When you relocate to live in a new city there are places, maybe businesses even, that remind you of home. Sometimes it’s as simple as a chain coffee shop you have great memories of, or even a particular walkway on your new campus that reminds you of where you came from. For me, there’s a courtyard on campus that rests beneath a catwalk connecting the two halves of our “Humanities” complex, the building that houses many of the English, Psychology, Sociology, Political Science, and other related courses or programs.
My campus has undergone extensive renovations in the three years I’ve been here, and what wasn’t renovated was likely brand new construction in the first place. The Humanities building is one of the few areas that has gone untouched. Even the neighboring Chemistry building underwent a large renovation project to the interior and exterior last year.
I love this spot so much because it reminds me of home, specifically my alma mater Eastern Connecticut State University. I moved from a region that experienced four distinct seasons to Mobile, Alabama, a city that is either raining or extremely humid most of the year. The fall atmosphere around my old campus is something I miss.
But, this spot in particular just incites so many nostalgic feelings of home, especially in the fall. We do have a “fall season” in Mobile, a few weeks marked by colder temperatures and dimmer days, but this time is fleeting. I can promise that during the fall, and the last weeks of summer, I’ll be sitting in this courtyard with a warm beverage in my hands and taking in the scenery.
The feel and aesthetic scream home to me. There are benches all over the place, bushes and trees surrounding the area. The woods are in the background, and there are squirrels running about scavenging for food left behind. What I love the most is being a voyeur into the lives of others. I get to see the snapshots as students enter or exit the buildings, the interactions between friends, and the brief meetings between students and instructors that take place in passing. I love it, I love it all and I soak it all in.
These brief exchanges remind me of my time as an undergraduate. The fall weather of the coming semester only makes the scene more poignant. For a moment when I step away from work or passing through on the way to an appointment, I can pause in this courtyard, take a seat, and quietly observe my surroundings. In these moments, fellow members of my campus are surely are unaware of the effect they have on me.
These cathartic moments reinforce why I do what I do, work as diligently as I do, why it’s all worth it. The smiles I notice give me energy, but the sullen, dejected expressions give me hope. I hope that these students find what they’re looking for, be it academic help or passion in what they’re studying. I want to reach out like a den mother and speak to these sullen-looking students. My position as a voyeur, however, limits my interaction.
The Humanities Courtyard, for all the reasons described above and more, feels like a microcosm of our entire campus. Hundreds, if not thousands, of students pass through this one part of campus over the course of the day.
I’m only one member of that group, but the feelings I elicit during those moments keep me going all day. When barren, the area is picturesque (who doesn’t love the campus squirrels, after all?) but this courtyard comes to life when the semester is in full swing and I can’t wait for it!
This post is part of our #CampusSnapshots series, a fun look at our favorite spots on campus. We will see pictures snapped by #SApros of all kinds and hear why they love that spot! For more info, please see Sabina’s intro post. Be sure to check out other posts in this series.