The two months I had already spent within the Quinnipiac community had familiarized me to seeing people touring the campus. That didn’t happen at my university – at least not in a way that I would have noticed. And we had been warned that Saturday, March 29, 2014, would be a special day for the university – we should expect thick traffic and an increased number of tours all day long.
But the undergraduate admitted student day still surprised me.
Light rain was in the air when we approached the main entrance to the northern parking lot. Cars had already formed a line. A public safety officer signaled everyone to keep going.
A bit further down Mount Carmel Avenue, Joe was finally allowed to steer his car onto the parking lot. We had passed the business school building. We were even way past the athletic center. With lavish lawns in front of us, Joe singled in on the parking spot that a public safety officer had assigned to us.
Joe said that he had never parked so far away from campus. Truth be told, it took us maybe two minutes to cross the parking lot and reach the business school, which houses the school of communications. Back at my undergraduate institution, it took me ten additional minutes to complete the way from the subway stop to the building that I had to reach.
We estimated the number of people that might or might not roam the campus today. Just imagine: Quinnipiac has roughly 5,000 undergrads. Broken down to the four years, that makes 1,250 students per year. If only 50 percent of those show up to day and bring parents and one or two siblings, you’ve got a pretty packed campus.
A first few tours could be seen as we came closer to the entrance to the school of communications. Rain was still light.
I was even a bit surprised that we were relatively left alone while learning all about backtiming, thumb suckers, and other terms from the world of broadcast news.
But the day had just begun. The routine trip to the cafeteria in-between Broadcast Journalism and Media Law and Ethics opened my eyes to the action on campus.
I counted at least five flocks of people in the triangular of school of communications, library, and student center. A tour guide tried to gather his people and fought for everyone’s attention. The library was the next stop for them.
Great. Move people – you guys block every single of the seven doors that stood between the cafeteria and us.
It wasn’t better inside. The salad bar, my usual stop, was fine. But the other stations were buzzing. The seating area, once reached, mirrored the scenery. But we found a table, eventually. Having picked a seat with campus view, I followed the continuous stream of tours that brought the weekend campus atmosphere to life.
On our way out of the student center, we squeezed ourselves through the waiting masses that listened to the guide’s explanations about the university’s dining services.
Just a few moments later, we waited patiently for the group of maybe twenty people to clear the narrow entrance to the school of communications. Perfectly timed, we were able to slip through during the brief gap until the next group was ready to exit the building.
Phew, back into our classroom – finally. This admitted students day was quite a party. But the best was yet to come.
Our classroom had one distinctive feature. Besides being located almost dead center in the building and besides being loaded with technology, it had glass fronts that enabled everyone passing through the building to see what’s going in in the room.
While we analyzed journalistic practices as seen in “When the Levees Broke”, a documentary about hurricane Katrina, and talked about HIPPA, FERPA, copyright issues, and privacy issues in journalism, the spectacle began.
The only problem was: It wasn’t us watching. We were the subjects of interest. People stepped close to the glass fronts, staring at us. They listened and stared.
One group left and the next one took over without delay – a perfect relay. Yes, come on closer. We love being stared at. No, sir. Please don’t leave so soon. Keep watching for a minute or two. Ain’t it interesting enough in here for ya?
It felt like groups stopped by the glass front on an ongoing basis during the entire class.
I’ve ever wondered how it must be for an animal in a zoo exhibit to live with all the staring people. We had to show off and live with the stares as much as they have to. Just be careful, folks, don’t get to close. You never know when a tiger bares its claws – roar!