).

 

1. White vinegar is a life saver

Honestly, its magical properties are renowned in terms of cleaning. It is hands down the best way to get rid of stains on a budget. It has saved me so much time (and precious, precious quarters) on laundry. Spilled coffee on the shirt I just put on? No problem, get a paper towel, soak it in white vinegar, and scrub. Works like a charm and only costs a few bucks (depending on the size of container).

 

2. Lint rollers forever

How did I ever live without one? They’re already great for the obvious, getting lint off of clothes. But they are also amazing for cleaning carpet squares, rectangles, or whatever other shape of carpet you have in your room. I will say, it is a little gross looking at the lint paper after you’ve rolled it on your carpet a few times, but oh so gratifying at the same time. It works best on a shag carpet, but the results are wonderful no matter what. I feel so accomplished when I marvel at the cleanliness of my remnant after taking a lint roller to it.

 

3. Never underestimate the power of plants

Okay, this isn’t really a necessity, but I love having a plant in my room. And since I’m about as nurturing as a desert, I typically favor cactuses. Especially during the winter, it’s nice to see something living and green nearby. They make great pets: they will always spend time with you, they’ll listen to your problems, and they depend on you and will believe in you no matter what. My current cactus, The Archduke, makes a wonderful companion, especially since I feed him my old coffee grounds on occasion. It makes me want to adopt another.

 

Overall, trying to make your dorm room a cleaner and more personal place makes it pleasant and somewhere you’d like to be and bring people to hang out in, rather than just the place you happen to sleep at. Besides, it’ll keep your roommate happy, and who can argue with that?

homeSchickness

I haven’t been home that long, but I’m already missing dorm life. Although I do love the convenience of not having to shower with shoes on and the freedom to turn my room into a disaster zone guilt-free, I feel a kind of homesickness (or, more appropriately, homeSchickness…an ode to my on-campus residence, Schick Hall).

 

It’s weird not being able to walk down the hall to laugh and hang out with my floormates. I miss walking to the library (the school and public both). I miss talking to my roommate at night and listening to her loud cackling when I tell a joke, and then having to shush her by mock-sternly informing her that it’s quiet hours. I even long for the now very familiar (and oddly comforting) picturesque view of the dumpsters from our window.

 

It’s weird to think that a place that was once so foreign to me has become a second home; a place I pine for when I’m away. It’s all the little things that combine and make it become the place I would almost rather be.

Thanks A Latte!

Even though I staunchly maintain that I brew a cup of coffee so miraculous it results in religious awakenings, I am a very loyal and frequent customer at the coffee shop in the Founders Lounge. I love to get drinks that I can’t make myself and flavor combinations I normally wouldn’t think to try. Luckily for me, my roommate and closest friend on campus works there and always clues me in on what to try next. Most of the time I love to get different flavored mochas because, let’s face it, they’re caffeinated liquid candy. My personal favorite right now is the Peppermint Mocha, mostly because I know it’s a seasonal drink and am wholeheartedly enjoying it while it’s available.

 

And not only do I love the coffee, but the baristas are pretty great too. Even if they’re swamped (which they most definitely will be as the dreaded Finals Week approaches) they always make an effort to smile and be polite. On good days where they’re not too stressed, they’re crazy fun and great to talk to. And they’re consistently really efficient to boot. I’ve never had to wait more than a few minutes for a cup, even if there’s only one person staffed and it’s a busier time.

 

Especially in this cold weather, I’ve been there more than usual and definitely don’t plan on not being there all the time any time soon.