Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Campus Tour (part 1)

Before I found out that Aunt Annette has cancer, I had a hockey game.

Before I found out that Aunt Annette has cancer, I had a hockey game and, after our game, I went to lunch with my team. I made the reservations for my team. That's what you do when you're on your home turf. And we were definitely on my home turf.

My favorite city in the world, to be exact.

After we ate our team meal – in a restaurant that will forever be synonymous with visits from my parents – I took my teammate and her daughter (a potential Wolverine) on a tour of campus.

It was great fun. It has been nearly eight years since I graduated from the U, and I expected that I would feel more disoriented, more out of place. But I didn’t. I rattled off the names of the buildings as though I pass them every day. I navigated us around buildings and through shortcuts like I never left.

We started at the Union. Peered in on the study space. Made a quick loop around the basement, which is a prime place to study if you need a steady stream of food court delicacies within your sight (freshman fifteen what?).

Fact: JFK announced the creation of the Peace Corps on the steps of the Union. Another fact: the coffee shop at the Union is singularly responsible for my obsession with mochas, which began in November 2003.

I pointed out South Quad and West Quad when we left the Union. They are the dorms sitting on prime real estate. While I was banished to the northern part of campus when I was a freshman, my friend Aviva lived in South Quad. And I was very, very jealous.

We looped around, I pointed out the business school, the education school and the school of public policy. And the restaurant with the most delicious sangria in the world, best enjoyed in the middle of a springtime afternoon. When you should be in class.

We walked through the Law Quad, which I have always thought was the most beautiful place on campus. It was a gorgeous day and there were students everywhere, strewn out on the grass with their textbooks open and their eyes closed as they turned their faces up to the sun.

I took us across the street and past the president’s house and the Clements Library.

Then we walked underneath the Engineering Arch. There’s a UM myth that states that you’ll marry the person you kiss under the Engineering Arch. I have kissed no one under the Engineering Arch. It explains many of my problems. (Those problems being, more specifically, that I am not married.)

And then, for obvious reasons, we checked out the libraries.

We started at the undergraduate library – which has undergone gorgeous renovations since my years at the U – and crossed the bridge over to the graduate library.

We poked our head inside the reference room, mostly because it is gorgeous and because I have always been amazed at how it is always packed with students but still manages to be nearly silent.

When we walked down the stairs of the library and back into the sunshine, we were standing right at the center of campus. We call it the Diag. At the middle of the Diag, there’s a bronze block M. Don’t step on it until you’ve taken your first blue book (essay, that is) exam: it’s bad luck and you’ll fail.

At this point, we were about halfway through our tour. A good place to take a break ‘til tomorrow, don’t you think?


LLandL said...

Even though I'm a buckeye, I've always loved the law quad too. T get the tour at least once a year from my grandparents, who met at UofM in the 50s and still live closeby.

Michael G Smith said...

I would like to quote your blog in a book I am writing. How may I contact you to obtain permission?

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