Cornett Memories

A memory can be shared as a photograph, a story, a poem, a limerick, or a video. Do you have an entertaining memory of your undergrad years in Cornett? Are you a faculty member with a story about teaching in the Cornett?

My Cornett Home
Submitted by Glen Tickner on Sunday, December 5, 2010

1975 was my third year of university. Working hard to keep marks up, with no money or social life, I had university life down to a science of utilitarianism.

Early classes, with lots of time for studying between. Save time and keep fit by running between buildings.
Those days the MacLaurin Library stayed open until 1:00 a.m., and I was among a small cadre of regulars to close the place each night.

My otherwise perfectly practical existence had one flaw. Each night I drove across town to my parents' house, where I slept and did little more. Each morning, the drive back to
university. Thirty minutes out, thirty minutes back. Fuel. Car repairs.
The Cornett Building held most of my classes that year. Wandering its complicated corridors and stairways I had learned a secret: the Cornett had a fourth floor.

At the top of one of the stairways was an empty room with no windows. One door exited onto the roof and I guessed that the other, always locked, led to a furnace room.

My friend John had counseled that the more audacious the act, the more officious its appearance, and the less likely the intervention of authorities.

Thus it was that John and I
found ourselves climbing the stairs of the Cornett with my furniture: bed, large rug, desk and chair, and posters for the walls. When we had finished the room looked a hybrid of student residence and solitary confinement.

My Cornett accommodations proved less convenient than expected. Campus Security locked the building each night, usually by nine. I could study in myť room, but the cheerless cinderblock walls did nothing for my concentration.

Mornings better conveyed
the situation's delightful absurdity. I descended the stairs to an explosion of noise and student traffic. Toothbrush and razor in hand, I navigated to a third-floor washroom where, stripped to the waist, I performed my morning ablutions.

In the meantime, more than I realized, I was coming unglued under the pressures of my monkish existence.

A party, my first social evening of the year, and mushrooms from a
Duncan farmer's field brought matters to a head. When the administrative offices opened on Monday morning I withdrew from all courses.

Soon after I invited the blonde, blue-eyed woman of my fantasies to join me hitchhiking south. To my astonishment, she agreed. Mexico provided a new kind of education, but when we returned, just before Christmas, it wasn't as a couple.

Another two months passed before I returned to my room in the Cornett, this time to move out. Whether a testimony to the honesty of my fellow students, the labyrinthine remoteness of my fourth-floor cell, or the shabbiness of my possessions, nothing had
been touched.

My story has a postscript of sorts. There were many more classes in the Cornett, though my home was elsewhere. By the time of my final departure from the University of Victoria I had earned my first graduate degree and was father to two children.

I had found my best bed, far across town in Metchosin. The commuting was short and the coursework was easy.

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