UConn is f*cking mid

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A view of the UConn Storrs campus. The campus is a barrage of brown buildings and continues to be crowded with fences and construction zones. Courtesy of Wikimedia

As finals rapidly approach and the semester comes to a close, I couldn’t help but long for a little reward to get me through a day of “studying” – ignoring all my work and watching “Nathan for You.” Since I’ve had enough Dairy Bar ice cream and gluten free dining hall brownies, I found myself searching for a new treat, one which may finally motivate me. I spent hours researching every confectionary in the area… kidding. 

However, my quick Google search of “bakeries near me” left me disappointed. Insomnia Cookies was the first to pop up, an establishment which, albeit delicious, offers few options outside of cookies. The next was Dunkin’, which I believe is an insult to bakeries around the world – better coffee than Starbucks, though. Next was Bagel Zone, which most students remember as a few–minutes’ drive up Storrs Road. Yet, other than moderately better-than-Price Chopper bagels and no options for vegan or lactose intolerant students, the newly relocated eatery has little to offer. 

That was it. The nearest option after those was Motta’s Pastry & Bake Shop, located 20 minutes away. 

This isn’t a rant about the lack of proper bakeries on campus, though I’ll be patiently waiting ‘til someone fulfills this niche. The food in Storrs is painfully mediocre; nonexistent fresh produce or food cooked in anything other than canola oil are just two examples of its mediocrity. Severely below-average restaurants survive for decades simply because they’re the only option. And food is just the tip of the iceberg. 

It’s a metaphor, really, for the inadequate, uninspiring, colorless aura our university emits. To put it simply: UConn is fucking mid. 

I’m not the first to say it and I sure as hell won’t be the last. Eye-sore architectural choices and a barrage of brown buildings, the once-pretty views of lakes stampeded by construction zones, scaffolding and fences, the list goes on. Campus and Storrs itself evokes little pleasure to the eye, soul or mind. Maybe it’s just me, but I struggle to believe I’m the only student who wishes campus was just a bit prettier, or the food was much better and that the stresses of college could be offset by some sort of decent quality meal or view.  

There’s something to be said about the space you inhabit – let alone for four years – and how the quality of its constituent parts effect your livelihood. When unappealing food and an ugly duckling campus is what UConn offers in response to the trials and tribulations of college that the university itself imposes – not to mention underfunded mental health services and a useless and bloated police force – the recipe for an unsustainable and unwelcoming college experience becomes more and more of a reality. Pleas for help regarding campus safety, sexual assault, the increasing financial burden that is imposed upon students each year and the abundance of other issues that plague UConn students fall upon the intentionally deaf ears of the university and its draconian, morally spineless board of trustees. 

Let this serve as my manifesto, or perhaps my own plea for help, that UConn needs to do better, and that this statement remains vague because UConn is lackluster in a general sense. It’s shameful that even a simple Google search yields a multitude of student protests and administrative blunders, and that I had to limit the number of issues I touched upon in this article as covering them all would require something reminiscent of a dissertation. Nor should it be unreasonable to ask for a dollop of sunshine in the form of decent meals, an attractive campus, a functional, half-moral administration, or for God’s sake, something more than goat yoga and therapy dogs to remedy the oftentimes life-threatening stress that is school. 

I don’t know, really, what the solution is at this point, nor do I think anybody does anymore. UConn has driven itself into a self-perpetuating cycle of student-fee-reliant expansion that it has nowhere to turn but onto its own constituents to fund its dying need to outgrow the next college, all whilst ignorant to the struggles and misery of its own student body. Rather than attempting to address current issues, the university made the executive decision – in 2014, at that – to espouse naivety and actively silence the cries of its students to prioritize growth.

I began this chaotic, incendiary column in the hopes that I could use it to air my grievances to the void, and finally be able to ease my mind after getting my thoughts on paper. After just one semester of writing, I can confidently say that ignorance is truly bliss, as the burden of knowledge has only furthered my disappointment in our university’s actions. Yet maybe there is a silver lining to all of this – get it? I’ve come to learn that we should never rely on UConn being the source of our happiness, as the more you learn about the university, the less you wish you knew. But rather than being deterred as I have for most of this semester, use this truth as the fuel for your own self-actualization. 

Despite college’s grasp on our mental health, there are ways to regain control. Meditation and other forms of mindfulness exercises are a profound way to ground oneself in simple reality as opposed to the complex institutional hellhole we all signed up to be in, even if it’s only for a few minutes. If you’re of age, indulge in the many therapeutic vices that one can legally explore – off campus, of course – while remembering that moderation is key. Not to mention, I don’t think I’ve had a more intense experience than when journaling late at night, silently screaming into my mushroom-patterned Moleskin, just as my therapist recommended – you should try this, too. 

So, as we leave for winter break to recover from our varying degrees of academic trauma, remember one thing: UConn has never, nor will it ever care. But so long as we do, our flame will always remain lit, even if it sometimes feels dim. 

With that in mind, I’m not over my dream of a proper croissant…

71 COMMENTS

  1. Valid complaints but what you didn’t mention was that UConn has a lot of hiking trails. Storrs has a ton of different hiking spots and even swimming spots that are pretty close to campus

  2. Wow. So out of touch with the basic realities and tragedies of life you found time to write to write this dribble from your sippy cup. How about an essay about how grateful, appreciative and fortunate you are to be attending college in the first place.

  3. Have you never heard of Kathy John’s?
    A veritable heaven for Hot dog lovers topped with a piccalilli relish to die for!
    Alumni since the 50’s to the present have loved it there.
    Are you so out of shape you can’t go a mile or two to get a great meal!
    Just a really piss poor article written by another entitled narcissist incapable of helping instead of rebuking!!
    I wish your entire LGBTQ and woke generation could be eliminated.
    Our world would be so much better without all your petty bullshit!!

  4. Holy crap, what happened to the comments on this article? People usually rarely comment. Anyway, I changed campuses to UConn Stamford in large part because of what the author writes about. As a somewhat older student who had been living on his own for a bit previously, I couldn’t stay on campus at Storrs any longer. I felt very isolated. Was it a weakness on my part? Sure, I’ll grant that.

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