the students are coming!

When I was growing up, I didn’t have many reasons to pay attention to when the students were at Clemson. I knew Dad went back to teaching when I started back to school, and I knew that we stayed off the roads during the weekends of football season. Especially the year that the Carolina Panthers were building a new stadium. That year, they used Death Valley on the weekends that Clemson didn’t have any home games. So, pretty much, you didn’t go anywhere on the weekend. You’d be trapped in traffic, forever.

Even my one lone semester at Clemson (college wasn’t for me) was spent away from campus, as much as possible. If your parents live in town, you don’t have to live in the dorms for your freshman year… well, not unless you want to. And I didn’t want to.

So, the sudden influx of students, as I began my cashier job on campus, was a bit startling. For the two days of orientation, you could glimpse the groups of freshmen taking tours, even through our location, and then Wednesday arrived. It was like the skies opened and poured out students, instead of rain. Don’t get me wrong, they’re extremely polite and friendly, by and large, but it was a bit overwhelming.

Before long, you start to recognize faces, as my workplace is near all the engineering buildings. My dad taught, and my brothers went to classes all over this section, so I’m familiar with the area. So, the local professors stop by for coffee, several times a day, making me wonder why they don’t have coffee pots in their offices… or is that against the rules?

Professor Goldpaper comes in once a day to get a small cup of coffee, but as he’s usually a tea drinker, he won’t buy a Clemson travel mug, and get the discount on the refills. He always insists that he only wants a receipt if it’s printed on gold or silver paper. I tell him that my managers haven’t figured out where to buy that kind, yet. Sushi Guy likes the sushi so much that he comes back for seconds (and it isn’t cheap) within half an hour, and is completely shocked when I tell him that I’ve never tried it. Raw fish just sounds weird.

With the students back in town, we’ve also tripled (or is it quadrupled?) Clemson’s population. When I was in Australia, I had some friends ask how big my hometown is, and I never knew the answer to that question. In Emerald, Queensland, they have a higher population during the week, because a lot of miners fly in from Rockhampton to work, and you can’t get a hotel room during the week, for love or money. But when the weekend arrives, they all fly home, and the population takes a nosedive.

Well, at Clemson, this happens in the fall and spring, and then our city takes a population dive in the summer. It’s been said that if the students were allowed to vote as residents of Clemson, they could take over the town’s government. Not that they haven’t taken over everything else, because in a way, the amount of restaurants and hotels (and anything else you can think of) are here because of the University and the football fans. And, of course, everything in town is orange and purple, causing a friend of mine to once suggest that she was constantly expecting people to jump out and burst into song, because it was like being in a musical, and not like reality. To me, it’s just normal.

Just some observations, as my job gets going, and pre-football insanity. Maybe I’ll have some interesting stories to share, as the days move along. And now, one more week until my Labor Day trip!

3 thoughts on “the students are coming!

  1. You should try sushi – maybe on an expensive date so you don’t have to pay. Don’t get anything cheap. Some good salmon sushi will practically melt in your mouth. But if it smells like fish or feels at all sticky, don’t eat it (but the rice is supposed to be sticky). Try a salmon roll or a tuna roll with some soy sauce and maybe a little wasabi (spicy green play-dough).

    • I’ll keep that in mind, when I go on my first date! πŸ™‚ They all tell me the sushi that our company makes is good, though I’m sure it’s not like what you’d have at a restaurant. I have some friends who love it AND have a high spice tolerance, so they love to have wasabi with it. We’d have some good times at a place that made Japanese and Chinese food. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the suggestions!

  2. I have a similar seasonal experience, living near a major university: you do not (and I mean: DO NOT) do any shopping on the weekend that the students return. As it so happens, that is this weekend, and it’s already started. We’ve just returned from vacation and the house is empty of perishables, so I’m going to have to break the “rules” and go grocery shopping tomorrow (Saturday; the BIG move-in day), but I plan on going early (read: 6AM), so the only line that I may run into will be at the Starbucks. (Cross your fingers for me – oy!)

    Fortunately, we live on the outskirts, so football traffic – while noticable, and delay-causing – isn’t nearly as bad out here in the Sticks as it is closer to town. I can use back roads and mountain paths that no one but the locals know about to circumvent vehicular snarls and get to where I’m going if I have to go anywhere (remind me to tell you about the back-route to the hospital my midwife gave to me if I happened to go into labor on a football Saturday: driving on the shoulder was permitted!)(and yes, I did!! but it was a few hours after the game had ended). Traffic has improved drastically since they’ve put in a large, 4-lane divided bypass to keep people out of the other parts of town on their way to the stadium; still, there were the weekends when we were working on our house that I routed my trips to/from the lumber yard in a circle with all left-hand turns to constantly move against incoming football traffic. πŸ™‚ What can I say? You just learn and adapt to your surroundings, right?

    And sushi: you know, it doesn’t have to have raw fish; generally, “sushi” is just cold rice wrapped in seaweed, but it can include or be topped by raw fish (sashimi), or not. I grew up eating it – all kinds (raw, cooked, vegetable), plus, I’ve never been squeamish about things like raw oysters – but I completely understand that overcoming one’s texture preferences, as well as mental predispositions, is a big deal. My advice would be to try some of the cooked varieties. California Rolls are cooked crab, avocado and cucumber, rolled in rice and seaweed – no spice unless you add it. If you can, go to a reputed restaurant with an experienced diner – that helps! Enjoy!

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