New Student Orientation is designed to help students, both incoming freshmen and transfers, adjust to Springfield College. Yes, it’s whacky with camp songs and what not, but all and all everyone who is involved does a good job.
They spend countless hours preparing (months in advance) for the four-day event and put a lot of effort in their work.
But my one problem – and before any NSO leaders begin to ball their fists up in anger, let me finish. Not really criticizing NSO, rather using it as a segue…sorry. Back to it, my one problem with NSO is that they chose to avoid a very basic part of this school, and that’s learning how to cross a street.
Let’s not overlook this insignificant part of school. It seems easy. It actually is easy. Yet for some reason, unknown to me, almost everyone on campus cannot cross a street correctly. It’s literally almost mind-boggling.
Alden Street is not a main road in Springfield, but it’s a crucial secondary street. It connects Six Corners to Roosevelt Avenue, and Roosevelt to Wilbraham Road. Hundreds of cars use Alden Street a day, which is amazing because not many people realize it. They just treat it like a sidewalk. They just go, without looking. Doesn’t matter what’s coming at them, they just go like nothing could possibly go wrong – small car, big car, no car, bicycle, motorcycle, cars coming on both sides. Hell, a tank rolling down Alden wouldn’t stop someone from going from Babson to the Union.
I’m writing this because it’s a huge concern for me. It got so bad last year, I elected to drive around the campus on King Street. Maybe it’s just me, but I really don’t want vehicular homicide on my conscience.
Last week I made the fatal mistake of getting caught at the Wilbraham Ave/Alden Street intersection as class was getting out. The light turned green (which means go for me, not you) and as I put my foot on the accelerator a kid just casually started strolling through the crosswalk. I stopped. He stopped. He’s looking at me. I’m looking at him. Now, by some crazy string of events he gives me a look like I’m in the wrong. Like now I’m wasting his time. As I contemplated laying both hands on my horn, I thought two things. First, the sound my horn makes is incredibly embarrassing, and then I sympathized with the young man because he was clearly lost in a short crosswalk.
He’s just one of the several types of confused cross-walkers.
This young guy was the stereotypical “I’m not quite sure how crosswalks work guy”. He honestly can’t grasp the concept and truly believes that as long as he’s in the crosswalk, he’s good to go. But he isn’t the only type of terrible cross-walker.
There’s the “iPod guy.” You know, he’s the guy that constantly has headphones in and now the world is secondary to his “walking to class” or “gym time” play list. The Lil’ Wayne song blaring in his head is so enticing, and he needs to devote so much attention to it, that he can’t bear to look up for two second, to check if a Hummer is speeding down the street.
Then there’s the ever so annoying “head down, too bad guy”. The world revolves around him; we’re just blessed enough to live in it. Doesn’t matter what time of day, he’s going, and you better be prepared. But be warned. If it even looks like you almost hit him, he’ll let you know with a look or maybe even a comment under his breath. How dare your vehicle continue to move when he’s crossing the street.
Crossing the street isn’t just a problem with an individual. Groups can become pretty chaotic too. This is called the “wolf pack.” This group of kids meet up in front of Babson and begin to talk about their weekend on their way to Locklin. Next thing you know, you’re standing in the middle of the street as cars on both sides patiently, but more than likely, impatiently wait.
My personal favorite is the “two-speeder”. This is usually a freshman, but it really could be anyone. This is the person who stands on the curb and actually does do a solid job checking for cars rolling by, yet he or she (the two-speeder is not sexist) can’t quite decide when to go. They put a foot down on the street and quickly take it back because they aren’t quite sure if that car will stop.
This is my formal proposal to NSO. Please take onehour – only 60 minutes – out of the weekend and teach kids how to cross the street. It would be greatly appreciated.
For next week I’ll discuss the difficulties of ordering at Burger Studio and how it could be made easier. It’s a touch screen, you don’t need to punch it for it to work. It’s like any smartphone.
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Terrence Payne may be reached at