Student to Student
February 26, 2008
Most high school students in Park City intend to go to college. So what is it really like? Sure, we’ve all heard about the wild partying, the evil professors, and the crazy roommates, but that’s not really day-to-day life.
I spent part of my winter break in my sister’s dorm at the University of Utah, the college attended by more Park City High School students than any other. Let me walk you through one weekday in the life of a freshman at the U.
I fall asleep on a couch that my sister, Kendall, and her roommate, Amanda, have "rescued" from a friend’s apartment, right before the friend got evicted. Judging by the state of the couch, I think they would have done better to just leave it there.
My deep sleep is shattered all too harshly at 6:15 a.m. with a blaring alarm. Resisting the urge to find and destroy my sister’s cell phone, I extract myself from the nest of blankets that I have created on the couch, throw on some clothes and stumble out the door and down the hall.
We (myself, Kendall, Amanda and assorted friends in various states of consciousness) arrive at the HC, a dining hall, around 6:30 a.m. Breakfast is buffet-style, but I don’t think anyone pays much attention to the food they put in their mouths.
We slink into class late and are forced to sit in the back. Unluckily for us, a tremendously large percentage of the lecture uses the help of a Power Point slide show. My slightly out-of-date contact lens prescription allows me to make out only the biggest titles. Hopefully my sister, who actually gets graded on performance, has a more up-to-date prescription, but judging from the way she is craning and squinting, I doubt it.
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The next class makes use of another visual aid, a movie. I am just struggling to focus on the opening credits when suddenly the lights are flicking on and the professor is beginning his lecture.
Embarrassed, I sit up and look around. A great majority of the students surrounding me seem to be in a similar situation. A guy in plaid pants to my left has left such a big pool of drool on his desk that it seems to have seeped through about a third of his textbook.
We return to the HC for lunch. Maybe it’s because of all the napping that got done in class, but conversation is much livelier at this point, and laughter is a lot more common. Topics range from Frankenstein to the ratio phi to cupcakes.
After what is apparently a completely routine nap in the early afternoon, we head to Freshman Writing, where students read their personal writing choices to the class.
Later in the afternoon, we go for a grocery run, to what is probably the biggest Smith’s on the planet. After wandering through what seems like miles of aisles, we finally reach the self-checkout largely unharmed, if a bit dehydrated from the long journey.
Purchases include grapes, laundry detergent, various electronics, sunflower seeds, and a lot of discount Valentine’s Day candy.
When we get back to the dorms, Kendall stashes her candy but to no avail; within minutes, her friends are nonchalantly wandering in under the guise of wanting to talk and serendipitously "finding" the candy.
When I complain of being unable to run in the snowstorm, my sister’s friend, Mitch, offers to take me to the Field House so I can use a treadmill.
The entrance to the Field House is deceiving. It’s small and altogether nondescript. From the outside, you would never imagine the regiment of treadmills that greets the unsuspecting runner who only wanted to go a few miles and stretch.
Behind the treadmills, ranks of stationary bikes lie in wait. Behind those are elliptical machines, churning impatiently with the efforts of so many sorority girls laboring to tighten their glutes.
Beyond the battalion of stationary equipment are basketball courts and tennis courts and upstairs is an indoor track. This building houses more amenities for the athletically inclined than any other I have witnessed.
After a slightly intimidating work-out at the Field House, Mitch and I return to the comforting world of the residence halls.
Back at the dorms, people take turns barging into each others’ rooms and stealing what snack food they might be hoarding. A lot of homework is done with the help of others. A lot of butts plant themselves on the couch on which I will be sleeping. Yet another friend, Maddu, invites me into her room to watch Edward Scissorhands.
The freshman dorms are overflowing with friendliness and neighborliness and compassion for others. I guess the notorious freshman year is a lot easier with a few good friends.