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Campus Rant: Campus Construction

Jess Shaffer | Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dear Campus Construction:Have you ever had the perfect Saturday morning? Let me set the scene. Morning sunlight is softly gleaming in through the open window. Outside, birds are happily chirping to each other in the distance. You roll over and realize that you don’t have to wake and hectically rush to class because it’s only 8:30. Instead, you get to pleasantly drift in and out of sleep for the rest of the morning, or even the rest of the day if you want to, because you have nothing to do. You are free to just lounge cozily in your blankets and pillows, enjoying the luxury of a morning spent in bed. But alas! As you begin to fade back into sweet weekend dreaming, a lurking menace strikes. Suddenly, the birds are no longer chirping. Instead their sweet melodies have been replaced by a ruckus of drilling, pounding and clamoring, a cacophony of construction. That dull drilling sound with the irregular pounding and clanging of hammers is infinitely worse than any alarm clock. You cannot push a button and make it stop. Nor can you toss it against the wall in a fit of hostility. You can shut your windows to the beautiful spring dawn, but still that relentless thudding can be heard, driving you restlessly out of your dreamy state. It has the power to turn the perfect morning into an irritating start to your day. Soon the soft morning light is an obnoxiously bright burden, and the sweet little birds are annoying nuisances. The start of morning construction marks the end of the most poetically blissful moments. Situations like these make me wonder and question. Why, oh campus construction, must you toy with my emotions? Yes, I admit, I do like new, shiny things. Of course, I’m all for progress. Nicer facilities, like new bathrooms and new buildings that permit natural light, are duly appreciated. But so is some peace and quiet. So, campus construction, you often leave me torn and confused.Not long ago, my clouds of confused emotions parted, and I saw clearly. No matter how much I like new, shiny things, I value two things more: my sleep and Notre Dame tradition. Being woken up by construction equipment that sounds strangely akin to my alarm clock is never fun. And if less sleep is not enough to leave me distracted and wary during my day, the drilling inside school buildings like O’Shag only makes things worse. There are some things that a good cup of coffee just can’t fix, and the pounding of power tools in your head is one of them. This is a college campus. If construction is so necessary, could we not at least hold off until after 9 a.m. so that we can all enjoy the one time of day (namely 6-8 a.m.) when almost all of the Notre Dame campus population is enjoying some well-deserved rest and relaxation?Finally, what was so wrong with my beloved Notre Dame campus in the first place? We cannot continue to exponentially expand unless we want to take over South Bend and, eventually, the world. Last time I checked, though, world domination was not in our mission statement. Is nothing holy to you, construction? Every quad, every corner has fallen prey to your beguiling promise of a better future. But it is a future that we will never see. Not only will we all graduate before we can truly appreciate the new additions to campus, it seems like the additions and improvements are never-ending. Is enjoying our campus as it is, wonderful in its traditional form, too much to ask for? When I got my acceptance letter to Notre Dame, the picture of campus had no hard hats or cranes in it. False advertising, I find now. These attacks on my sleep and my charming old campus have left me rather angry. You might think that I am merely projecting frustration from other areas of my life onto construction, or you might think that I am suffering from general teenage angst or pre-exam stress. But you’d be thinking wrong. Campus construction offends every one of my senses. It’s an eyesore. The ceaseless drilling makes me long for the earmuffs of winter. Breathing in the fumes coming off newly constructed buildings is none too pleasant. How does that make me feel? Well, along with the unending headache, it makes me feel rather bad and clearly irritable. And, as we all know, these types of things tend to leave a bitter taste in one’s mouth. What I’m trying to say is that it’s you, construction, not me. And I just don’t know how much longer this self-destructive relationship can continue. It’s better if we just be friends. Preferably from a distance. Thanks!