Now that I’ve been here for about a month and a half, I have realized that there are a bunch of things that are annoying about life in a big city and life at a big university. Obviously there are lots of great things about Vancouver and UBC, but there are plenty of things that make me frustrated, angry, and upset.
Today was a prime example of everything I don’t like about a big university colliding into one gigantic collage of irritating. I had an assignment due for my class this evening, and I needed to verify how to properly cite newspaper articles. I know I can access the MLA guide online, but I’m super old school (learned it all from Ginny) and I like using the MLA Handbook. Anyway, I figured I’d stop by the Writing Centre (WC) on my way to print my paper off, because at MUN the WC has reference books that anyone can stop in and glance through. I, perhaps naively, presumed the WC here would be the same.
This was not to be so. When I went in, there were several offices, none of which looked Writing Centre-like. I asked a very unhappy looking woman sitting behind a desk if they had any reference books I could access, and she directed me to the second floor, where the tutors live. However, accessing the second floor required going outside and walking up stairs that seriously reminded me of something that you’d see connecting tree houses. Also, she didn’t mean the second floor; she meant the third. The second floor ended up being a long empty hallway with a few closed doors with odd signs on them. Some warned of explosive material, other simply said “KEEP OUT!” like they really meant it.
Once I realized that this was clearly floor 1.5, I went back outside and up the final Peter Pan-esque stairwell to the real WC. There wasn’t a tutor in sight; all I saw was a long gray hallway with office doors half opened. I then found a piece of paper that listed all the tutors and their phone numbers, and instructed tutees to contact each tutor individually to find out their rates for tutoring. I may not have the story entirely right here, but I surmised that tutors charge tutees for their services. This I don’t like.
Anyway, with no success at the WC, I headed to the library to find an MLA guide. The entrance to the main library on campus is confusing, because when you walk in, all you see is the circulation desk on the left and a smattering of computers on the right. I figured I could search for the location of the reference section on the computer, but the first two I tried didn’t have internet access. They merely presented me with a blank screen. For a minute I wondered if these were not computers at all but fake computers used to give the illusion of helpfulness. Finally, though, I found the internet and that there was, indeed, an MLA Handbook in the library.
The confusing thing about this particular library is that the main entrance is on the 3rd floor. If you don’t register this fact, then it makes finding the 2nd floor very difficult. When I at last found the 2nd floor and the reference section, I asked the librarian where to find this blessed MLA guide. He was friendly and quickly found it for me, but he handed me the 6th edition when there was clearly a 7th right next to it. I politely thanked him, but then added “I need the 7th edition.” He looked at me for a moment and said, “Well now you’re just being picky!” and snarkily passed me the other copy.
Newspaper citation finally taken care of, I headed to SLAIS to print off my paper. I hadn’t printed anything yet, so I was hoping that the IT assistant would be in her office to tell me how to go about it. Luckily I ran into her just as she was leaving, and I asked her how printing could be made possible. She told me that I had to purchase a print card, which annoyed me slightly, as your student card at MUN also functions as your print card and doesn’t require spending more money. I was told that I had to buy a specific card for the Faculty of Arts, and it could only be purchased at a different building. Once I bought the card, putting money on it to use for printing would cost me extra.
So off I went in search of this mysterious Arts print card. I found the right building and floor, but when I found the card machine, a little electronic notice informed me that “This machine does not dispense cards.” Sighing heavily, I asked a kind woman who worked at the Arts advisory desk if there was anywhere else I could get a card. She directed me to another building in the same block, but because of construction I had to walk indoors through a complicated maze of hallways and skywalks to get to the correct building. After walking up and down four staircases, several dead ends, and almost walking into a classroom, I found the card machine. As I exited the building, card safely stored in my wallet, I discovered that the kind lady had completely sent me on a complicated and crazy path for no reason, as the door from her department faced the door from where I was standing.
After printing my paper (which costs 10 cents a page, unlike MUN’s 5), I had to go to the bookstore to buy envelops. I got there and was greeted by people with walkie-talkies, lights, cameras, catering vans and dressing room trailers. When I walked in I saw a fake check-out set up right by the door with a sign that said “This is not a real cash!” As the cashier was ringing in my envelopes, I asked her what was going on. She told me that they were filming a TV show - I instantly hoped it was GLEE - and she was completely unhappy with it. I have never heard of the show, and I can’t even remember the name, but there were so many people hanging around, clearly trying to be seen on camera, that I barely made it out of the bookstore with my envelopes in tact.
Anyway, a day like today makes me miss the comforts of MUN. However, I did find this at the bookstore
which made my day slightly better.
I miss home a lot this week. Especially after a day like today. I’m going to see a movie by myself tomorrow, like I used to do on Fridays when I saw movies to review for The Muse, to lift my spirits.