It’s just the same on the South Side (Forum)

Jeremy Gordon

Tuesday Column

Oh, University of Chicago. The place where “fun goes to die,” as I’m sure many people have heard before. Everyone I know at Northwestern either toured there and decided it wasn’t for them, or didn’t even bother applying because they thought it was too stuck-up, lame or what have you. But guess what?It ain’t that bad of a place.Breathe in and accept that it might be true, like the possibility of the Cubs winning the World Series this year. Last weekend I visited one of my friends from high school there, much to the horror of some of my NU friends who thought I was throwing my weekend away. But I didn’t pay attention to them, packed my bags, and took the long ride to the South Side.My first impression was that the school is actually really nice. There are some beautiful buildings there, designed by architects such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright. My friend’s dorm was clean, nice, had a tolerable color scheme (here’s looking at you, piss yellow in Bobb Hall’s third floor) and didn’t have any of that community bathroom crap. And the shuttles were actually on time, a concept so alien that it blew my mind.It also became obvious that like at any school, fun can be found in the right places. Sure, there were people staying in to study, but there were theater shows, apartment parties and sponsored fraternity parties aplenty. If my friend and I hadn’t been interested in any of that, there was always just hanging around in his dorm. Sound familiar? It’s exactly what’s available on weekends at NU. I ended up going to an apartment that was crowded, hot and felt just like a NU party. It shouldn’t have been that surprising to find out that even where joy jumps off the balcony there’s a typical college scene, not a cultural vacuum.Honestly, it didn’t seem that different from NU. There’s less emphasis on sports and Greek culture (which may be a plus for some people), but it exists. There are lots of nerds there (I joked to my roommate that I should probably bring my calculator along, just in case), but there are lots of nerds here as well. It’s totally understandable that a rivalry exists because we’re the two premier schools in the Midwest. Still, it shouldn’t be a bitter one. I mean, the schools almost merged during the Great Depression. Do you think the students made fun of each other back then?As I was leaving to go back to Evanston, one of my U. Chicago friends said, “I guess you had fun, even though it’s supposed to be dead here.”I responded, “Yeah, but only because I brought it from NU.” She then asked me how much spray paint it would take to vandalize The Rock, to which I responded by saying I’d be ready to fight her off if she did. There’s a lot we can learn from being friends with the University of Chicago, but until that happens, I guess we still have to keep our guard up.

Medill sophomore Jeremy Gordon can be reached [email protected]