En route to campus

I loved the recent Chronicle of Higher Education article The World Beyond MapQuest in which Regina Robbins Flynn, assistant professor of English at Salem State College, begins with this illustration.

My older daughter was traveling back to grad school with her car last January, and we had MapQuested her trip from our home in Massachusetts to Pittsburgh, a journey of more than 600 miles, or 10 hours and 20 minutes without stops.

And you’ve probably already guessed that Flynn’s daughter gets lost.  Turns out that she goes astray not far from where I live in South Central PA.  Would you believe that Flynn teaches a spring semester travel writing course — nice transition ;-)

Each of the students has to take a trip during spring break and write a long travel essay as his or her final assignment. Some of the kids take the college-sponsored trips, others concoct their own.

The stories from her class abound.  How about you?  Do you have memorable travel stories of first finding your way to a new campus or conference?  On what do you depend for directions?  Is it only the older generation which use paper road maps?

As one who visits a number of campuses for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, I have quite a few wrong turns to report.  But for me two items particularly come to mind regarding my campus travels through the years:

  1. How much stuff I packed into the car as a first year student. … AND my collection of books has only continued to go with each subsequent move!
  2. The challenge of campus parking.   A few weeks ago, I visited a campus where my typical visitor parking location was under construction.  I circled the block and parked in an unmarked lot which appeared to be open to visitors.  No ticket, good news ;-)  Not sure if I’ll use that lot again.  I’ll have to ask again.
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Tom Grosh IV

Enjoys daily conversations regarding living out the Biblical Story with his wife Theresa, four girls, around the block, at Elizabethtown Brethren in Christ Church (where he hosts the Christian Scholar Series), on campus as part of InterVarsity Graduate & Faculty Ministry (serving fellowships such as the Christian Medical Society/CMDA at Penn State College of Medicine), online as the Associate Director of the Emerging Scholars Network, in the culture at large, and in God's creation.

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2 Comments

  • emergingscholars-p@venables-r.us'
    Peter V commented on August 14, 2009 Reply

    I drove all the way across the country for grad school with a U-haul trailer behind my car holding all my worldly goods. I had a friend along to share the 40 hours of driving. When we arrived in Oakland (university district of Pittsburgh) there was only parallel parking, so I kept driving. About 2 miles away I found a street where I could park my car and trailer, and walked back to find the friend on whose couch I’d spend the next few weeks until I could get an apartment, a friend I didn’t know yet but who had been introduced via an Intervarsity connection.

  • kle.seaton@gmail.com'
    Kelly commented on August 14, 2009 Reply

    Fortunately I have been blessed with a good sense of direction, and an internal compass. Comes in handy! I usually rely on Mapquest/Google maps to get me most of the way there, and then a paper map to fine tune exactly how to get to the building.

    I think the hardest campus experience I have had was driving in to UPenn and parking, then trying to find a specific building. The hospital there is INSANELY complicated to figure out, and I felt like I was in a labyrinth. So a word of warning to anyone going through UPenn hospital :)

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