Oh full campus, oh full campus, how I miss thee.
Thine walkways of dappled sunshine under a fall sky, thine crowded corridors and lecture halls, thine old stone facades and strange glass buildings.
Burwash Hall, where I spent so many a morn — and afternoons and evenings and nights while cramming for finals — full of mediocre food and good conversation. Connections forged while waiting for new trays of pizza to emerge or waffles to cook on weekends. Dinners eaten at the faculty table, holiday celebrations, and strange food combinations all echo like distant memories in the black hole my brain has become.
Convocation Hall, oh dreaded entrance for first years and lauded exit for fourth — or fifth, or sixth — years. Its uncomfortable chairs, echoey soundscape, and lack of available writing surfaces made me dread the many hours I spent in its classes, but now I remember them fondly as rites of passage.
Clubs and events — if I’m being honest, what I’ll miss most about them is the free food. Who needed grocery shopping when one could subsist on popcorn and Chips-Ahoy cookies? Yes, I would love to take home the leftover snacks, but now, tragically, I’ll have to buy them myself. No more well-timed jokes or cringeworthy puns to break up monotonous meetings about budgets, and no more arguing about whether the chair squeaked or someone farted — we’ll all be muted on Zoom.
Technical difficulties are simply not the same. No longer will my professor spend an entire semester trying to figure out how to use the lighting system in our lecture hall, no more microphone feedback. Instead, we’ll have to listen to professors trying to figure out how to screen share, unmute themselves, or upload lectures to Quercus.
Orientation too falls victim to our emptying campus. This year, there will be no parade through the streets of Toronto, no body paint and cheap plastic jewels, and no “Vic loves everyone” and “Trin loves Trin.” I’m left with only a memory of how hot all the kinesiology students are and a smile when I think about how fun the University College group always was. First-year students will watch me act in orientation plays on YouTube instead of on a stage.
Oh full campus, the most brutal consequence of your absence is in our community. I bemoan the loss of being able to hold open the door for someone, my inability to study in the law library, and the fact that I can no longer book it from Victoria College to Sidney Smith Hall and yell “hello” to friends on my way.
I miss the quiet din of Diablos Coffee Bar and Caffiends, where I spent so many hours giggling over lattes with friends. The time spent at Ned’s Cafe, spending my money on hot Cheetos and vegetarian lasagna. Oh full campus, I miss the ability to work across King’s College Circle and smile at whatever weird thing was going on that day, from ultimate frisbee to quidditch.
There’s nothing quite like strolling across campus on a sunny day, latte in hand, just experiencing the unique noise of university students who are tired, rushed, and stressed, but also passionate, smart, and inspired.
There is no replacement for you, full campus, unrivaled in sorrow and joy. I fear that I will never see you again, but I know that even if that is the case, I will always cherish my memories of our time together. Please, please, come back to me soon.
Disclosure: Kate Haberl is a member of the Victoria College Council.