When I was a freshman at Penn State, finals week was described to me as: “Complete insanity. Kids sleep everywhere–on the lawn, on the floor, in the lobbies, on window sills.” So when I got to Temple, something seemed amiss.
I mean, did finals week start the first day of class?
I was confused. I tiptoed through Anderson Hall between droolers and snorers, girls with their heads stuffed in their bookbags and guys with their faces stuck to computer keyboards.
I flipped through my course schedule wondering if this was an Ivy League school. They can’t have finals week all year, I frantically tried to convince myself, they just can’t!
“Shut-up!” someone shouted at me. “You’re waking us up!”
“But I didn’t even say anything,” I said.
“What? Are you against the sandman or something?” a deeper voice boomed.
I turned around but all I saw were motionless bodies. A girl lying on her back on a couch mumbling to herself about pink hippos. A 20-something guy, his long hair covering his face, slouching against a pillar. Three kids sitting on the floor with their heads on one another’s shoulders.
Everyone was asleep.
Am I in a different time zone?
I couldn’t fathom what was going on. I went to my first class and things seemed normal. People introduced themselves and talked a little; there didn’t seem to be much work to be done.
Something smelled fishy. Was the university doing sleep research? Could these kids all have been forced to work the late shift at Paley Library? Was I not invited to the big Tuesday night dance party? I tried to go through the rest of my day without thinking about it. But the subject wouldn’t loosen its claws from my brain.
Why didn’t they just go home or to their dorms? What kind of school is this?
After a few days at Temple, though, I got smart. Sleeping was in, it was the hip thing to do between class, and damn it I was gonna get in on the fun. I stormed out of my Geography class with an hour to burn. I was going to sleep! I was going to dream that I was Spiderman. Yes sir, I was going to be the coolest kid on campus.
I spotted an empty couch, got comfortable, turned on my Walkman and closed my eyes.
“Hey, who are you?” A small group of jock-looking guys wearing Tampa Bay Buccaneers jerseys asked as they shook me awake.
“Oh, hi, was this your spot?” I mumbled, jumping to my feet.
“No way, man, we just thought you look cool, you know, sleeping and stuff.”
Sadly, though, it was just a dream. There were no guys wearing Tampa Bay jerseys.
But I did feel like part of the Temple community.
Now I knew the secrets of the school, like why the couches in Gladfelter Hall smell like fresh sweat and hot drool. I knew why I hadn’t yet met anyone cool: everyone must have known I was new by my ignorance of the Temple sleeping rituals. And most of all, I knew it wasn’t finals week at all.
It was just naptime.
In fact, all day is naptime at Temple.
So to you newcomers, or even those of you rugged go-getters that are still out of the loop, it’s time to forge your legacy at Temple University. Grab a seat, go to sleep.
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