The Package Line
Coming back from winter break is different from starting a new school year in several big, important ways. There are fewer new students (just a handful of transfers), and it’s only been about three weeks since the last time you lived in your dorm room (which you don’t have to move into). However, there’s another way in which the beginning of a spring semester differs from a new fall semester, one much smaller and more sinister – the package line.
Because classes begin on a Monday and most students don’t arrive at school until Saturday or Sunday, the books that everyone decided to ship to themselves at school (or have shipped to the school from Amazon or other sites) all end up at the mail station, ready to be picked up for the first day of classes. However, the package window is insidiously closed on Sundays, meaning that the first day of classes is also the first day that hundreds (or thousands) of students need to pick up packages at the same window. The employees in the Vanderbilt mail room are efficient and the pick-up process is generally pretty quick. However, because of the sheer number of people flooding the room trying to get books as early as possible, the line ends up backed up to three or four times its usual length.
I felt like I had gotten one over on Vanderbilt and its package line by not shipping anything to school. However, when I found out that my free, open-source Statistics textbook (WHY DON’T MORE PEOPLE DO THAT) could be bought in hard-copy form for $9.09, I decided the extra few dollars were worth having a textbook I could take notes in and carry around if I didn’t have my laptop. While this was an excellent example of my work ethic and commitment to academic excellence, it was also an unpleasant situation in that I was forced to wait in… the package line.
On the bright side, this line will look a lot shorter for the rest of the year!