Sunday, February 8, 2009

What You Really Learn at College

College students are very typical. Always tired, always busy, and always poor. I can attest to two out of three of those. (I wouldn't call myself "poor" per say.) But even so, there are many tricks to living on campus at college that are essential for getting things done.

1.) Quarters

Quarters are essential to college life. They're useful in vending machines, but they are all that the washers and dryers on campus will take, aside from money on your student card. So a mountain of dimes and nickles won't do you any good for getting your dirty clothes cleaned. This becomes a problem, since you only have so many quarters lying around in the bottom of your purse.

So in order to rectify this problem, I've discovered a short-cut to getting quarters: putting your dimes and nickles into the vending machines in intervals of 25 cents, and then pushing the coin return button. The vending machine will then return your money in the smallest amount of change possible: a quarter. Success!

Now I stand beside the vending machines outside the laundry room feeding in my multitude of dimes and nickles in an attempt to get quarters to do my laundry. Tedious, yes. Silly-looking, yes. But it gets the job done.

However, some vending machine companies have wised-up to this. Certain machines won't accept nickles, or the machine will return exactly the amount of change you put into it. (I was the unfortunate victim of this, when the machine spewed back out my 75 cents worth of dimes and nickles.)

But for the most part, this is the ideal way to turn those worthless dimes and nickles into shiny quarters to clean your clothes.

2.) Home Games and Food

The main source of food (Pizza Hut) for the campus on weekends is located in the same building as the basketball arena. When there is a game, all of the doors are locked except the doors where you would enter with a ticket. This means that even if all you wanted to do was come in, buy some pizza, and leave, you still need to purchase a ticket and go in through the ticket door.

Annoying, right?

But alas, I have been to several games where I've purchased a ticket (albeit free, because I'm a student), walked over to the pizza vendor, gotten my food, and turned around and left. I really could care less about who is playing whom in the game, or how well they are doing. Does this mean my school spirit is lacking? Probably.

3.) The Side Door

The dorms on our campus are set up so that you must swipe your student ID card to get into the building. If you don't live in that building, you only have access during certain times of the day. Since I lived on a branch of the "first" floor that was really located in between the first and second floors, there was an extra door at the end of the hallway that led out into the courtyard. It was closer than the regular doors, and going through would mean avoiding the stairs that led up to our "first floor" room. So it would have been the ideal door for we folks on the "pod" as we called it.

Unfortunately, this door was not set up with the ID locks. In fact, there was no way to open it from the outside. This meant that you could come out the door, have it close behind you, and then not be able to get back in at all. (Very annoying for the smokers, who liked to come in and and out and mingle.) You would have to walk all the way down to the other doors, and then walk back up the steps in the building to get back to your room.

To rectify this problem, people took to shoving a thin piece of cardboard (like that of a side of a cereal box) into the space between the door and the frame. This allowed the door to close, but not lock. This way, people could shove the cardboard in the frame, step outside, and then when they wanted to come back in, the door would still open. However, there were door alarms on every door that would go off it the door was open for more than 30 seconds or so. If this cardboard method was not done properly, the door alarm would go off. In the worst-case scenario, someone would have walked off to the convenience mart and left the cardboard in the door, and walked away before they realized they hadn't done it properly. The alarm would go off and continue to go off until someone went to go shut it.

Usually this individual was so irritated from having to get up and go shut the door that they didn't bother placing the cardboard back in place properly, defeating the entire purpose.

Foolproof? No. But if you could pull it off, it was convenient.

So there you have it. Three tips for college-living. Would anyone else in the world need to know how to properly stop up a door with cardboard, or change out dimes and nickles for a quarter in a vending machine? You never know. I myself have had to use the old vending machine trick at work once, since the feminine product dispenser in the bathroom only took quarters.

Ah, the many useful things you learn at college.

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