A Non-Exhaustive List of the Very Specific Things I Miss About (the Parkville) Campus

23 October 2020

Reader, did campus ever really exist? Or was it some very expensive collective hallucination we all had? After all, it’s been months (weeks? decades? time is bizarre this year) since I set foot in the place, and my memories of it are becoming ever-hazier. 

Kidding aside, I do miss campus. Not its flashier, brashier aspects (see: the underground carpark of Mad Max/MasterChef fame), but the smaller things. For example:

  1. How the dining hall at Union House always smells slightly funky, like a squashed croissant with a layer of something sentient, furry and green living on it.
  2. Speed-walking past the Baillieu, struggling to communicate to the flyer-wielding stupol hack behind you that you’ve already voted, even though you haven’t, and have no intention of ever doing so.
  3. Buying five 7/11 coffees a day, because it’s $1 each, which is basically $0, meaning you’re not really spending any money on coffee. #Math
  4. Spending 25 minutes looking for a free seat in the Baillieu, finally sitting down at one, then immediately pulling out your phone to scroll through Facebook for an hour.
  5. Drinking in the panoramic view of the University Oval, and of colleges you could maybe afford to live at if you sell a kidney, as you take a tranquil shit in the bathrooms on the tenth floor of the Redmond Barry building.
  6. How pretty South Lawn looks in the summer – all bright green grass and bright blue skies – so perfect it looked like something right off a college brochure.
  7. How pretty South Lawn looks in the fall – a red-gold riot with the slightest hint of a winter chill in the air.
  8. Mixing every flavour from the Swanston Street 7/11’s slurpee machine to create an eldritch abomination that dyed your tongue blue-green-red. 
  9. The smattering of awkward chuckles after your professor makes a particularly horrific pun.   
  10. Jaywalking to campus from the Swanston Street tram stop, because you are a University of Melbourne Student, with Very Important University of Melbourne Things to do, meaning you simply cannot wait two seconds for the traffic light to turn green.
  11. The ERC, which is hands down the best library ever known to humankind. (No, I will not be taking any questions, thank you).
  12. Those huge-ass houseplants in the Rowden White Library. (What happened to them after lockdown? Who’s taking care of them now? I have questions.)
  13. Watching the desperation in your tutor’s eyes mount as their efforts at stimulating discussion around a topic they have devoted their life to mastering are met with complete silence.
  14. Nature! Ivy climbing up the Babel Building, the meticulous loveliness of the Systems Garden, the Camellia tree in Old Quad- blood-red and breathtakingly beautiful. 
  15. The abundance of architecturally stunning buildings (see: Arts West’s soaring ceilings, Old Arts’ wannabe-Cambridge-chic) to have panic attacks about my future in. (I still have panic attacks, reader, but sadly in much less aesthetically stunning locations.)
  16. Snidely pointing out that the Sinhalese word for “Welcome” in the famously multilingual sign​ over the main entrance is grammatically incorrect every time I pass it.

In conclusion, reader, I miss Parkville. I miss it painfully, almost physically, and so the memories I have of the single fleeting year I spent there are sepia-toned and softened by nostalgia. I am an international student; I have few roots here. My whole life and most everyone I knew were  concentrated somewhere within those few square kilometres in Parkville. Losing that was rough. And though its closure continues to be necessary, I can’t help missing the campus I crossed seas to study at, and which’s minute quirks I didn’t realize I had learned to love so deeply.


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