I spend about eighty percent of my time on campus on the fifth floor of the 33 E. Congress building (possibly 85%, but I am writer, not real good with the math). The fifth floor is home to most Nonfiction graduate students (and poetry). We live here. I know that I can find who I am looking for by simply catching the elevator to the fifth floor and peeking in a cubbyhole or the adjunct office.The cubbyholes, our nickname for the four rooms on the fifth floor labeled A through D, are small rooms with glass-blue plastic sliding doors, small white circular tables, and brightly colored chairs: lime greens, oranges, and the occasional red chair. The orange chairs, we call egg chairs, are the most coveted, because they allow you to slide into the round seat, lean back and prop your feet up on the basketball topped stools (see the stool there under the table). Most of us are on campus at least twice a week for about ten hours, teaching in the morning and going to classes at night, and these days, though long, are my favorite.
The nine of us second-year Nonfiction students are a pretty close group, hanging out on weekends, after class and in the cubbyholes. I love moments in the cubbyholes when we share ideas about what we’re writing, what we’ll be submitting for workshop, how we feel about our professors, and what’s going on in our chosen field of study. These are the most candid moments, the one’s where I feel that I get to know a little bit more about my classmates.[flickr id=”6164017706″ thumbnail=”medium” overlay=”true” size=”original” group=”” align=”none”]
As a Graduate Student Instructor, you have access to the adjunct office, also located on the fifth floor, so that you can prep for class. The office is also a place where you’ll find a good amount of chatter and learn about other instructor’s in-class experiences, both new instructors and more experienced instructors. I’ve gained a lot of insider information hanging out in the office, and most of it has positively influenced and strengthened my experience in my own classroom. You also get to meet so many people in the office, have access to tons of computers and supplies, and get your very own locker or file cabinet, which is nice, so you’re not lugging around books, coats, and bags during your ten hour days.
Though not the flashiest thing to blog about, I think that it’s important to mention cubbyholes and adjunct offices, because they are the things you don’t always find out about when you first arrive on campus. I spent a lot of my time during the first month of school wondering around aimlessly, sitting in hallways or going to coffee shops just trying to pass the time. The office and cubbyholes are places where you can find a home base while on campus, and they act as a classroom of sorts, allowing for out of classroom hangouts, discussions, and sharing of ideas.