There are a surprising number of people standing around wanting to hand you things–even if you’re obviously walking around empty handed, unencumbered, and pretty happy about that situation. Pieces of paper advertising various bands at off-campus venues and various lectures with academically obfuscated titles that mostly seem aimed to get you to leave mad about something or maybe everything. Coupons. Self-published fiction (in hardback!) with links to apps printed on the dust jacket.
There are not nearly enough recycle bins ten paces beyond these people.
College kids rely very heavily on their peripheral vision, especially the upper peripheral. This is because their heads are typically pointed down at their phones or at least down below the visual plane where they might make eye contact with someone.
There is very, very little eye contact.
But, especially not from the guy on a bench who either couldn’t think of an excuse fast enough or was just too polite when two eager young fellas offered to come up and read their Bibles to him while one sat on the facing bench that was rather intimately close, like knee-to-knee, and the other stood blocking the exit.
Lots of college kids have really big, colorful headphones that don’t plug into anything and just sit there on their ears which, you know, wireless stuff exists but it’s still kind of new and strange to see so that, remember that TV in The Shining that Danny and his mom watched a movie on even though it wasn’t plugged into
anything? It sort of makes campus look like everyone’s just a little crazy in a Kubrick kind of way. And, you wonder, does staying in your own head space like that, cocooned all the time in sound that has to grow predictable after a while, does that start to make everyone actually crazy in a Kubrick kind of way?
On the campus I work at, there’s a main road made out of the same material as the sidewalk which looks really nice but, given the aforementioned tendency of students to walk around with headphones on while looking down, those visual cues 2-3 paces in front of them become really important for their navigation and the seamless aesthetic kind of makes it a little dangerous because they can’t tell when they’ve left the sidewalk and wandered, say, into the path of an oncoming minivan (whose driver honestly isn’t doing that great a job paying attention either). It is funny to see the college kids jump like scared house cats when the minivan lurches to a stop just inside their lateral peripheral vision, though.
An oddly high number of young men walk around with gallon jugs of water. Seems strange to make it where you have to leave and pee three times during an hour-long lecture to which you paid an admission fee you’re going to be paying off well into your 40s. Their muscles are pretty big, though.
There are sidewalks everywhere. Except on the straight line that you would most want to walk to get somewhere.
This last one may be too peculiar to be universal, but someone in the building I work in (the campus library) leaves their office door open and they have a life-size little cutout of a kitten standing on the floor in the doorway and it tricks me every time. I ought to pop my head in and congratulate them sometime.