September 08, 2007

Make Way For Pundigrions, Pt. 1

I have now been back in Boston for four full days. They've mostly been spent doing very productive yet boring things, like getting a phone, orientation, convincing the Emerson Health Services people that, in fact, Britain no longer has endemic plague - that sort of thing. Today involved more assembling Ikea furniture than I would normally care to do.

Living here again is a fairly surreal experience. I’m living with Adrienne and most of the same furniture we had in Montreal, but in the mornings, instead of us both getting ready for 10am classes like we used to, she gets up and puts on work clothes and goes to her responsible, adult job, and I dick around reading The New Yorker on the couch for a few hours – it’s a bit like one of those sitcom episodes that shows you some hypothetical future with the characters all doing hilariously ironic things.

It’s also pretty surreal being back at Emerson. In some ways it hasn’t changed at all (every damn thing on campus is still branded purple, right down to the ink in the free pens at orientation), but in some ways it’s a little unrecognizable. They’ve sold up all the Back Bay property they had when I was here, and squeezed the whole campus into a bunch of newly constructed buildings at the Boylston-Tremont corner of the Common.

Most spectacular out of all their new buildings is the Max Mutchnik Campus Center, which is exquisitely Emersonian for two reasons:

1. It’s named after the creator of Will and Grace. (Granted, I don’t think that's the primary reason he got the building named after him, but still.)

2. Its nickname (for all Emerson buildings must have a nickname) is ‘The Max’ which, the astute among you will realise, is the name of the hip student hang-out from Saved By The Bell. I can’t work out if this is intentional or not, but I’m assuming, given how much TV Emerson students watch, that it must be.

The other big new building is the Tufte Performance Center, which is tucked in behind the library. I had occasion to visit Tufte the other day for the very-impressive-sounding Student Services Fair. The name made it out to be a bustling room full of all manner of stalls with helpful staff and enthusiastic volunteers (I had SSMU Activities Night in mind); instead it was corridor in which five tables were set up:

1. Coffee table.
2. The Boston Police Department.
3. The Student Counselling Center.
4. The Writing Assistance and Resource Center.
5. The Office of Off Campus Student Services.

Whereas most of the stalls at least had personnel, OCSS was completely unmanned and consisted (this is not even a little bit of an exaggeration) of a sign saying “Off Campus Student Services” and a map of the subway system. Nothing else. Which is kind of amusing considering Emerson only has enough room to house about a quarter of its students, so most of its students are "Off-Campus".

I think that's enough for now, but rest assured there will be many more pithy Emerson jokes in the coming weeks.

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