One of my favorite inventions of the modern magazine has been the heat index. On the top, the hottest item in the category, while the bottom is reserved for the coolest of the cold. And it works with just about anything, sports or otherwise. With one month of college in the books, I’m going to gauge the temperatures of 22 different aspects of college life.
In Order from Hottest to Coldest
A: Gardner Minshew Fan Club- The best part of Northwestern life has been the group of guys I watch football with on Saturdays and Sundays, the Gardner Minshew Fan Club (named after the Jaguars quarterback and pop culture icon of the same name). We are huge sports fans (and mostly journalism majors) from all over the country, and it makes watching games so much more fun (except when Browns fan Patrick laughed as my Ravens lost).
B: Lake Michigan/Chicago Views- I really hope the lake views never get old, because they’re awesome. The Chicago skyline at night is an amazing sight as well, best enjoyed in the warm September weather I’ve been fortunate enough to experience.
C: Daily Northwestern and Other Publications- Publishing my first Daily Northwestern article (about women’s volleyball) was certainly a highlight of my first couple weeks, and the editorial staff of the newspaper has been extremely welcoming and impressively knowledgeable. There are plenty of other publications, such as the magazine North By Northwestern and TV show SportsNight, that are also enticing possibilities.
D: Residential College Game Room (Especially pool)- The GMFC watches most of the games in the game room, which is equipped with pool, foosball, and ping pong. Neither of the three work especially well, but they certainly make for a good time and are perfect for lulls and ad breaks.
E: The Color Purple (Especially as it pertains to my wardrobe)- I’ve got a ton of purple gear now, from the Wildcat Welcome shirts to new gear and my all-purple frisbee cleats. The purple theme continues into the classroom, as any opportunity to use the word purple is generally taken.
F: Panera Bread Bagels- Having a Panera bagel brunch on a park bench with Lake Michigan ahead is pretty sweet. And with the $25 gift card I won from post prom supporting my occasional bagel runs, it’s a nice set-up.
G: AP Credit- Scheduling was made so much easier by the fact that I had taken AP classes in high school, as the flexibility and credit the classes have provided has been hugely beneficial.
H: Northwestern Ultimate (Frisbee) Team- I’ve taken up the sport of Ultimate Frisbee and the initial returns have been promising. 130 guys showed up for the first tryout on the wonderful Ryan Fieldhouse turf field, and the team is well-run and an awesome environment. My skills and forehand throw would merit a much lower spot on this list, but it’s fun to experience starting from scratch and working my way up in a pressure-free environment.
I: Step Counters- My GPS watch has been getting plenty of use. Going up and down campus has helped me rack up the steps, as my Wildcat Welcome totals neared 30,000 (almost 17 miles). It hasn’t stopped as I’ve started to settle into a routine, as 20K steps has been the norm. We’ll see how I feel when the weather is in the negatives, but for now walking is a nice way to get around and exercise.
J: Massive Amounts of Email- Getting around 20-25 emails a day can seem like a nuisance at times, but it feels like a constant dopamine rush and makes me feel like I’m getting something done whenever I resolve a new message. Shoutout to my watch for having vibrating email notifications.
K: Classes- This spot is probably as high as classes would go on a list, because, after all, it’s work. But my journalism and Earth Science classes are particularly interesting without being overly taxing in terms of workload. Logic isn’t half-bad either, and the renowned Russian Literature class is one of the coolest I’ve taken. This optimistic outlook is also boosted by the fact that I haven’t received any grades yet.
L: Gym Facilities- Northwestern’s facilities are super nice, but the main weight room itself is not much bigger than the LA Fitness back home and is usually pretty crowded. The long walk is a bit of a detriment to the lifting experience, but it’s not bad overall.
M: Buses- I list the buses that round campus relatively low given how awesome they are, but it’s only because I used them once. With rain pouring down at the conclusion of frisbee practice at 11 at night, the bus came just in time and gave me and dozens of other thankful players a dry, restful ride down to our dorms. Clutch.
N: Chicago- Since starting college, I have yet to go into the Windy City, so my opinion over this time frame is based simply on the skyline view that is just a football field away from my dorm. Still pretty awesome, and a little Gatsby-esque.
O: Northwestern Wildcats Football- On the one hand, I’ve loved going to games and watching away games with the GMFC. The defense is pretty awesome too, and having a Big Ten team to root for after years of never having a college football team is a nice feeling. But the offense is almost dead-last in all of college football and is painful to watch, after being hyped up much of this offseason. The team’s 1-4 record is disappointing, but they have time to turn the ship around.
P: Running- LOL running. I used to be a firm rider of the you-must-keep-running-or-else-you-won’t-know-what-to-do train, and I even put in a good summer of 50-mile training weeks in preparation for joining club. But I ran for two days and then decided to just stop, and, really, I haven’t regretted it. That’s not an indictment on the club runners, who I found to be cool people, but my own exhaustion from the sport and desire to start something new. I haven’t ruled it out yet and being active is still high on my priority list, but competitive racing is in my rearview mirror.
Q: Dining Halls- The required all-you-can-eat dining plan seems pretty good on paper, and it is nice to have a lot of different dining hall options and a lot of food at my disposal. But I don’t find myself taking more than three trips to dining halls typically, and the strange times that I sometimes go to frequent the halls usually leaves me without a ton of fresh food options. Not home cooking, but it could be worse.
R: The Hole in My Wallet- I’ve spent a lot of money in the first couple weeks, but there’s a lot to get! We’ll see if my new Work Study gigs can help offset this lavish lifestyle.
S: The Ineffectiveness of My Alarm Clock- I don’t think I’ve gotten up when my alarm clock went off once, and in one instance I missed the alarm and overslept the start of my flag football referee career. It boils down to one fact – I don’t fear my alarm clock anymore.
T: Skunks- I never saw skunks in Maryland and kind of thought they were a myth. But almost every night, I’m walking around campus and one of these striped boys is in the middle, staring me down with an icy gaze. And my dorm has two narrow entrances, each of with is frequented by skunks. It stinks.
U: Freezing Showers- The coldest aspect of college is literally cold, at least until winter comes. The showers at night have been so cold that you wonder why sleet isn’t spurting out of the faucet.
ROUNDUP: My first month of college has been an eye-opening and jaw-dropping experience. Living in a new part of the country feels pretty adventurous, and I’ve been blessed to have met a lot of awesome people and have gotten involved in great activities in my first weeks. It’s been a transition for sure (I definitely didn’t envision skunks as part of the deal when I committed), but after enduring middle and high school, I’m sooooo content to be at college. Check back in when winter arrives.