As a self-proclaimed Frisc expert and lover, I feel the need to justify my current location. Yes, I am in the Rock. And yes, I am enjoying myself.
When the new study space opened on the first floor of the Rock last year, complete with comfy chairs, classrooms and outlet-equipped tables, I was curious as to how its usage would impact the Frisc. For the first few weeks, the open, airy room was jam-packed and exceeded appropriate volume levels. But now, a year later, it is quiet, respectful and seemingly productive — a stark contrast to my usual haven.
In order to best explain the difference between the Frisc and the Rock study space, I would like to draw a parallel. The Frisc is to the Ratty as the Rock is to the V-dub.
Let's begin with location. The Rock and the V-dub require deliberate redirection. Both are located on the outside perimeter of campus, and unless one has a strangely located, oddly timed class, chances are — attendance requires conscious thought. With both the Ratty and the Frisc, it's hard to walk to any academic buildings on campus without being at least near to them. Entrance is often not a decision, but a gravitational pull.
The lack of thought is connected to the second key difference: intention. While the Ratty is filled with students doing homework, "food shopping" and eating oddly timed meals and snacks, the V-Dub exists solely for mealtime. Similarly, the Frisc is filled with students napping, talking on their cell phones, socializing and eating all types of meals and snacks. Maybe there is some work happening, but in the Rock room, that is the only thing happening.
An added factor is sheer availability. In both size and hours open, the distinctions are evident.
Ambiance is also key. Both the Frisc and the Ratty have a batch-processing feel to them at times, while the V-Dub and Rock appear like a real living space. The former institutions are nearly windowless (Zen gardens do not count), while natural sunlight streams into the Rock and the front of the V-Dub.
The Rock and the V-Dub have a more exclusive feel to them — smaller populations inhabit the institutions, and the users tend to have common traits. The Ratty and the Frisc, despite its scientific intentions, serve as locations of use for just about every type. As a result, every group has its own haven — social maps of both institutions could be easily drawn. Comparatively, the Rock room has a feel of togetherness. (Except that it's far more likely I would be glared at for attending to my vibrating cell phone…)
At the end of the day, the greatest comparison to be made is the reluctant love we feel for the Ratties and Friscs of the world. Empirically, the other institutions should seem more attractive. We complain that the Rock and Frisc are too loud; we gripe about the food served; we express frustration at the number of people present and yet, the title of this blog says it all — there's no place we'd rather be.