Wednesday, August 21

Campus tour provides a walk down memory lane


Last-minute papers, labryrinthe halls constitute true UCLA legacies

You know in the finale of most TV series, when the main
character moves out of the house he or she has lived in for a long
time and gazes longingly at each empty room and reminisces about
the unforgettable moments that occurred there as the piano solo
slowly fades out? That’s me right now. With graduation
mercifully approaching, I decided to give our university one last
nostalgic go-around “¦ by tagging along with the UCLA campus
tour.

I blended right in with the eight prospective students on the
tour, especially since I was wearing my John A. Rowland High School
P.E. T-shirt. One last lap around the track: I was ready.

So was our over-caffeinated tour guide, Eric, a third-year
political science student who seemed way too giddy about attending
this school. Eric did, however, beef up my trivia knowledge,
offering tidbits such as the largest lecture hall, Moore 100, holds
474 students, geology is the smallest major, Young Research Library
contains 3.5 million books, Royce Hall features 54 architectural
imperfections and the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden was voted
the No. 1 place to kiss in the nation by Playboy Magazine.

“Where have I been?” I asked myself.

Not in class, apparently. As the group strolled through one
South Campus hall after another, I took my own stroll down memory
lane and realized that I’ve had some general education
classes in these buildings ““ I just either slept through them
or didn’t show up much, if at all. (This would become a
recurring theme throughout the tour.)

I wish I could say my graduation signals the end of an era, but
it’s more like the end of an error. In fact, many errors.

I do cherish whatever fond memories I have of these South Campus
labyrinths, like the time I missed a crucial office hour because I
failed to locate the netherworld that is Slichter Hall, which is
tucked behind and between Young Hall and the Geology Building. Then
there was the time I exited the Biomedical Library, took a wrong
turn and found myself trapped inside one of the UCLA Medical Center
buildings. I was busting through doors and storming down staircases
like the Fugitive. I finally escaped through a back alley full of
steam pipes. That was a week ago.

As we traversed through Murphy Hall, Eric the tour guide
conveniently took time to explain how Murphy offers fast, friendly
service and advice, solving all our academic and financial problems
and lighting the way for students in need of guidance and
counseling ““ a godsend, the answer to all our prayers.

I tried to hide my smug laugh. This Eric fella ““
he’s a funny guy.

Murphy is more bureaucratic hell of Hades than Oracle at
Westwood. Academic enthusiasm gets buried under mounds of
paperwork. Murphy is where school spirit and good intentions go to
die.

On a relatively happier note, as the group walked down Charles
E. Young Dr. East, along the grassy knolls of Dickson Plaza, I was
reminded of the countless times I set the land speed record while
sprinting across the plaza to turn in a paper that was due within a
minute. Those were the days. My roommate and I would motor down
Hilgard Avenue in his 1985 Mercedes 300D Turbo Diesel, and
I’d jump out of his deathmobile with paper in hand and run
like the Fugitive. (I detect a disturbing pattern here.)

I’m definitely going to miss Bunche, Haines and Rolfe
Halls, especially their staircases. That’s where I worked out
my quads climbing upstairs to hand in papers. Then I’d exit
the building with a sly smile on my face, panting like a dog but
beaming like I just pulled off the crime of the century.
There’s no feeling in the world like the exhilaration of
turning in a paper at the very last possible minute. It’s
like cheating death.

But I digress.

The group’s next stop was the sculpture garden, which
looked much more trippy the last time I was there.

Then it was on to Powell Library ““ I’m drawing a
blank on memories of that particular building.

Our tour concluded at Ackerman Student Union, where Eric
reemphasized that students will never go hungry with the abundant
eateries on campus.

Never go hungry? Stop, Eric, you’re killing me.

E-mail Chang at [email protected]

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