To any University of Rhode Island student reading this right now: I’m with you. 

Life is weird and extremely heavy right now. I miss being on campus with a normal routine, being a student and hanging out with my friends until the odd hours of the night. 

As we soldier on through this brutal pandemic, it’s becoming easier and easier to long for the simpler times, the things we took for granted and the average yet stressful days of being a college student. I know, at least, I’m feeling this way, and as I watch the rest of the world grasp longingly for normalcy, I can assume that a lot of us are in agreement.

Because of this, I want to use this time to give a celebratory ode to normal life and shoutout URI while I’m at it. 

Kingston is full of quirks and some certainly specific places, activities and people. While exciting sports games at the Ryan Center, quirky-yet-random events that usually involve a food truck and interesting tables set up outside the Union will always be fun and a quintessential part of the Rhody experience, right now, I’m missing the mundane. 

It’s the little things that make URI feel like home. While these are tiny aspects of campus life, these oddities are the things I’m going to most appreciate when everyone is healthy again, and we get to go back to Kingston; all 14,000 of us. 

  1. The hill(s). I have to give a huge shoutout to my on-campus walk from the lowest part of campus to Swan Hall. Absolutely nothing like waking up late on a morning where you have to drag yourself up the six different levels of stairs it takes to get to the Engineering Building from the Roger Williams Complex. Now that we’re all sitting (mostly) at home, I can’t wait to appreciate the hill more. Those morning walks give you great calf muscles and truly wake you up. That is the energy I need right now. 
  2. The 24-hour room. You know when you’re in the 24-hour room in the library, it’s 3 a.m., you’re still working on a final paper that is due in six hours, you haven’t slept all week and you’re looking at the clock, considering how far away you currently are from your dorm and how much you want to be back there, but you still have two more pages to write and you temporarily question your entire life decisions until you snap back into it and finally finish the paper? No? Just me? Okay, noted. The 24-hour room is a luxury. The energy in that room at 3 a.m. is something that is completely unmatched and uncomparable. I don’t even know how to describe it, other than I always want to know why anyone needs to be in there at that hour and then I immediately self-reflect and am hit with a wave of, “cool. That’s me right now.” I miss that ominous feeling and the privilege of having somewhere to go outside of my dorm at all the hours I can dream of. How ironic. 
  3. The Corner Store. More specifically, I miss checking the Corner Store’s inventory of SweeTart ropes every day. Cherry punch SweeTart ropes are one of the world’s best creations and unfortunately my personal vice. One day the Corner Store carried them, the next day, they vanished. It was like one day I was running through a meadow of flowers at a glorious pace and the next day I was placed in the middle of the Hillside intersection at rush hour: devastating and nerve-wracking. Ever since they stopped carrying this delicious treat, I have committed myself to look every time I go into the store. Unfortunately, I haven’t found them in stock for months, but I’m hoping to keep fighting the battle when I get back to campus in the future. I will keep you all posted.
  4. Laundry. While I’ve never had any major laundry horror stories in the dorms, we’ve all had the times when we have to pay for another dry cycle or our clothes in the washer fail to spin so they come out completely drenched. These certainly are enjoyable and create vivacious memories, but my personal favorite toxic habit is running the money on my RAM account down to the last pennies by paying for the washer and then realizing I still have to figure out how I’m going to pay for a dryer. Usually one of my roommates is home to rescue me, but it always is a fun surprise when you go downstairs, move your clothes into a thankfully-available dryer and then realize you’re completely out of luck. At home, there’s never any trouble with paying; nothing to keep laundry interesting. While I won’t be on campus next semester, I look forward to reminding myself of this stressful and weirdly common habit I have every time I look at a washer, dryer or my student ID. 
  5. Different. While this is ironic because I’m writing about the common and daily things that I miss, I also miss everything being different. Let me unpack this a little bit: every day feels at least a decent amount different. Whenever I go home at night, my roommates always have a fun and unique story to share with me about their days. Whenever I walk through the quad, there’s always a new face to see. There are always more people to meet, places to go, things to do. While this seems pretty broad, it’s the simplicity of it I am longing for, and I can’t wait to see again sometime soon. A little something to spice up the otherwise consistent, monotonous schedule of a college student. The uniqueness and the trivial idea of never living the same day twice is weirdly comforting to me.

There’s a lot of things I miss about living life in a quiet, rural village in southern Rhode Island. They say you never know what you have until it’s gone; and to that I would say, “I’ll be back Rhody!” 

I hope everyone is safe, well and healthy in this turbulent time. We will be back soon.