It was one of those days on which there were more prospective students than actual students walking around campus. Everywhere you turned, there were hordes of high schoolers attempting to look cool, closely followed by their eager parents, who were preoccupied with memorizing every word that came out of their tour guide’s mouth. On this particular day, the Case Western Reserve University population, and just Cleveland in general, was doing its best to give these visitors an unforgettable first impression of the campus.
To begin with, the weather was atrocious—a completely grey sky unleashed buckets of a rain/snow/hail hybrid, and hurricane level winds rendered umbrellas useless. But more distinctive than the weather conditions were the numerous disturbances in which CWRU students took a starring role. I was a personal witness to the following two episodes, and considering the fact that I spent most of my day in the library, I’m sure that many equally notable incidents occurred on campus that day.
I was standing at a crosswalk, headphones in, and busy wishing that Bob Marley could transport me to Jamaica, or to any place where the sun actually shines. Suddenly, I heard someone scream, “You idiot!”
I ignored it. A rapid-fire succession of, “Idiot, idiot, you idiot,” and some mysterious thumping sounds followed. Hoping that the person standing behind me wasn’t addressing me and curious to know if I should risk the oncoming traffic to escape whatever was occurring behind me, I ventured to look over my shoulder. A frazzled CWRU student was standing there, violently pounding his chest and smacking his leg, accompanying this self-imposed beating with a passionately shouted refrain of “Idiot, you idiot!”
Who knows what type of grave personal crisis prompted this public display, but whatever the case, nervous parents and their children probably attributed this meltdown to the exorbitant levels of stress that the university fosters.
Shortly after, as I was walking to Einstein’s Bros. to get my daily cup of vanilla hazelnut coffee, I noticed a human, wearing the signature green band and carrying a lethal-looking nerf gun, zoom past an astonished tour group. Intent on outrunning a zombie hot in pursuit, and either blinded by the rain or by his fear, the poor human ran at full speed into Nord’s glass door. He was immediately knocked to the ground and his nose began to bleed profusely. Of course, the zombie felt no compassion for the fallen warrior, and some type of scuffle/battle ensued, and from what I gathered, the human was no longer a human by the end of it. Perhaps disoriented by his fall or fired up by the blood dripping down his face, the former human unleashed a number of expletives at his attacker, accused him of being a cheater and mentioned betrayal and other serious offenses.
Although I was quite amused by the incident, the looks on the visitors’ faces suggested that they were equally horrified and confused by what had just transpired. While the tour guide could attempt to explain Humans vs. Zombies as a fun tradition that encourages campus spirit and promotes healthy competition among the students, the angry, blood-spattered incident that had just occurred seemed to warn the tourists that many CWRU students struggle to suppress excessive rage and have a propensity to lose their grasp on reality.
If the prospective students weren’t disturbed by either of the above occurrences, there’s no doubt that they must have noticed the many students who were not participating in Humans vs. Zombies, yet who aimlessly shuffled around with a vacant look in their eyes. Their souls appeared to have been crushed by either the weather conditions, their less than stellar G.P.As, or a multitude of other personal problems.
The good news is that those students, who, after having been exposed to such an array of oddities, still decide to enroll at CWRU. They are surely dedicated, courageous individuals who will go on to achieve great things.
Theresa Smetona is a senior majoring in Spanish and English. In her free time, she likes to drink coffee and consider the possible benefits of her future unemployment.