With winter break over and a new semester beginning, many of us are returning to UMass Boston’s lovely campus. It’s occurred to me that for some Beacons out there, this may be your first semester. First things first, welcome aboard! Going into college can certainly be rough, and that’s why I’ve decided to do all you newcomers a favor by taking you on a tour of the campus. So put on your boots, grab your fedora and print out a paper cut-out of Harrison Ford’s face that you can plaster over your own face because we’re going on the adventure of a lifetime! You can thank me later.

In order for this tour to be enjoyed to the fullest, make sure that you start in front of Campus Center on the side with the buses. Take a moment to look out at the ocean and breath in that fresh, salty air. Pretty nice, huh? All right, playtime is over. Let’s head inside.

The building that you’re standing in now is called Campus Center. It’s pretty much the central hub of the whole school. It’s like the beating heart that keeps all the organs running smoothly. Similarly to a heart, it has everything that a student needs to stay healthy and strong like a Dunkin' in the basement, a game room in the basement and a high-end campus bookstore also in the basement. You may be wondering what’s on the other floors. Honestly, not much other than a bunch of offices and places to sit and stand, but there is one cool thing. Why don’t you ascend the nearest flight of stairs and have a look for yourself. 

If donuts and breakfast sandwiches don’t tickle your fancy, luckily for you, there’s a food court on the first floor stuffed to the brim with options fit for any averagely hungry college student. Whenever you pass by, make sure you go in and grab yourself a slice of Sal’s Pizza, the official pizza of the Boston Red Sox. This is a rule, and it will be enforced. I’m just kidding, but I strongly suggest that you go in and get a slice. While you’re at it, could you grab me one too? Oh, and a bottle of Coke if you don’t mind. I’ll pay you back later.  

Now that we’ve seen all the good stuff here, it’s time to head into a new building. Go up the stairs to the second floor and toward the catwalk. There was once a time where many cats walked this land. Now, this one exists all by its lonesome—a relic from a forgotten age, a testament to a bygone era. As you move through, pay attention to how the concept of time seems to lose its grip on you. We are moving into a treacherous realm; we are entering Wheatley Hall. 

If Campus Center is the heart of the school, Wheatley is the decaying liver that’s lived a long life working overtime. Whenever you have to come in here—which will probably be often—I suggest keeping a hand on a wall so as to not get disoriented, and to leave some sort of trail in your wake so you can retrace your steps if needed. The last thing you want is to be trapped here for eternity, but you seem smart, I’m sure you’ll be fine.

Word to the wise, if you happen to stumble upon a strange staircase leading deep underground that’s littered with Coke cans: Do not proceed! Actually, why don’t you take out that bottle of Coke you bought me earlier and place it on the ground. This is a handy little trick to guarantee safe passage. Now that that’s settled, head down the stairs and exit the building into the courtyard, next up is McCormack. 

There really isn’t much to say about McCormack—it’s just sort of average. There’s a fitness center if you like that kind of thing, and there’s a glass cabinet full of rocks on the second floor if you’re in the mood. With that out of the way, let’s blow this popsicle stand. Going out the front doors you’ll be face to face with the construction zone and the path that leads to Quinn. Depending on the length of your stride, the walk could take anywhere between one and 257 steps. 

Once in Quinn, you’ll find a crossroads of sorts. If you’re feeling like a fancy-pants, the Integrated Science Center might be up your alley. However, I have no intention of taking us there so why don’t you take the nearest flight of stairs up to the second floor. Next in line is the Healey Library. 

The Healey Library is obviously the brain of the university. It’s chock full of old books, cobwebs and phallic imagery covering its many walls. If these walls could talk, they would probably try to, but instead just cough up a mixture of dust and blood. That being said, go on up to the eighth floor by either taking an elevator or the stairs. I don’t really care which one you choose; however, if you take the stairs you’ll see more phallic imagery. 

The eighth floor is probably the best floor of Healey as there’s no noise restrictions. You can scream as loud as you want. Seriously, give it a try! Did you do it? Geez, I was only joking around. You probably just got a lot of dirty looks, huh? Consider this a lesson learned: Just because you can do something, it doesn’t always mean you should. 

Speaking of lessons, I’ve got one more for you, and it will probably be the single most important thing you ever learn at this university. The higher you climb, the better bathrooms you find. If you use some of those lower-level bathrooms, you’re going to be in for a rough time. So, if it’s privacy and cleanliness you want, you have to go up. The eighth floor of Healey is pretty okay but I recommend checking for cockroaches under the toilet before you sit. 

Well, I’m sure that pizza from Sal’s is starting to burn a hole in your stomach so I figure this is a good place to say our goodbyes. I’m sure that most of you reading this didn’t even bother to do the tour, but for those of you who did and are currently standing in front of the bathrooms on the eighth floor of Healey, I’m proud of you. You’ve faced the treacherous trials of UMass Boston, and while I’ve shown you far from everything—neither of us have time for that—you’ve taken your first steps in becoming a master navigator of this here school.

To recap: Always eat at Sal’s, Wheatley is a dangerous place that should be traversed with great care and McCormack has treadmills and rocks. Most importantly, the higher you stoop, the better you poop. With that, my friends, I bid you adieu.

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