Tuesday, August 6, 2013

UTC Memories

I finished my absolute last college final today, and a recent conversation I had with Leslie gave me the idea to write the following: Here’s a collection of a few of my favorite moments/things at UTC:
Eating veggie burgers or waffles with Leslie at the Yellow Deli next to campus. This was the location of our first date, and I proposed at the same table by the food elevator a little over a year later. If nothing else, college is the perfect opportunity to meet your special someone.

I forgot my very first college homework assignment on the first week of my freshman year. I jogged all the way across campus and back to retrieve it before the class started. I made it, but the professor actually laughed at me for doing it when I returned. How I have grown since then!

In one of Dr. Smith’s classes, Isaac Thompson played a Youtube video at the start of his oral presentation in which polar bears ripped each other to shreds on an ice floe. When we asked what this had to do with Faulkner’s The Hamlet, he said nothing, but that he thought it was a cool video. He then took us through what was probably the best analysis of the class. Kudos.

Dr. Rehyansky turned her back to a student’s PowerPoint and recited an entire random page of the Canterbury Tales by heart in Middle English. What can’t that woman do? She also wrote me a fantastic letter of recommendation of which I am eternally grateful.

Whenever I spotted Leslie walking in my direction on campus, I would freeze or hide to the side until she identified me with a little wave. She called me her Easter Egg.

ARC waterslide. Because you know your college is big when it has a three story waterslide. I read most of Laurence Durrell’s Justine on the lazy river.

My two super secret parking spots. (Only after graduation am I comfortable revealing these locations.) One is in the UNUM lot at the very top right corner. It’s an unnaturally wide spot, so most students won’t take it for fear of a ticket. The other is in the tiny lot on Douglass across from the new library. There is only one handicap parking spot, so whenever the spot next to it goes empty, most students don’t bother to check it out either.

Remember that day with the terrible thunderstorms and tornados? Nolen Goins and I wanted ice cream that day, so we tried to beat the fast approaching storm on foot. The food court was closed by the time we reached the UC, and a few campus officials tried to round us up in the building’s basement. However, we had video games we wanted to play, so we snuck away through a side door. We got about 100 feet out beneath a blackened sky when it began to hail. Golf balls clanked against the top of our heads, jarring our teeth in our mouths, and we looked at each other, but neither of us were willing to bolt first. We deliberately walked in the downpour for over a minute as the storm swelled around us. Branches flailed. Car alarms went off. But we retained our dignities nonetheless. We remained awestruck, though composed at least halfway back, until the loudest and closest burst of thunder ever to break boulders with its brilliant fists detonated with an offering of impending death immediately above us. At that moment, or as soon as we could stand up straight again, we both took off just as fast as we could run, shouting and wailing the rest of the way to the dorms, energetically laughing only once we got inside.

Creative Writing (mainly with Professor Baker). The comments we made about each other’s writing knew no bounds. Those classes were hilarious at one moment, incredibly insightful at the next. One day Steven Beaty said the following,:“That’s what a family is. Maybe not one big conflict, but certainly a whole lot of little ones.”

Also Professor Jeremy Locke took the time to read my entire first draft of Extended Stay almost four years ago. We had a lot of great conversations, and I can’t thank him enough for his efforts.

The Crossroads opening! What glorious money I have saved. I have eaten more food there in the last two years than everywhere else combined. Ms. Brenda, who works there, was the first to learn of my engagement.

Dorm life. I’m not sure which is more memorable, hanging Blake Young’s furniture to the wall and ceiling with gorilla tape, or heating the rooms for half the winter with the stove and oven when the heater broke.

I ran a mile in almost exactly 6 minutes and 30 seconds on the ARC track upstairs. It took me months to get there, and I never ever ran again afterward. (I really should pick it up again.)

Crane! No wait. Cranes! If you know me, you know how much I’ve enjoyed watching the construction of the new library. The cranes were even on my Facebook background for months. I happened to write a scene about that same corner intersection in Extended Stay only a few months before the project was announced, so I’m always especially reminded by how different that area is. Remember when it used to be nothing but a parking lot? Everything from foundation work to porta potties hanging five stories in the air, it has all been cool.

University Relations internship. I visited the Cindy Carroll and Chuck Cantrell (you know, the guy who sends all the UTC emails) for two days at the end of my last class. They were incredibly kind and showed me a behind-the-scenes look at all the positive energy that goes into the school, energy I had otherwise somewhat misplaced in all the homework and busyness.

Professor Kizza did a special, celebratory dance in front of the class on the last day of African Literature a few semesters ago. Her face positively glowed as she clapped her hands to the rhythm of drums and playful shouting. I smiled for hours afterward. What a wonderfully representative way to end such an illuminating class.


PS. What is your favorite memory of school?

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