The Five Senses of Farrell Hall

Couple of bits of news to get out of the way up front: U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 Best Colleges Guide ranked Wake 27th among 399 national universities (same ranking as last year). We are also in the top 25 on the best undergraduate teaching and best values lists. Woo hoo! Also, we have a new Weekly Message for First Year Families on navigating the classroom here; and a new Letters So Dear here. All on-campus residents received information about mold and mildew prevention (this is not because we are experiencing a problem – this messaging gets sent out at the beginning of each semester as a reminder of good practices/help our new students understand things they should or should not do).

This past Thursday, I had a meeting in the Living Room of Farrell Hall around lunchtime – and because I got there a few minutes early, I was able to sit and observe. I bring you the first Five Senses post of the new academic year – the Five Senses of Farrell Hall.

I see…

About half of the tables (and clusters of chairs) are filled. Surprising given the hour.

Some of the students are clearly there to eat lunch.

A guy with longish-hair, maybe collarbone length. It strikes me that I am noticing his hair, and I wonder if maybe we don’t have a lot of long haired guys on campus anymore?

Several tables of what looks like group work or group projects being done. The students are in business dress, so I assume these are some of the Masters students.

A group of administrators and faculty members I know that are peppered in among the tables, sometimes eating together, sometimes meeting with students or colleagues.

Trees outside the patio waving gently in the breeze. It is a windy day.

Many students with their laptops out. A couple of them have no stickers on them whatsoever, which feels to me very counterculture to typical WFU.

A Masters student standing up – tucked a little bit away in an alcove with a group – making broad hand gestures. It looks like he is making motions to show layers of something, or tiers, and keeps pointing up to the higher level. There are a few other students clustered with him.

A student who put all their possessions on a table – including an iPad – and then walked away for a few minutes, perhaps to use the restroom or talk to someone they knew. I find myself wishing they had taken the iPad with them (my rule is, if you wouldn’t leave it unattended in Laguardia and expect it to be there when you return, you shouldn’t leave it here either). The student arrives back with items undisturbed.

A couple of girls in messy buns. I tend to associate that more with midterms and finals – or at least deeper into the semester than this. This one girl closest to me wears it well.

A student with a set of folders on their table. The folders are all colors of the rainbow. I approve of their color coding system.

A Masters student with a striking look. I see this striking student in Farrell a lot.

I hear…

One of the group project tables close to me saying “The day it happened, Amazon stock dropped like a hundred bucks. It’s insane!”

A WAH-WAH-WAH metallic beeping coming from Einstein’s – presumably a microwave buzzer going off?

Crinkling paper – a student has finished his lunch and is balling up the paper Einstein’s Bagels bag.

The three-tone sound of an iPhone getting a new message or alert.

A table of students who appear to be Chinese, speaking what I assume to be Mandarin.

The click click click of a woman’s shoes. They are not high heels per se, but have chunky wooden heels.

A table of students debating the merits of Subway vs. Einstein’s. There appears to be some dissension among the group as to whether Subway is “real bread.” It is hilarious to overhear both sides of this polite argument.

An unexpected THWACK! of a heavy book hitting the floor.

A crunching sound. Someone nearby has a nearly empty water bottle and is squeezing the bottle reflexively. (They can’t stop crunching it soon enough for my taste.)

A group project team member saying – firmly and with great conviction – “what we’re doing, is getting ____ done!” I don’t know what their team is doing, but I wish I was a part of it. This person has energy and moxie. Sign me up.

I feel…

My feet dangling a bit, as I am at a high table with a high chair (and I have short legs).

Neither warm nor cold. The temp in Farrell’s Living Room is just right. Probably because it was a perfect temperature day – 80 and overcast.

Oddly calm – probably because the place is occupied but not packed, and it is not right at a class change, so there is no sudden crush of students hurrying through.

I smell…

Toasting bagels. I love this comforting, warm, carb-loaded smell.

Every once and a while, I get the distinct scent of cinnamon in someone’s bagel.

I taste…

Diet Pepsi, thank God, Diet Pepsi. My favorite. Hello darkness, my old friend…



Hope you felt like you were right there with me!


— by Betsy Chapman ’92, MA ’94

Categories: the daily deac


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