So here we are again trapped in overcrowded classrooms stacked on top of each other like bargain cans of dog food at the grocery store.
Summer’s long gone, but don’t look back it just gets more depressing. Don’t expect the same Temple you left at the end of last semester. Liacouras is gone. Cooney Apartments is gone and nothing seems to be where we left it.
The Student Activity Center has been shut down, taken apart and covered with a tarp as if it a geographical eyesore and the Republicans are in town again.
Walking around campus has become more of an Olympic hurdle-jumping and slalom event since the 20% increase in freshman admission this year. Our sidewalks look more like mid-day Manhattan than a college campus. It’s impossible to move from Tuttleman to Curtis Hall without stepping on someone’s shoes or slamming into the backs of one of those people who stops mid-stride for no reason.
I feel for the freshman that arrived for orientation to a beautiful, quiet campus and returned for the first day of classes to find an overflow of unfamiliar faces and impatient drivers ready to plow over anything with a backpack. I feel for the freshman who wander Beury Hall looking for their BB class because no one has told them how to decrypt Temple’s building encoding system. I feel for the freshman that will never know the beauty of the Campus Grill.
Some things have stayed the same just like some things at Temple will never change – the faculty for one. There are intelligent and brilliant teachers roaming the hallways and teaching classes we thought we didn’t want to take. Unfortunately, these teachers are often overshadowed by an abundance of new grad students and incoherent but tenured faculty.
The computer labs are still teeming with e-mail addicts and Internet junkies and this year there seems to be a lack of chairs. Usually, the only station available, if there are any, never has a chair. Somewhere for some unknown reason someone is stockpiling office chairs in case Y2K hits one year late.
Paley Library is still confusing, unorganized, and they still haven’t been able to get rid of that strange smell. This is my third year and the third time they’ve lost my library test results; however, they never seem to forget I owe $25 in late fines.
That’s one more thing that’ll never change – the library test. After the last nuclear fall-out three things will remain when all other life has been obliterated – cockroaches, Dick Clark and Temple’s library skills test.
And it never fails; the only time the security guards ask for ID is when you are running desperately late for class. No one is ever at the entry post to Annenberg Hall except when you’ve been in traffic for two hours and spent 45 minutes trying to find a parking space. Then they look at your ID from every angle and then ask you to sign-in verifying that you are who you say you are.
The last thing that will never change about Temple is the attitude of the students. Last semester one of my professors said that the Temple student was a different breed of animal than any other college student. Unlike some larger state schools we aren’t plagued by ubiquitous frat boys running around screaming some incoherent, probably profane, phrase. Most of us have jobs, sometimes two or three. Some of us have children, sometimes two or three and are working towards a double major.
Don’t worry. Things are never as bad as they seem. One of these semesters you’ll get one of those brilliant teachers who’ll change the way you look at things and you can still eat lunch for $2.
Welcome back to Temple.