Last night, I had an hour to kill before class started. So I took a walk around the NYU campus. It was a gorgeous night out, the first hint of Spring. I sat in Washington Square for a little, watching the circus of kids, homeless, and passersby. There were at least 4 groups of guitar players hanging out and even a choir of 7 guys, mostly Korean, putting on a show. That was cheesy, but they actually sounded good. There voices were faint but sweet in the evening wind. I tried to think of a better word, but 'sweet' is all that came.
I quickly grew tired of the scene and meandered south towards the library. Realizing that I had the finally had ID card required for entry, I entered. The marble floor looks like an MC Escher picture and the atrium extends all the way up the buildings 12 stories. I decided to explore in earnest and went up the elevator to the randomly selected Floor 10. Once there, it was a warren of stacks, poorly lit bookshelves and hidden desks sprawled with students studying everything from law and math to art history. There was even a couple arguing about how the guy doesn't want to meet her friends. I pretended not to listen as I waited at the elevator but heard every word.
There is a smell to a university library that cannot be defined, imitated, or forgotten. My random selection placed me in the Culture & Journalism section. Each volume was both boring and fascinating at the same time. In our world on online remote access, it's still a visceral excitement to be surrounded by possibility like that.
I continued down to current periodicals, where all the academic journals are stored. There was countless numbers of them from current debates in philosophy to technological teaching methods (that's all you, Bill!). As I thought how nobody must read these, I realized that they will be invaluable to me when I start to write my thesis, and that just getting published in one is a quiet triumph for each scholar. I hope my name will someday be on a small journal that barely anyone will read someday (just like you, Harley)!
Class time was approaching, and I made my way to my class. I was transported back to my undergrad days, wandering around with nowhere to go, nothing to do and way too much on my mind. Unlike most people, I wasn't that into college, too much downtime. If I could go back, I'm sure I'd have a much better time. But my experience walking around reminded me that I truly enjoy working in the real world and building a life. I love going part-time, for I get the most out of each class and have plenty to fill my life. As much as people say they loved being a free college student, I couldn't wait to get home to wife and kid.