The jury is out: based on my own observations, there are more commuters than residents at KSU. This revelation may come as a surprise to those of the on- campus community, so I think we, the commuting majority, should explain to them why everyone else is doing it.
There are several rewarding aspects of commuting, each of which has their own perks.
Take the traffic aspect for instance: what’s not to love? I can’t tell you how much I love hanging out in the middle of Chastain Road with a bunch of strangers sitting in our cars like we’re in an easygoing parade, regardless of the weather.
If it happens to be rainy, I get to listen to that hypnotic song played by my windshield wipers. It puts me in a kind of trance that just makes it so much easier for me to focus once I make it to class, no matter how wet I am. And then when it’s warm and sunny, a lot of commuters love rolling down their windows. Catching a whiff of that sweet- smelling atmospheric exhaust just soothes my nerves like nothing else on test days.
When we aren’t in such an academic mood, there are tons of silly games commuters like to play. Most people have heard of ‘Who’s Horn is Loudest’ or ‘How Close to My Bumper Can You Get,’ but my personal favorite is ‘True or False: I’m About to Change Lanes.’
Some commuters, like senior English/Nursing double major, Audrey McAnarney, enjoy it
so much they even go out of their way to commute to class. “I don’t have a car,” McAnarney admits, “but I love commuting so much I get my parents to drive me. It’s a fun activity that we can do together and bond over.”
Unfortunately for Audrey, getting dropped off in front of the English building causes her to miss out on one of the most exhilarating features of commuting: parking.
Every semester, commuters pay $83 to apply for a coveted space in one of KSU’s select parking lots and decks. Almost everyone who applies is accepted into the program, but this just makes KSU’s parking spots more desirable. In the commuting world, if you don’t have one, you want one.
Once approved, choosing which zone to park in is often a challenge for the lucky commuter as each option offers numerous benefits. The West Deck is commonly believed to hold the most prestigious spots while the East Lot is believed to provide access to the most scenic approach to class. The Central Deck, with the largest selection of spots, often reels in commuters with its catchy motto: “All for One Spot, and One Spot for All.”
For many, like senior English major, Maribeth Bryan, parking in the Central Deck is the most exciting event of her day. “Sometimes I drive around inside the deck for 15 minutes,” Bryan declared, “just trying to find that one spot that’s calling for me. The longer it takes, the more eager I become and the faster I drive. It’s thrilling! And then, when I find it, I feel so triumphant it’s like I’ve just won a veggie-dog eating contest!”
Between the traffic games and parking victories, is no wonder why commuting is so glorious. There’s so much more we haven’t gotten into yet: like how much fun it is at the Frey/Chastain red light to try to guess the riddle that that politically-charged homeless bike-rider guy has on his sign.
Just the sights and sounds commuters get to witness moving at bottleneck speeds is enough to make anyone jealous; I know residents, but don’t feel bad. After all, if it weren’t for you on-campus residents, we wouldn’t have anyone’s eyes beholding us when we strolled into class fashionably late and breathless from the last- minute exercise our parking selection process afforded us. Thank you, residents, for making commuting that much more awesome!
When things are uncertain, when an outcome is ‘hanging in the balance,’ when it’s “in limbo,” convictions start waning. Hope fades; doubt begins to fester and swell. It’s trying times in these waiting rooms, and here we are.
We’re stuck sitting here in this uncomfortable chair while a team of Regent specialists scrutinize our case in the next room with the blinds pulled shut. It’s as dicey a seat as George R.R. Martin’s Iron Throne, I know. This is why I’m writing: to reassure our belief in the cause that brought us here, to burst the bubbles of doubt eclipsing our view and to reunite us stronger than before. It’s not about some passing desire for our school to fit-in which is at stake; it’s about our school getting the respect it deserves and garnishing the adoration to which it’s entitled. This is about us; this is about our football team!
The effect football has on any given college has been studied and the benefits well documented.
Jake Landry, of livestrong.com, details how football enhances a school’s prestige: “Schools with successful football programs are well-known around the country.”
The addition of such a high profile sport causes university enrollment to increase, he writes, which allows the school to be more selective academically.
In a recent article on collegefootballpoll.com, Landry’s words were echoed by KSU’s President, Dan Papp, when he stated, “having a football team tremendously heightens the visibility of
an institution and in many cases the attractiveness of an institution as well.”
In addition to raising the status of the college, football programs are usually very profitable enterprises. This is one of the concrete reasons KSU has this proposal on the books. There are many reasons, none of which should be discounted, but there are also some very valuable intangible benefits as well which merit attention.
Have you been to the bookstore lately? Take a mental snapshot of the stock of KSU- branded clothing available.
Their inventory is full. Just down I-75 at Georgia State, their bookstore had the same problem before football kicked off in 2010. Now, as Dorie Turner of the AP writes, “the campus is awash in the university’s bright blue, alumni who’ve not been to campus in decades flock to games, and students are calling downtown their home.”
Home? If that kind of spirit can take over Georgia State, just think of what football will do to us here, 20 miles removed from the shadow of Georgia Tech; here, where people occupy neighborhoods instead of high- rise office buildings; here, where we have a massive, oval campus green, rather than a crowded concrete courtyard; here, where our city is in our name and local landmark in our logo; here, where community still exists.
Regents, we want it. We need it. Give it to us. Give us scoreboards to be operated and counters to be vended, cheers to be led and marches to be banded. Give us the adrenaline that comes with fourth and inches and we will stomp our feet in sync.
Give us all something to root for on Saturdays, Regents. Because, in the words of Athletic Director, Vaughn Williams (quoted in the same article as Papp), this pending football program is “bigger than football.”
This is about our identity: as a team, as a school and as a community.
So, who are we? “Owls” on three: one, two, three… Ryan is a senior and an English major.
I’m not talking about finals last semester, not about Aunt Bessie’s inescapable cheek-pinches over Christmas dinner and not even about the cork-popping, peach-dropping, hangover- inducing hullaballoo we all know and love: New Year’s.
No, the recently averted catastrophe to which I refer is a new year of a different sort – none other than the apocalypse that never was: the last cycle of the Mayan long count calendar ending on Dec. 21, 2012.
Try to think back to this time last year. Remember when everything seemed so possibly finite for once?
Remember when 2012-related documentaries were showing up left and right on your Netflix recommendations and you just couldn’t get enough of them? Theorists from around the globe presented two opposing, yet equally exciting, outcomes of this date. The more extreme of these – the complete and total annihilation of life on polar-shifted and/or solar- flared Earth – raised the spirits of closet sociopaths (like me) everywhere with the hope that all those injustices may finally be accounted for. Meanwhile, the more conservative conjecture – the complete and total reordering of the social consciousness – enriched the outlook of peace-loving vegans (like me) everywhere, believing that everyone would suddenly wake up to a higher level of understanding. With either scenario, it felt good just to have something to look forward to, to know that no matter what, your life had meaning because this life-altering event was going to happen during your lifetime. Oh, how great the prospect of change, of hope, feels; Obama knows we’ll vote for it every time.
Now, do you remember hearing anything about this event on the day that never was to be, Dec. 22, 2012? No? Well, neither did I. The most promising “end of the world
as we know it” event of my lifetime (including you, Y2K) came and went with little more than a few tweets of 140 or fewer characters. Where were the survivor stories? Where were the moving pictures of celebratory riots in crowded European streets? Where was the news about 2012? It simply was not there.
At first I wanted to blame the media for not covering it. “What about the end of the world, NPR?” I exclaimed silently to the radio. But then I realized that the lack of coverage was not the media’s fault. How could they report on it when nothing at all happened? No, they are not to blame and neither are the Mayans, nor 2012 itself (though it could have been a better year overall, I won’t hold grudges). No, the blame goes to people like me.
The blame goes to all the people, not just the closet sociopaths and peace-loving vegans, but anyone naïve enough, anyone empty enough to put their faith in something like 2012 – something as manufactured as a date in our miniscule human measurement of time – to change their life. How gullible must I have been to trust that an asteroid or the storm of all storms would suddenly appear and wipe out Earth and all my self- doubt with it? How feeble must I have been to believe that a certain tick of the clock would, overnight, magically fulfill my sense of myself?
It’s embarrassing to admit, but admit it I must: I wanted 2012 to happen because I was too incompetent to change my life by my own esteem. So this year before you’ve broken all your resolutions, when that trip to the gym seems too darn daunting, when you get that craving for a steak on Meatless Monday, remember that nothing – not even the apocalypse – can change life for you. Remember the words of someone much wiser than me, Mahatma Gandhi: “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” It’s that simple.