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East Halls Construction: A Freshman’s Worst Nightmare

bigler curtin renovations

Picture this: It’s January 10, 2022, and you just got back to State College following a restful winter break. Of course, the adrenaline is pumping and your heart is racing because it’s the first day of the spring semester, and you can’t wait to get things started.

As you head to your first class of the day, you notice the glaring blue borders blocking off Bigler and Curtin Halls, along with the sidewalks surrounding them. The renovations have started. Whatever. I pay no mind to it and walk around it, taking a different route to class. It’s no big deal…yet.

You see, I’ve come to hate the fact that Penn State decided that winter was the optimal time to start renovating these two buildings. Why not summer? When it was nice and hot out, I doubt any freshman student would have fixated on what route to class would be the quickest, easiest, and safest.

If the university had renovated these two buildings during the summer and fall semesters, it would’ve been optimal. So why now, when temperatures are dropping below freezing and the buses are packed to the brim, does it seem like a good time to renovate?

My disdain for the renovations has built up gradually. Granted, there are instances where I am to blame, but it doesn’t take away from the inconvenience they have caused. There are days when I miss the bus or am late and need to walk around the detours instead of being able to take the shortcut through Bigler and Curtin that I’ve grown accustomed to. It’s not just me that feels this way, either.

From different conversations with other freshmen in East Halls, I’ve realized that I am not alone in my frustration. Most, if not all of us, have found ourselves accustomed to our regular routes. Now, this subtle but sudden change has proven to be a bigger obstacle than expected. In temperatures like these, an extra three or four minutes feels like the end of the world as we know it.

Time isn’t the only thing affected, however. One of the only entrances to Bigler Road from East Halls is now a steep slope, which raises safety concerns every time it snows or ices over. Countless times, I have almost fallen down there late at night because of how slippery it gets and how dark it really is. Likewise, I’ve seen other people almost slip and fall in the same way. How is this safe?

If I don’t want to take this entrance, I need to go all the way down Bigler Road and enter from near Pinchot Hall, which is more time-consuming, especially when I’m in a rush. I could also take the entrance near the bus stop on Curtin Road, which also involves a lot more walking.

Although it might seem small, you need to remember how easy it is to get frustrated when you’re in a bind. When I’m running out of time and feel like the world is against me, all I feel is immense anger and stress, so small things like having to walk an alternative throws me off enough to where it feels like I’m about to lose my mind.

It’s one of those things that is so minuscule that it surprises me when I get mad about it. Sometimes, I’ll stand up on my tippy toes and look past the blue borders to remind myself of what I took for granted back in the summertime.

I miss you, Bigler and Curtin shortcut. I hope to see you once again soon.

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About the Author

Vikram Raj

Vikram, who goes by Vik, is a sophomore from Rockland County, NY. He is majoring in Psychology and Business (for now) and is a writer for Onward State. Most days, you can find Vik partying a bit too hard, or spending a bit too much — unless you're his parents, then you can find him studying avidly. 24/7. He promises.

Send your compliments to @vikkraj over Instagram and your complaints to over email.

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