Saturday, August 30, 2008

First Week

After this semester, I'll have only two courses left, both electives. As those can be any course available in the 3000 level, I may be able to take both of them down at the Sarasota campus of USF.

But will I want to? The Sarasota campus is maybe five miles away; the Tampa campus is 63. (The above pictures show the miles I drove just on Thursday alone.) So sure, I'd save a lot of gas, time, and effort by attending Sarasota.

But the Sarasota campus is a just a lone (though large) building with 1,700 students, none of them residents. There's not much going on there. The building's big, well-manicured courtyard is always empty; I can't recall ever seeing anyone crossing its many sidewalks. The inside isn't much better, with the hallways quiet and still. The building's big three-story "forum," which is kind of a round lobby ringed with glass, has multiple study desks on its mezzanines, but they're always empty. Ditto the half-dozen desks set in study room off of a main hallway.

Like a well-maintained English manor house, it's a beautiful building almost devoid of life. Also, there are hardly even any courses in it I'd want to take, with the English and Literature offerings being especially sparse.

The Tampa campus, in contrast, has 37,000 students. That's twenty times as many as Sarasota. It has sports, including football (though they have to play at an off-campus arena). It has a Sundome, used for basketball and concerts. (Probably fifteen years ago, before I ever thought of attending USF, I saw Little Feat there.) The campus has buildings all over, connected by sidewalks teeming with students. Where the Sarasota campus has one small parking lot (which gets at best half-full), this campus has acres of lots, and at least four parking garages that I know of; everything's parked pretty solid from 9:30 A.M. on.

The library is six stories tall. Even though I had a map of the stacks, I still got seriously lost.

It also has the Moffit Cancer Center, a Shriner's children's hospital, and all sorts of research facilities. (And even a mental hospital, for all of my blogger friends. ;-)

All in all, the campus must be several miles square. The parking services people actually give out maps.

It's an exciting, mind-blowing change from Sarasota. I wish I had started coming up here years ago.

Ah, but the commute. It's only twice a week, but it's still a bit of a grind.

Regardless of what happens next semester, when April rolls around, I'll be done.

I'm sure I'll miss it.

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