During my time at UR, I have come to experience many of the great features that campus life has to offer. Freshman Orientation — a.k.a. the week dedicated to worshiping freshmen like gods — brought an introduction to college life and tons of free merchandise. Sophomore year brought a better understanding of campus, and junior year really solidified my academic habits and scholarly pursuits. Now, as a senior, I look forward to the year-long reflection of my collegiate experience at our friendly neighborhood school.
It is with this reflection that I have gathered a few complaints from the few, the proud and the bold among the student population — and I’m not talking about the Marines! No, I’m talking about the vertically-challenged population of UR — about short people.
When I say short, I am not talking about a “slightly below average” type of short. I’m talking Oompa-Loompa, can’t-reach-the-doorknob-without-stretching type of short. The type of short where, standing at 4 feet 10 inches tall, I had to buy my own step stool to comfortably reach the cabinets in my Riverview abode. In my first year of school, I couldn’t even get into my own bed easily. They say life is full of many obstacles, but they failed to mention that when you’re short and in college, life becomes an actual obstacle course.
Take, for example, going to class. In order to even get ready for class, I have to first get out of bed. Successfully vaulting from my bed requires a solid landing technique to avoid injury and/or damage to personal possessions. If groggy from studying the night before, perfect gymnastics are not always accomplished first thing in the morning. During my freshman year, when I lived in a triple, I had to expand my ninja-like skills by accomplishing the incredible feat of springing to my floor silently, lest my two roommates be inconvenienced every morning by the symphony of a human sandbag hitting the dirty tile floor.
After that, if I wanted to get to class on time, I needed to walk much faster than my beanpole-legged counterparts to make up the difference in strides. You think the “Roaming Gnome” has it bad? Don’t even get me started about the hazards of venturing out in too-deep snow. When the school emailed everyone last year to “bring a shovel” with them due to heavy snowstorms, the only thing I could wield was a garden spade to dig myself from the mounting snowdrifts.
And then there are the stacks in Rush Rhees. Even normal people require stepladders to reach the top-shelf material. My use of a step stool brings me to normal height at best. Unless I want a librarian to follow me around whilst I look sheepish and apologetic, research in the library entails hiring a tall friend to be my professional book servant, or superior dodging skills after knocking my preferred books down. When you get to the heavier books, you risk making them all fall, thus damaging expensive property or yourself. It’s about as fun as playing Russian roulette with a bullet in every chamber.
It is likely that ladders are too much of a liability for the library to employ, but larger step stools might be a good place to start. I would try and approach the front desk to comment about it myself, but I can’t see over the counter enough to ask them.
Rochester doesn’t just have its claim of “future research scholars to-be.” UR has its future Olympians in training, and they are comprised of those of us who vault, stretch, stride and jump every day just to make ends meet. Of course my grievances won’t end upon the completion of my college career, but I present this article to those of you who tower over the height of five feet. Though these complaints I have expressed are daily inconveniences in the height-challenged population, never underestimate your short counterparts! Our members can walk through small doorways without bending over, buy clothing cheaply from the children’s section of department stores and, if ever required, fit into small spaces for expert hiding places. We are the few, the proud, the bold — we are the short population of UR!
Aldrich is a member of the class of 2012.