08 February, 2010

Random rant about mitt universitet

So I made it until about 1:30am, nearly half-time in the Super Bowl (correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm thinking I didn't miss much in missing The Who?) Stu came to bed about 3:30am or so. I'm neither a Saints nor a Colts fan, but I have actually been to New Orleans, and I think mighty highly of that city, so good on them.

I didn't have much to do today, which is nice for a Monday. In fact, I had to stick around the house because Stu lost his keys last week. We are too embarrassed to ask our building Board for our extra set back (looooong story, with even a little "Would-they-evict-us?" drama mixed in, more later) so we are sharing one set and I had to be home to let Stu in.

But I had a language class at 4pm at Stockholm University, and somehow I was running late. Which led to another Why-I-Hate-This-Campus moment.

Fun fact unrelated to hating the campus: my mom went to Stockholm University. In fact, while attending, she lived literally a few streets away from where Stu & I live now. I'm totally giving away my mother's age on this, but SU outgrew Vasastan just after she left and they built a new campus (Frescati) just slightly outside of the city in the 1970s, complete with terrible 1970s architecture. And its confusing! I have class in Södra Huset, the most poorly planned layout I have ever encountered. In fact, I would go as far as to say Stockholm University is the ugliest college campus I have ever encountered. It is that bad.

I know I said I was tired of the snow, but it does offer a *huge* improvement on campus. It looks lovely out there. Much less ugly. The sidewalks are deathtraps (I almost had my second wipe-out of the season on Friday, it was so icy) but its worth walking like Bambi to see SU look so much prettier. There is nothing that helps that subway station though.

I have to digress again, sorry. Its to explain why I don't take the bus to campus anymore, and am thus stuck with the Universitetet T-bana stop. I used to take the bus all the time...it picks up by the library, and 8 minutes later, drops off just a few hundred meters from the backside of Södra Huset. One lovely day in October, however, Stockholm experienced a freak rain storm (seems to have a lot of freak storms.) I hadn't brought an umbrella, and as I left campus, the sky just opened up. I ran, clutching a newspaper over my head, and hoped the bus stop wasn't too crowded to duck under the bus shelter.
But there was no bus stop or bus shelter. In fact, as I was getting thoroughly drenched, a giant crane was lifting the bus shelter out of the ground right in front of me and placing it in the back of a flat-bed. They were moving the bus stop as I was standing there waiting, in the middle of this rain storm to about 500 meters down the road, no longer convenient to my side of campus. As I realized this, and before I could get to where they moved it TO, a 70 bus passed me by, and I was stuck waiting another 15 minutes for the next one, in the rain. It was the longest 15 minutes, then 8 minutes of my life. And I don't ride the bus to campus anymore.

Okay, so back to the subway stop at SU. Are you really still even reading? Obviously, Stu has already gone to bed after getting 4 hours of sleep last night, and I am being left to my own blogging devices. So the subway stop is not extremely convenient; I have to switch lines, its a long walk, and its always packed with throngs of students pushing each other onto one of the 4 giant escalators. Think Rosslyn or Woodley Park in the DC metro. Its like a really, really, really deep cave in there. And also ugly, with weird tile murals (see below.) And, much like the DC metro, at least one of the escalators always seems to be out of order. Today was no exception. In fact, they had lost power in the station and it was creepy dark save for a few emergency lights, making it feel even more cave-like. And there were no escalators running. And no elevator, either.

Still running late for class, while being practically lifted from train to platform by the throngs, I realized that I will have to trudge up the most ridiculously long stairway without aide of electricity. I haven't been getting a ton of exercise lately, so I thought at least it was good for me. But I am so out of shape, I nearly had an asthma attack half-way up, and I don't even have asthma! But the throngs were moving, so there was no slowing down. I had. to. keep. going. And catching my breath at the top meant catching a lung-full of -3c air. Ugg. I was about 10 minutes late for class, and slunk in as the professor was talking about Swedish word order, which already confuses the crap out of me.

I like SU. I think its a great school, and I like my program, etc, etc, etc. But the Campus is not my cup of tea. In fact, I believe I am justified in blaming my lack of knowledge of where the verb goes in relation to the subject completely on the Universitetet T-bana stop and the Frescati campus.

A photo of the bizarre tile wall decor at Universitetet Tunnelbana station. Its not graffiti, trust me, it is on purpose.


  1. Ann, are you OK? This seems really negative.
    Those walls you took pictures of are both art and science. Nothing like it in the NY or London subways. You are young and strong...is the lack of an escalator really such a hard ship. Isn't it amazing one can choose either or a bus OR the subway to get to class. And sometimes it rains. So is that a problem? TOM

  2. I guess thats why I titled it "Random Rant," I was feeling pretty negative! I don't like SU campus. I got my masters from University of Maryland, a very large state school, and it is a much nicer campus. Granted, the subwa situation is worse (one has to take a shuttle from metro to campus) but overall, UMD is attractive and well laid-out.
    I will give you some of the subway murals, though...I do like the crossword-puzzle-like tiles across the tracks. But somehow, I always end up waiting by the sperm...