Scenes from a Student Union


The beginning of a new semester. The Student Union, a hub of life on campus, is even more lively than usual. Chatter fills the air, old friends catching up and politely discussing winter break happenings and new schedules and changes in plans for the course of school and life. The line for coffee and snacks is long, since everyone has holiday cash or money on their meal cards for a bit of a treat. The line in the bookstore snakes around bookshelves and other students still purusing. The ambiance is that of excitement and determination, the buzz of starting a new project with which one has yet to grow bored.

This scene is much more hopeful than the last week of a semester. That week, the union is a ghost town. The number of people sitting in the large gathering area is countable on one hand. Silence is more common than sound, and anyone who breaks it receives deadly stares from the few students with book or keyboard in hand, scrambling to finish studying or writing a paper. It’s a dismal and almost oppressive atmosphere, anxious and sleep-deprived young adults waiting for the pressure to be released.

I like the first week much better.