"I have held many things in my hands, and I have lost them all; but whatever I have placed in God's hands, that I still possess." -Martin Luther

Monday, June 08, 2009

There's So Many People! or Reflections on Summer at a Bigger College

During the school year, I attend Covenant College, which is home to about 1000 undergraduate students and very few graduate students. This summer I am living at Clemson university, home to around 14000 undergrads and 3000 graduate students and post-docs. Clemson has more faculty than Covenant has students.

Knowledge of this disparity in size led me to two notable expectations.

First, I believed that the larger size of Clemson's campus meant I would take longer to get everywhere. This is false. Certainly, there's no way I can sprint all the way to the physics department and back if I want to drop off a paper. It's close to a mile round trip. However, the food is, in truth, closer than it was at Covenant, due to the fact that even on most days I cook in my apartment, and on the others, Clemson has spread the edible joy around by building several cafeterias. And, most importantly, I don't know most of the students at Clemson. I never realized until I strolled across campus one lazy sunny afternoon, that it is rare for me to pass five students at Covenant without at least smiling and saying hello to one or two, and, most likely, striking up a conversation. It can take me hours to make the few hundred meter walk to the library. My comparative isolation is not sad. I have friends at Clemson, and I live in a world where most of my friends are no more than a phone call away. It is, however, causing me to smile fondly as I think of all my kind and faithful friends and acquaintances on the mountain.

An irony connected to the first expectation is that one would think summer-school at a major university would involve ghost-town reminiscent environments. To the contrary, there is quite a bit of life at Clemson, although it is a little more spread out than I am used to. Covenant is, after all perched on a mountaintop. In fact, I am already a little bit concerned about the sheer number of people around. What's going to happen in the Fall! Will everyone be lost in a sea of antlike undergraduates rushing hither and thither? Will the spacious-seeming anterooms, courtyards, and monuments be clogged with the academically-minded future of the nation?

I comfort myself by supposing the administration at Clemson has dealt with this problem in the past. Anyway, they have at least an entire building all to themselves, so I can't imagine them not being able to come up with some sort of viable plan.

In the meantime, I will walk long distances per conversation and find the ratio of campus size to distance to food to be smaller than anticipated.

1 comment:

  1. Are you aware that in the space of three sentences you used the words mountain-top, sheer, and fall, and with uses that were not directly related to each other? Wow.
    You said to remind you about praying today. So I am.
    Thank you so much for keeping us updated!

    ReplyDelete

A soft answer turns away wrath,
but a harsh word stirs up anger.
The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
but the mouths of fools pour out folly.