Oddly enough, as I write this, I am not sitting in Mason Hall. I’m on the second floor of the UgLi, sitting cross-legged in a chair directly next to the large glass encasing, whose purpose I always ponder. There is a girl being tutored in chemistry three tables in front and one table to the right of me. There is no one in the glass case.
While I am in the UgLi for the long haul tonight, my usual place of study is the windowsills in Mason Hall. While the sills aren’t the most comfortable place to study (“Neither is the UgLi!” my butt and half-asleep feet scream from underneath me, pushed uncomfortably into the hard, wood chair), the discomfort my lower body endures from sitting on purely refined trees for hours on end is counteracted by the lively atmosphere Mason can never seem to shake.
Other than the Diag, I’d argue that Mason is the hub of campus, and in the winter, I’d say it might even overtake the Diag thanks to the miracle that is central heating. The fishbowl is great, but it doesn’t have the same sense of centrality that sitting right on those windowsills do.
Two years ago, at my freshman orientation, I remember sitting in some building I was too confused to remember the name of and being given a presentation on all of the clubs that this University offers. The main things I remember from the presentation: the squirrel feeding club is a thing, study abroad is highly recommended and there are over 1,000 clubs to choose from to join. Then, I was so excited to experience all that these clubs — and that the University as a whole — had to offer, and while I was unable to join all 1,000 clubs, today I can still experience all of them by looking down the hallway in Mason to those tables when I need a study break — to check out who is yelling what at the incoming students.
While I sit in the UgLi, having uncrossed my legs because my feet fell into a deep sleep from their half-asleep state, I wonder if it’s stopped raining. I wonder if it’s started hailing. I wonder if the sun is shining. I don’t know. And I’d like to know, wouldn’t you? In the UgLi, I don’t know. Sitting by the windows in Mason, I do.
After I’ve checked out all the new happenings going on at the tables, when my butt inevitably gets a little too sore and my brain checks out after finishing a reading but I still have another 30 minutes to kill before class, I look out the window. I take in the weather, the people, everything; and it reminds me what I came to the University to do in the first place — learn. Studying in Mason, I not only learn my schoolwork, but also about my fellow Wolverines.
Looking up again in the UgLi, I see that a boy has planted himself in the glass case. He is technically looking through a window, but all he can see is more tables. I wonder if he knows if it has stopped raining.