Jonas Doerr – Staff Writer
I see it everyday. Students walking past, head down, backpack on their backs, and avoiding all eye contact. One tries to greet them with a friendly smile, but they avoid eye contact like they’re looking at Medusa. They slowly trudge past and eventually arrive at their destination. Perhaps there they perk up a bit.
But it’s too late then!
After all, it’s about the journey to classes, not the destination! How can students so dejectedly waste that precious travel time? Think of all the ways students could go to class instead: parkour, jogging, skipping, admiring the clouds, or whistling cheerily.
And yet they consistently choose the most boring option: walking.
Walking is not always such a poor choice. In fact, some people make the most of this common choice. They banter with friends and greet fellow students with beaming smiles. Others ponder their next great artistic invention. But for those of us who haven’t mastered the art of walking, perhaps it is time for a literal change of pace.
Some students would be well suited by taking up parkour on their way to classes. The Lund Center is out of the way for some, so why not get exercise during the usual travel time? Gustavus is littered with perfect opportunities for parkour.
Those random concrete cylinders scattered around campus? They would be perfect for vaulting, leaving other pedestrians with gaping jaws at your robust athleticism. Those benches some people use for sitting? They are great opportunities to walk on like a tightrope. And those hefty dolomite walls Gustavus students are so fond of looking at are made for bouncing off of on the way to calculus.
It is likely that some people would be embarrassed to take such a lively approach to their daily commute. For the more shy among us, there are other options.
Instead of walking, students could jog to classes. Currently, many would choose not to because everyone would think they are booking it to their class to avoid their professor’s death stare of tardiness. That wouldn’t be true in this case, though. To avoid those misplaced assumptions, students could start running ten minutes before class started. Since everyone would be just leaving classes, they obviously wouldn’t be running late. Judgemental bystanders would have to assume either that they are on a rigorous fitness program or that they are cross-country runners, and no one understands cross-country runners.
Not only would this make the journey quicker and healthier, it would also make it sweatier. Some might complain of the drippiness, if it’s not one of Gustavus’ renowned below-0˚-plus-wind-chill days. And yet the moisture accumulated on students’ foreheads would become a badge of their commitment to class. How could any professor dislike a student who runs to class every day? With that kind of dedication, maybe that student should run the show!
All students have heard of skipping classes. But have they considered skipping to classes? No one can feel gloomy or dejected while skipping. It is the perfect antidote to the melancholy walking students seem to feel. It may look slightly silly, but there is a good kind of silly and a bad kind of silly. How can skipping to class bring anything but a smile to onlooker’s faces? It is certainly worth a shot.
It is possible all of these ideas are too outlandish for most Gustavus students. Most of us do not prefer to be noticed as we stroll to our next attempt at learning. Many of us prefer to be noticing others instead, in fact. Still, even these mild-mannered Gusties can find a way to spice up their daily treks. Instead of inconspicuously staring at others, they can try looking in a different direction and admiring the beautiful sky. It is quite blue here at Gustavus, you know.
Watching the sky provides several benefits. It reminds us of our smallness, as we see how vast the blue expanse is. It reminds us how limited our time on earth is, as we see the sun move steadily through that blue sky. And it lets us imagine that those puffy clouds look like a panda sucking on a lollipop.
Of course, there is the small hazard of tripping, but students will easily recover with the parkour skills they already learned. They could also just look down once in a while.
Most Gusties nowadays choose to walk mundanely to class every day. This banal option sucks the joy out of an otherwise exciting trip. Instead of walking, Gusties can step up to this opportunity and run wild with the exciting possibilities. Let us no longer be a school of walkers! Instead, let us unite in our individualities and, instead of simply beholding others, make our own lives something to behold!