An Unasked for Guide to Navigating Campus

If you see the Pickle, you’ve gone too far

Sam Johnson

More stories from Sam Johnson

The Tator
December 13, 2022
The way to navigate campus as a freshman

Photo by Getty Images/iStockphoto

The way to navigate campus as a freshman

Being a first-year college student is a wonderful experience. I’m sure everyone remembers their first teriyaki bowl, their first breathtaking trip up the hill after a day of classes and those weird few days post move-in and pre-classes when it seemed like college was nothing but endless fun and free t-shirts.

It was, however, not all easy going. There were unanswered questions like ‘where are my classes?’ and ‘is that giant blue bird following me?’ Sorry to burst your bubble, but yes, yes it is.  

I’m here to answer those questions. As a wise, generous, fourth-year with hundreds of trips up and down the hill under my belt and several painful winter treks across the footbridge, I will act as the sherpa for the helpless and confused first-year students.

Hibbard Humanities Hall:

Hibbard is by far the easiest building to find. Its commanding brick and near-windowless presence on campus serves as a beacon for lost undecided and liberal arts majors. As you descend the hill, look for the giant, scary-looking orange building, walk towards it and — if it’s winter — take your jacket off before you enter (trust me.) 

Upon entering, if on the first floor simply wander mindlessly and you’ll eventually find the right room. Consider stopping by the Spectator office and coming aboard as a staff writer. It’s hard to miss, just look for windows and people who seem interested in what they’re doing.

If you’re on the second floor or above, be careful. Those perilous steps are slightly taller than many expect and I’ve seen countless tragically come sliding back down after misjudging the height. 

Centennial Hall:

The modern, robust, glass-covered building serves as a contrast to the plain, cold-war-era Hibbard. Walk towards Hibbard, go straight at the fountain and if you can eventually see a lot of glass and the tired, stressed, possibly hungover reflections of your peers, you’re going the right way.

Once you arrive inside, resist the urge to grab a bagel or coffee and go to class. The rooms have numbers. They probably mean something, but I’m still not sure what.

Schneider Hall:

Given that Schneider is home to business majors, I’ve never stepped foot inside. I just always assumed that I — a soon-to-be penniless liberal arts grad — was not allowed inside. 

It’s the building directly South of Schneider. Beyond that, you’re on your own.

Phillips Hall: 

Home to our resident scientists, Phillips is where you can find a bird museum, a bunch of smart people and the answer to what the heck stoichiometry is. I took chemistry in high school and still don’t know.

It’s next to Davies, so if you live in Murray, you have a chance to take those awesome stairs through the woods behind McPhee. 

I satisfied my science-based LE requirements eons ago, so, unfortunately for you, I’m useless once you enter the building.

Haas Fine Arts Center:

For those brave, talented individuals chasing their dreams in the fine arts, I have unfortunate news. The path to Haas is a perilous one.

Once you make it down the hill, you must use your blistered feet and sore calves to cross the footbridge. This sounds like no big deal, but to quote HBO’s Game of Thrones, that one show seemingly everyone but me watched: “Winter is coming.”

My tour guide told me that the footbridge landed a spot on David Letterman’s ‘Top ten coldest places in America’ list. Other than this article, I’ve found no evidence of this but will assume it’s true because that bridge is unbelievably cold.

Once — or if — you arrive at Haas, defrost and begin searching for your class or rehearsal room on your own, because I don’t know how to draw, sing, dance or play an instrument.

College is an exciting time. You’ll meet like-minded, lifelong friends. You’ll learn and grow as an individual. You’ll escape Blu’s clutches on more than one occasion. Who knows? You might even go to the library.

Johnson can be reached at [email protected]