The doors of UTM are now open, inviting the husks of students back into their once barren halls. The campus is filled once again with the buzz of a student body that has long been kept away from inhabiting it. And as wonderful (or tragic) as it is to go back to in-person learning, there is a phrase echoing softly on the breeze across campus. Welcome back to the 76th Hunger Games.
You may ask, what makes in-person learning a ruthless competition that decides whether people live or die at the mercy of others? Allow me to paint you a picture. The most privileged among us are those that get dropped off in the morning, avoiding the messy battles that take place on the bus or between the lines of the parking lots.
Those of us that are not so lucky must wait with bated breath as the bus pulls up to our stop, opens its doors, and forces us to fit in an inch of space. Any experienced bus rider knows that the true test is to find a pole or handle before the bus lurches forward and sends you toppling onto another person.
Back on campus, every time the clock reaches the top of the hour students rush in and out of classes. To survive the hourly opening of the flood gates, you must be agile, strategic, and knowledgeable of the various routes around campus. In other words, be like a salmon swimming upstream.
Of course, the most hectic area of all is The Meeting Place or cafeteria. Seats are snatched up as quickly as they become available. Finding a place to sit and eat for a hungry and tired student is crucial to surviving. As you survey the changing landscape, other students will also be walking around the space. They are your competition, the one thing standing between you and a hot meal. You will need to wield strategy, swiftness, and luck to bag a seat.
All that’s left to say is welcome back UTM, and may the odds be ever in your favour.
Until next time!