As the school year winds down, it begins to hit us that we’ll soon be leaving Claremont, the place we’ve happily called home for the last nine months. For some, it is a mere three months before coming back. For those studying abroad next semester, such as myself, we won’t be calling Claremont home for a long time. For seniors, this time of year marks the end of the CMC experience – a feeling that I imagine must epitomize the idea of “bittersweet.” Regardless of individual situations, we all must reconcile ourselves with our imminent departure. Personally, I’ve noticed myself beginning to appreciate the little things that make CMC wonderful. It’s easy to praise the parties or the California sunshine, but there are other schools that can lay claim to such features. It seems to me that many of the ingredients that make CMC uniquely awesome go under-the-radar, unacknowledged niceties that brighten our days but are lacking in acknowledgment. Allow me to spell out a few that I’ve noticed over the last couple of weeks.
1) The Geckos
I honestly love that we have a little gecko colony on campus. Due to some climate-related technicality, these exotic little creatures don’t exist in my home state of Colorado. I think that’s why they have such an appeal for me. On a near daily basis I’ll be strolling along thoughtlessly when all of a sudden I spot one perched on the sidewalk, still as a statue – until, of course, I get too close – then the little dragon speeds away with a whir, off into the bushes to go do reptile stuff. Rock on, my scaly friends. (Also, a quick shout out to our squirrel population – you guys are cool, but decidedly unworthy of a full paragraph).
2) The Omnipresence of Music
This, in particular, seems to be a North Quad phenomenon, a product of the gorge-like pathway that divides Wohlford from Appleby and Boswell from Green. Whether it’s 10 AM on a Monday as you stroll to Kravis or 10 PM on a Thursday as you patrol for parties, the tunes are constantly blasting. This might be annoying for some, and understandably so. For me though, the never-ending music is a signifier of collegiate vitality, a subtle reminder that we’re in our youthful prime. Moreover, the variety of music played is a great way to find new songs. Far too frequently I find myself creepily hovering outside windows, engaging in covert Shazaming operations. Don’t mind my stalking habits, fellow North Quaders; I’m just trying to expand my musical horizon. (Unless, of course, you’re playing country music – then I’ll be running in the opposite direction).
3) Outside Study Spots Galore
Granted, our atrociously amazing weather often seems like an incentive to not do any work. However, if approached with the right mindset, our divine SoCal air is the perfect accompaniment to productivity, especially on those lethargic Sundays. The spots available seem endless: tables outside the Hub, tables in the Kravis lower courtyard, tables on the upper Kravis terraces, benches scattered all about campus, innumerable trees waiting to be leaned against, acres of grass waiting to plopped down upon with a beach towel, et cetera. Heck, you can even be that guy who casually posts up in the fountains for all to see, bespectacled in Ray-Bans as you simultaneously tackle Adam Smith and refine your bronze color.
4) Transportation Paradise
Let’s face it: our commute to class is just about the easiest commute imaginable. If you are similar to me, insofar as viewing pre-class showers as optional, then you wield the extraordinary prerogative of being able to wake up at 9:55 for your 10:00 am class. If you own a bicycle or long board, it gets even better: you might as well set your alarm for 10:00, arrive a minute or so late, and proceed to revel in the fact that you can get away with such frivolity. Also, while on the topic of long boards: the design of our campus seems to have been rubberstamped by the Lords of Dogtown. The North to South Quad incline is angled perfectly, allowing for an exciting ride that’s not overly dangerous. Likewise, the slope from Bauer to Kravis seems to have been sculpted personally by the long board gods. What advantage, you may ask, does this bring for all the non-shredders? Well, let’s face it: seeing a cocky skater tumble to the ground is a guilty pleasure of sorts, provided that no serious injuries are sustained – the best part is when he springs up to his feet and looks around hurriedly, praying that no one bore witness to his pitiable coordination!
5) Spontaneous Congregations
One of the best products of our small student body and centralized setting are the small gatherings and friendly discussions partaken in during those commonly shared 15-minute periods in-between classes (2:30-2:45 comes to mind). Sometimes it’s a quick chat in the ridiculously long Hub Store line with the interlocutors bemoaning their exhausted conditions and praising the heavens for the existence of Starbucks DoubleShot Espresso Drinks. Other times you’ll find yourself walking to class alongside a friendly acquaintance, with enough time for the two of you to decry forthcoming exams and catch-up on one another’s summer plans. The best of these gatherings are those on Thursday afternoons when you meet up with your buddies, with gleeful vibes permeating the air as you happily discuss impending weekend shenanigans. Thursday afternoons are, quite simply, the happiest time on campus in my humblest of opinions.
Unfortunately, I now find myself unable, or perhaps just out of time, to identify other little things that make CMC what it is. I’m sure however that the reader is already recognizing his or her own favorite CMC minutiae. If I may, I feel that the “spontaneous congregations” section warrants a few concluding comments. It is these daily gatherings and friendly discussions that reveal the essence of our school’s vivacity: the people. It seems as though no one here is inclined to turn down a chat – my fellow students invariably display friendliness, even in the midst of academic and social stresses. We arrive as freshmen not quite knowing what to expect, each with our own distinct set of experiences. Yet it is through our collective amicable nature that we unite and prosper – this, I believe, is what makes CMC the happiest campus in the country.