Odds Without Ends

It’s no secret that St. John’s has its fair share of problems.

Professors are upset over the library’s removal of books; rumors circulate that classroom space is rapidly depleting; rampant construction has made parking on campus far more difficult; and support for sports teams is dwindling.

But that’s not what I’m going to write about this week. No, those issues have been written about to death in the Torch, and most students and professors I know are already well aware of them.

Instead, I’m going to describe one of the most frustrating hours of my life, which occurred just a few days ago here on the Queens campus – an hour of my life that still frustrates me just thinking about it.

My story begins at 3 p.m. I ventured to the Torch office to print out a form from St. John’s Central that would open a class for me to join. Innocently enough, I clicked on the link to open the document, dragged the cursor to “file,” and confidently clicked on “print.”

What happened next still confuses me.

Only one page printed, and the entire form did not fit on the page. Why didn’t the entire form print out on a second page?

I tried to print my transcript soon after, and found that it also printed oddly. Only two pages printed, and my GPA within my major was not on either of those pages.

In the 45 minutes that followed, I desperately toyed with the options in Page Setup, but to no avail. This was a problem with the document itself – not my printer settings.

I trekked across campus to Sullivan Labs in a last-ditch effort to print out the forms correctly. My frustration only multiplied, though, when I encountered the same exact problem on every Sullivan computer I tried. Why was printing these documents from UIS so difficult?

I walked back to the residence village a broken man, eager to forget my troubles. I stepped into Montgoris for a 4:00 p.m. snack, not knowing that my hour of frustration would soon reach a new high.

While swiping in, I was informed by a Montgoris staff worker that I could not officially go in to eat. Why? Because I had eaten a meal earlier in the day at around 10:45 a.m. Apparently, meals at both 10:45 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. are considered “lunch,” and dining hall rules say that students cannot swipe in for the same meal twice in one day.

Why is this a rule at Montgoris? Does the University fear that I will waste all of my week’s meals on a Tuesday afternoon and then starve for the rest of the week? Luckily, the Montgoris employee allowed me to use a guest meal on myself, so I did not go hungry that afternoon.

In all honesty, I understand why Montgoris uses that policy – it wants to ensure that students do not let their friends swipe in with the same storm card. But don’t students have their pictures on their storm cards? I’m still confused.

So, now that I have explained that hour of frustration, you may be wondering one thing: aren’t I nitpicking? And, well, I’d have to agree; what I was just complaining about is trivial, and pales in comparison to the far more pressing concerns the University is facing.

But it’s the little things that add up, and every small bit of frustration that I, and many other students, have encountered at St. John’s detracts from the overall enjoyment of the University.

A more user-friendly St. John’s UIS (with printer-ready versions of documents) and more reasonable rules for dining meals are only the tip of the iceberg.

Having to sign in an overnight guest before a certain time is problematic; refusing to keep certain gates open at night and station public safety officers at them is equally annoying; and constant spam on our St. John’s e-mail accounts makes checking that address a chore.

Sure, these aren’t the biggest problems in the world, but, in my opinion, these moments of frustration contribute heavily to student apathy.

Luckily, the University has been preoccupied lately with hearing students’ feedback, continually inundating inboxes with online surveys. I’m sure a lot of people delete these messages right away, but here’s a suggestion: fill each one out and make every single one of your complaints heard.

Eventually, with enough support, some reasonable and helpful minor changes might be made to ease the frustration that students feel.

The big issues the University is currently facing may seem out of students’ hands, but it’s the little ones that really matter.

St. John’s is listening. It’s up to us to speak out.