Whenever I walk around my ex-university’s campus, I feel this sense of nostalgia that I’m impossibly tied to, its lines all neatly etched into me; there’s a memory for almost every building, reminders like breadcrumbs along every pathway of failed crushes, amazing classes and professors, firsts, lasts, all of those times when I wanted to give the sky the middle finger and disappear into a powder and drift away with the arctic air… there’s so much in that place. So much exploration and misery and happiness and beauty.
I pass the Old Arts Building and I’m reminded of a few things; countless film labs, firstly. When I would bring my campus-purchased dinner (typically something wildly unhealthy) and sit in my corner seat and write random things in a notebook while listening to music and waiting for that day’s typically boring movie. Once in a while, I was surprised at how entertaining something so cerebral could be. Once in a while… I also think of my most hated of hated classes, Introduction to Writing Centre Practices (shudder). It was the time when I was least happy anyways, and its horrendous professor, discomfort, boredom and everything else grates me whenever I see Old Arts. Lastly, I think of Ryan. How could I not?
I think of him when I walk past the Business Building too. I think of his shoes and his clipboard and how I got nothing from him at all. In retrospect, it was better that way.
I see HUB and I think of that time in my life just before, and just after I went to the Dominican Republic. The cliche is “when it rains, it pours” and this is so true. So, so true. And here is proof, this time period. January, February, March. Rain, rain, rain — both the good and bad kinds.
Rutherford Library is where I conquered everything and read books and studied with my best friend and could write for hours without interruptions. That place is so much to me. Finding and searching and shelves and shelves of musty knowledge, mysteries and graffiti and intimately cramped corners, old pages of forgotten books, scattered and brittle and jaundiced.
I remember my 6 Mac lunches in the Central Academic Building. That was where I made my first friends. Whether or not to skip anthropology was always a debate. What to eat was always a debate, but Booster Juice usually won. That was back before there was a real Tim Hortons, back before I grew up and realized what residence really means, back before I’d ever kissed anyone or lost anyone or had to let someone go.
Years of budding romances and hard work and stress and heartbreak and loss and finds and discoveries, not just mine, stagnate and sit for years in the walls of anywhere on that campus. Anyone who goes to any university knows how much one discovers themselves and grows psychologically throughout the duration of their degree. I could barely talk to anyone in my first two years of school. And I never let anyone read my writing. And here I am today, giving educational programs and taking chances. And university did that.
University, contrary to what a lot of people think, isn’t about intellectual growth or careers. It is a place to go to find out who you are and consequently, where next to journey to.