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Whenever I’m thrown into a new situation, I find it comforting to choose a place near me and claim it as my own. Whether I’m spending the summer in North Carolina, attending school in Central Pennsylvania, or switching to a school outside of Philadelphia, I make it a point to, literally, find my place on campus.
- Doriane Feinstein
When I first arrived at Arcadia, I knew I would have to search far and wide before I really found the one spot that would speak to me.
At my previous college in Central Pennsylvania, my place on campus was the fountain. Though it took me a while to figure that out. I remember spending the first few days of my freshman year walking from place to place, searching for my little home away from home on campus. I tried the gazebo, but was discouraged by the bees that infested it. I found a location behind one of the campus eateries, but as nice as it was, it smelled a little strange. Days passed until I realized one day that I was constantly by the fountain on the center of campus. Whether I was organizing my books, tying my shoes, drawing, reading, whatever it might be, I seemed to always be sitting on this fountain. That’s how the fountain became my place.
Now that I am in a new school, as a junior at that, the stakes have been raised. I am part of a class of students who have already established their go-to locations on campus. Not only do I compete with those students, but I am also in competition with all of the freshmen struggling to find their favorite spots on campus, too. My search began as soon as I arrived on campus for my five-day orientation. Although each day was jam-packed with activities, I managed to make time to explore every inch of our campus.
The first place I tried out was the creek behind my apartment building in Oak Summit. Though I enjoyed the sounds of running water, and the creek was beautiful, I just couldn’t get comfortable. I tried sitting on the sidewalk nearby, leaning on the fence, sitting on the grass; nothing seemed to do it for me.
During my orientation, I had a meeting for the Theater Department, which met in the Blackbox Theater. As I was walking to my meeting, I noticed the most fascinating thing I had seen in years. There was a plaque on a tree as a gift from one of a previous class, but unlike a normal metal plaque, the tree had actually begun to grow around this one. I was astounded by the beauty of this simple, yet quirky, spot that I had found.
My favorite find: a metal plaque that a tree has grown around.
Sadly, however, the tree was directly outside of a dormitory and right next to a parking lot, making it much too noisy to be “my spot.”
I ventured onward, finding all sorts of cool parts of campus over the next few days. There was a tree planted in memory of a woman named Brunilda Capele, which had a bouquet of flowers placed on it; monumental pieces of three-dimensional artwork, and, of course, various locations near our famous castle. But nothing that qualified as my ideal spot — private and open, the perfect place to be social and distant all at once.
But one day, while I was wandering around campus in the evening, I remembered a spot I had seen during my visit to campus back in April. I had come to Arcadia with a friend to audition for the theater department.
Recalling that moment, I quickly walked to the bridge, which was connected to an oddly triangular patio that had an entrance to the Commons. So many things spoke to me. I loved the weird triangle shape, the angle that overlooked the Little Theatre, the unique perspective of the sunset. There was every reason to love this spot.
Now, a month into the semester, I am incredibly thankful for my spot. Though I fear the cold weather may cause my visits to slowly decline, this spot will always be there for me. Whether I need some place to cry, be alone, or to bring a friend to enjoy lunch, I found a place and it is mine.