New specimens

By Jan Creaser

Thump! Thump! Thump!

"Hello, and welcome to this week’s edition of Wild University. Dr.
Brain and I are currently making our way through the University of Calgary
Fees Office on an excursion to view an annual phenomenon here on campus.
A little history, Dr. Brain?"

"Thank you, Professor. The particular migration pattern we are witnessing
today is the beginning of the Fall Swarming. It starts slowly with a trickle
of students back on to the campus where they start forming lines in a ritualistic
manner that appears to be genetically instinctive."

Thump! Thump! Thump!

"Fascinating, Dr. Brain. With classes only a week away, the Swarming
is slowly taking shape. The gentle thumping of the Fees assistants’ rubber
stamps is a familiar, yet agonizing sound for students who are already frustrated
from waiting in line for too long. Not only are they about to have their
hard-earned savings wiped out, there is only the prospect of more lineups
and economic devastation as they move in droves toward the bookstore."

"Quite right, Professor. And not to mention the physical drain the
bookstore puts on the average student. Let’s face it, unless one is an unusually
fit specimen from the Physical Education Tribe, one can expect strained
arm muscles and a sore back from lugging over-sized, over-priced textbooks
around the aisles and then being forced to hold them for an ice age until
a checkout clerk is available. Difficult for all involved, really."

Giggles and chatter erupt from a group of young students as they pass
the wu crew.

"Folks, dramatic events are unfolding even as we speak. Over the
past few weeks, students have been stealthily creeping back onto campus
to try and avoid the worst of the Fall Swarming. Once upon a time, the week
before classes officially started was an optimum time to perform these horrifying
administrative tasks with the least amount of suVering. However, with the
advent of a new tribal migration pattern this year, these students will
now Þnd themselves in a new type of lineup limbo that will test their
mettle and resolve. Some will crumble, some will persevere and others will
flock habitually to the local watering hole for consolation. What is this
new beast that has the campus writhing before classes even begin? U of C
101: The Introduction. Dr. Brain, your views on this new and potentially
terrifying occurance?"

"Well, Professor, it’s like this: Thousands of young, new students
will be swarming the campus in an effort to become more informed with their
new habitat. It is trying for the older, wiser inhabitants who suddenly
find all of their secret ways of beating the system have been usurped by
one massive, organized gathering of this new tribe a whole week sooner than
expected! There’s bound to be choas and aggravation. Not to mention the
fact that some senior students have defected in order to ensure the success
of this new migration pattern and help protect the new students from being
trampled in the Swarming. My only suggestion for the survival of seniors
is to file the new migration details away for next year and start pre-class
rituals sooner. Personally, I think the faculty is bound to be cursed more
often than normal for initiating this trend in student migration-at least
in its early stages."

"So there you have it. You have been witness to a completely new
evolution of migratory patterns in the U of C student population. As for
the changes this brings to the annual Fall Swarming, only time will sort
out the bugs as the older students change habits in accordance with a new
way of life. In reality, though, the Fall Swarming is, in essence, the same
large-scale event it has always been. I mirror Dr. Brain’s sentiments when
I say: Start early! On a side note, this observer can hardly wait to document
the other impressive student migration pattern: the Spring Scatter. Good
night, good luck and be glad you are safely removed from this migration

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