There’s nothing quite as funny as seeing someone running on campus. And I’m not talking about someone running away from a mugger, or the people who actually risk their safety exercising on the streets of North Philadelphia.
I’m talking about the guy with his schoolbag on his back so tight he’s humped over like a camel.
We’ve all seen them: as we’re walking down the street minding our own business, a bulky whiz of lightning rockets past us. Slightly confused and somewhat startled, we look ahead only to find a student who’s presumably running to class. I assume they’re running to class. I would hope they’re not sprinting across campus to eat at Johnson and Hardwick Cafeteria, or to play a game of Ultimate Frisbee.
Nevertheless, in these situations, I always
find myself laughing out loud and occasionally thanking these people for putting me in a better mood. Perhaps it’s so funny because it brings back memories of grade school when kids ran everywhere, even places that no one really wanted to go – like taking a trip to the nurse’s office for lice screenings.
As soon as the words exited the teacher’s
mouth, we’d scramble to form a line as if saying, “Yes, I want to be the first one to have the creepy nurse check me for lice.”
But years inevitably pass, and instead of being filled with youthful energy we’ve just become lazy. I barely want to leave my bed in the morning, let alone run somewhere with 30 pounds of books on my back. Maybe the nurse missed some lice after all. So what compels these people to increase
their brisk walk to a full-out run? Maybe it’s a group project, or even an exam. Or it could be one of those tardiness sticklers we’ve all had for teachers who say things like, “If you don’t get here on time, don’t even bother coming.”
That rationale doesn’t make any sense to me. You mean to tell me that if I arrive two minutes late to a 90-minute class that I should turn around and hightail it back home? That the 88 minutes of class time I have left aren’t worth sticking around for just because I was a little late?
I realize that both students and professors
are distracted when people come into class late, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t come at all. We’ve all had those mornings when nothing seems to go right. You were up all night studying or writing a paper, and the next thing you know, you’re jolted out of sleep by an alarm that’s been going off for more than an hour. By the time you get out of the door, your shoelaces are untied and you’re holding a stale Pop-Tart in your hand in hopes of attaining some type of nourishment.
Though I’m usually pretty punctual, I can assure you that I’ve been late in the worst of situations. I’ve had a group presentation begin before I arrived, and a final exam that started 10 minutes before I finally got there. I’ve even had a teacher who bolted the door shut after the clock struck 8:40, and a job interview
I missed by five minutes.
Many students, despite their tardiness, would rather walk and show up a few minutes late to deal with the consequences later. To those runners who boldly stare social humiliation in the face to be on time, I must give kudos.
But one thing is for sure: The only time you’ll see me running is on a treadmill.
Rachel Madel can be reached at email@example.com.