If you had the sense to mute your Outlook notifications this past Monday, you may have missed the news that we Pitt students are “strongly encouraged” to shelter in place about two weeks prior to going home for Thanksgiving. As can be said for many aspects of this Flex@Pitt dystopia, this recommendation can feel a tad yucky. Who wants to spend the last fourteen days of living under the rule of the benevolent and all-powerful Kenny BonBon and Pitt’s very own Galligator within the four walls of their teeny dwelling? We should be out and about, sowing our wild oats from one dirty South O basement to the next. But alas, we find ourselves here, and I have taken up the task of gifting you some advice on what you can do to make your shelter-in-place less depressing.
1. For all my freshman, maybe you took the Freshman-15 as an obligatory sprint instead of a lightly suggested marathon. Maybe you, say, blew all of your dining dollars on pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream at Market to Go and have resorted to using your debit card these past weeks. Maybe, just maybe, the workers in said Market to Go know you and give you the same sad look when you check out with said Ben & Jerry’s ice cream pint on a near-daily basis. All of this is hypothetical, and I am totally not speaking from experience. So, now is the time to turn it around. Okay, I know, it is not possible nor healthy to embark on a total weight loss overhaul with mere days left in the semester. But, if you get off at the Gain Train’s next stop, you can ensure that this Thanksgiving of comments like “Wow, you really grew up!” is the last of its kind.
2. Read that book that you told yourself you were going to read. It’s been sitting on your desk as a reminder of your failure to stick to anything and to leave it there would be letting that book win. What’s my shame book, you may ask? It’s a self-help read sent to me by my father following my first tearful phone call home in August when I couldn’t figure out how to get the dryer to start. While the book doesn’t directly deal with the function of laundry apparatuses, I’d assume it must have something useful to offer me. So, I will be delving into that sucker come November 12th.
3. Call your friends from your hometown and prepare to make all of this shelter-in-placing for naught. You’ve been away from these people for months, so logically that extra week before Thanksgiving has to include a large gathering with half of your graduating class. Sure, it’ll put everyone around you in danger, but a life not lived on the edge is hardly worth living.
4. Walk (six feet away from all human life forms) around campus and say a quick goodbye to all of your favorite spots. Much to my chagrin, I do have to advise you not to actually kiss the structures you’re bidding adieu to; I love a good building as much as the next guy, but these are unprecedented times, folks. I plan on washing my hands one last time in the definitely-haunted bathroom on the third floor of Cathy. I’ll get my last large iced coffee with almond milk and pumpkin swirl from the Forbes Ave Dunkin. Lastly, I will eat my last order of Sarah’s signature shame lo mein from Schenley Plaza’s Asia Tea House. That goodbye will undoubtedly be the most heartbreaking.
Once you’ve done all of these things, you’ll be perfectly ready to go back to your hometown. I wish you luck, and look forward to seeing you crying as I pass you on your very own farewell tour of Pitt’s campus over the coming weeks.
During my freshman year, I was wandering the halls of my native Sutherland and found something odd in the stairwell: a locked door at the end of a set of stairs going up from floor 8. “But how?” I thought. “The building only has 8 floors, that we know of.” So I decided to sneak find an alternative entrance up to the floor and here’s what I found:
A parking lot
A swimming pool
The genetic code for clones of more pre-med students from outside Philly
Patrick Gallagher’s heating lamp
An elevator to hell
The end of the song “American Pie”
A secret stash of Natty Light
A Mario pipe, probably also to hell
All the Starship robots
Your grandparents’ tapes from when Pitt football was good
The ‘butthole cut’ of Cats
The Port Authority bus that fell in a sinkhole last year