Possibilities of an empty campus

Look out the window now and think of what you are doing. Is it important enough to spend one of the most lovely days of the year inside? Yes? Ok, you are screwed. No? Then realize that you have looked out of this campus windows many, many times, longing to go outside.

You probably were fantasizing: what if I would just break out of here, take my inflatable crocodile and jump head first in that little pond over there? Run across the paths a little bit, while randomly trying to climb some trees and failing in doing so? What if I would climb on top of Koopmans building and start screaming random funny words at people? And how cool would it be to be able to lie in that grass for a little while?

But no, you are inside. No running, no screaming, no plunging, just typing. Or Facebooking, or watching the third rerun of The Big Bang Theory. This is my first summer as a working class hero. It is also the first summer for me here, on Tilburg University campus. The emptier the campus grounds get, the more attractive it gets to do just those things that I always wanted to do when I was trying to focus on my screen. An empty campus has a magical touch to it.

You suddenly see people lying under a tree, shamelessly, with their shirt pulled over their heads, sleeping. A girl walked into our office to borrow a pair of scissors. We could see her slowly cutting of the pant legs of her friend’s tight black jeans on the lawn in front of the Cobbenhagen building. People walk a little more slowly, sit in the many empty places in the Mensa before they walk outside again, licking a popsicle. The meetings are as short as possible, since the sun is making the board rooms too hot for the black suits.

You probably don’t want to hear, see, or feel the campus in those two long months of summer. But think about this: when you have a day off, absolutely nothing to do, take your bike and ride the familiar route to campus. Walk around, in the quiet of the summer, lie under a tree, listen to the empty classrooms. And maybe, if you get the chance: pull your shirt over your head. You will love it.

Look out your window again. Is what you are doing really that important?

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