By the time you’ve reached your senior year in college, you’ve mastered the basics. Read your share of syllabi. Explored the dining options on campus. You’ve even figured out how to stay awake during a 10 p.m.. lecture on Napoleon Bonaparte (or at least how to fake it). And most importantly, you’ve learned how to navigate campus in between classes.
Or so you would think.
Since my freshman year I’ve been the typical, type-A overachiever. I was always that student who arrived for class 25 minutes early. I buried myself in my textbooks, scanning them meticulously. I even followed up on those emails encouraging us to check our schedules on SelfService the night before starting a new class.
On the first day of the semester, I slung my backpack (packed with fresh paper and pens) over my shoulder (draped in last night’s pre-approved fashion choice) and headed off to class with that can-do attitude. My first class of the day was senior thesis, so I was prepared and feeling good. In fact, more than good. Because of some hard work earlier in my college career, I was ready to graduate a semester early in December. I was ready to make my final semester at Arcadia count.
I walked out of thesis feeling triumphant. I had survived half of the first day. Only one more class to go. I double-checked my schedule. I only had five minutes to make it from thesis in Taylor Hall to my next class, which was much less time than I would have liked. I walked to the beat of the mantra in my head: Boyer 105. Boyer 105. Boyer 105. I wasn’t about to start my senior year making a bad impression.
When I got to the outside of the building, I scanned the walls for a room directory. Then I trotted off down the hall to my class.
Only it was labeled PA Student Center. What?
My easy-breezy first day attitude faltered for a millisecond. No worries. I was still a few minutes early. Navigating the new building shouldn’t be too difficult. Behind me someone said, “Oh, no, you need the science building” to a lost first-year student who scrambled for her books and legged it out of the building. I said my silent thanks that my days of getting lost on campus as a freshman were over.
I exhaled and wished her the best of luck in my head. Then I turned my attention back to my own problem: Where was the classroom I was looking for?
I paced the hall again, just in case the sign outside the room had changed from PA Student Center to Hey, Jamie. Enter here in the past 45 seconds. It hadn’t. I walked back to the directory and gazed at the top. The ledger said Brubaker/Easton.
In that moment I realized I was just as lost as the confused freshman I’d watch scramble out a few minutes before. I had walked all the way across campus to the wrong building!
Calling myself a few choice names, I hurried out through the lobby and flew across campus (ok, it was that half-run, half-“I’m-cool”-walk you try to do when you’re late but there are people around) to the correct building. I flew past students gathering outside the Commons for a snack. I blew through the Boyer lobby, lunging for the closing door. As I slid into the correct room with seconds to spare, I closed my eyes and laughed. If there was one thing I learned on my first day of classes it’s that seniors don’t know it all.
For all my freshman readers starting off the new school year, don’t let a new campus get you down. It took me an entire first semester just to find my way around campus. To all my fellow Arcadia Knights, let me know about your embarrassing campus mix-ups in the comments!