I’ve been a student at Oswego State for some time. But contrary to popular belief among my friends, my freshman year was not 1998, it was 2007. There have been some minor changes to the school since I came here, some noticeable, some less so. The following words will make me feel incredibly old.
2007 was a strange time. George Bush was still president. If you asked me who Barack Obama was, I probably would’ve thought he was a member of the WWE’s Nation of Domination group from the late ‘90s. The Campus Center was shiny and new, and people were genuinely excited about what it had in store for the campus. The Hewitt Union bookstore in the basement wasn’t a half-empty wasteland like it was right before it was moved. Sodas in vending machines were only $1.50.
One of the changes I’ve been most thankful for since my freshman year is the laundry fee. Some may gripe about the $60 fee put on our bills each semester, but I can say from experience that coin-operated machines were the bane of my existence. I would scrounge for quarters like a homeless maniac, and would occasionally have to make the difficult choice of saving my change for laundry, or using the vending machines. Difficult times. What was even worse was that I lived in Cayuga Hall, which I don’t recommend, and the washers and dryers there predated Watergate. So there were some weeks when I would spend $5 on laundry, since I always used two washers and the dryers kept breaking down. So I support any flat fee that eliminates that nightmare. All you undergrads should be thankful for that.
There was also a time when Hewitt Union really was the hub of the campus until the Campus Center came along and destroyed its soul (I’m kidding, it’s a change that had to happen). That was back when all of the media organizations were located in the bowels of the Hewitt basement. The original Oswegonian office was about 3/4ths the size of a dorm room, with mountains of paper and folders amid some scattered, ancient Macs that we actually did not get rid of until a couple months ago. Now we can actually work on a newspaper with each person having more than six inches of cubic space. Speaking of the Campus Center, the hours of business for the Laker Express Market and Crossroads went a lot later. I liked being able to walk there at 10 p.m. on a weekday night and get food or soda. It feels like things have been closing earlier and earlier since then. I hope we don’t get to the point where everything’s only open from 9-10 a.m.
But some far-off ideas have become a reality since I’ve been here. The Village has gone from a distant, speculative idea in to a fully-fledged, successful part of campus. College Suites has gone from a far-off idea to a…okay, bad example. I’m just saying that it’s fascinating to see something transform from an idea into reality. Or maybe it isn’t since it’s a prime indicator that someone has spent way too much time here.
Some things haven’t changed. The fight for outlets in Penfield during finals week is still the ultimate test of survival, freshmen who order from the grill at Pathfinder are totally confused by the whole process, all of the vending machines are empty at the end of each semester and we all still get a lot of enjoyment making fun of people who live in Johnson Hall. But it is ourselves that undergo the biggest change. There are so many experiences that come with college that you wouldn’t even dream of in high school. You meet different people, do different things and as a result recalibrate the extent of your own abilities. I couldn’t imagine interning at a local newspaper and working on the e-board of this paper when I was a freshman. So if you’re a freshman now, take in what Oswego State is currently like. It might not be quite the same place when you leave it.