From Jottings to Thoughts

My recent experience within a college student center revealed a new perspective. I was tasked with taking “jottings,” of the people, places, objects, and overall environment that I was exposed to. You can explore them within this post. You may not be able to read them, but I can. Since my experience, my jottings, can only be understood completely by my experience, I have “fleshed,” them out into complete, full thoughts, that hopefully can help anyone who reads them get into my shoes, and see, hear, smell, and observe what I observed in a green couch, in a random area, of a large, wildly designed building.

My two separate occasions of taking these jottings yielded twelve pages of observations. For this post, I will focus on three of these pages (seen immediately below) and reveal what larger thoughts and descriptions can be made of simple notes.

The student Center 

A college -aged man sits inside the entrance to the student center. He is tucked away in the far corner, off the beaten path from where students walk to and from the many activities that take place in this building, but still visible.  He is wearing gray sweat pants, a gray sweatshirt, and brown leather flip flops. His reddish hair is wildly askew. The length of the hair is about six inches. He has white ear buds in and is intently watching the screen of his cellphone connected to the headphones. He leans back into the green couch and purses his feet up on the red chair in front of him.

The couches are arranged in a half-square, conducive to conversation. There are five red couches and four red couches that feature a round, wooden base to them. There is a television displaying campus events on the back facing wall, and multiple posters about Jesuit history around the walls. There are also 2 visible security cameras, brown and yellow tile, and brown, diagonal hardwood floor. A box is placed on this floor, out of sight, to collect hygiene  products for those affected by recent natural disasters.

Only he and I sit in this area, with no conversation. Students walk by to enter and exit the building. Most are alone and intently looking at their phone, barely noticing myself or the man in the corner.

Eighty-three people walk by during my time in the student center. The vast majority are looking at their respective phones. Many also are eating bananas or drinking coffee. As the exiting students approach the 12 steps up to exit, they look up from the phone to gain bearings. Some of these eighty-three people are in groups of two and engage in conversation.

The noises within this location are faint. The main dining area is surrounded by glass walls, which creates this audio-divide. Morphed conversations are heard, but not understood. The location allows anyone sitting there to see into the more lively, student filled dining hall. The proximity to the dining hall also brings smells with it. There is not distinct food smell, but a morphing of many different food options.

There are many people, sights, smells, and feelings within this small space, of a larger building. The man in the corner remains in his same position by the time I leave, with eyes set on a small screen, ears focused on whatever is coming through his headphones. But, he has to be smelling the same un-distinguishable smell as I. Hundreds of more people may pass by by the time he leaves this space. I doubt he noticed as much as I did about our shared surroundings during the time period.

See the rest of my jottings below.

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