I never rest. I rank things in my sleep. I am plagued with visions of Clickhole and Buzzfeed, listicle fairies dancing around my head incessantly. There is no cure, except to share my psyche with the rest of you. So, here it is: ranking all of the Vassar classroom buildings, part one. This is my Mockingjay. Keep in mind that these are the TOP NINE of 18 total classroom buildings. Next week comes the worst. Maybe you will see your department’s building here. Maybe you won’t. That’s the joy of these, isn’t it? The suspense.
- The Bridge
I don’t think I’ve been to a single building ever in the entire world that has the vibes of the Bridge for Laboratory Sciences. Bright, clean, air-conditioned: It is everything a girl like me could want. And I’m not even a STEM major! I walk through the Bridge almost every single day, and its calming energy wraps around me in a beautiful, eco-friendly hug. Some have levied Bridge complaints, and I will hear them: It cuts right across the Kill in a way which disrupts the natural beauty of that corner of campus. It blocks the view of some things, too. My friend says that it hums an annoying hum, but I can’t hear it, which makes me more concerned for the health of my ears than anything else. But after hearing stories of the Mudd Chemistry Building, I feel like we are living in paradise. Next time you are in the Bridge, kneel down and thank the gods for bringing you to such a perfect bastion of Liberal Arts-ism. Then try not to make too much noise, jeez; people are trying to WORK in here!
- Taylor Hall
Taylor Hall can only be described as a slay. When Taylor Hall was built however many years ago, the architects knew that one day, someone would come up with the perfect word to describe it, but that word hadn’t been invented yet. Now it has. Taylor has everything, if the only things you want are life-size replicas of old pieces of art and a giant red head staring at you ominously as you try to do your work. The best days of my pre-pandemic life were spent in the dimly-lit heaven that is the 105/106 screening room, jotting down notes at a breakneck speed while trying not to go blind from the specific angle of the weird light of the person in the row in front of me. And, sure, I’ve slipped and fallen many feet down those ramps before. But it doesn’t even matter because I know that Taylor has my best interests in mind. It’s like a mysterious castle that I get to hang out in for the low low price of tens of thousands of dollars in tuition!
- Swift Hall
Did I put Taylor and Swift next to each other for the laughs? Yes. Do I still think Swift is one of the homiest buildings on campus? Also yes! While I’ve never had a class in Swift, my exploration of the building has led me to believe that it feels like a little friendly house where you get to sit in the living room and do class. And, in the end, isn’t that all that any of us really want? It’s all of our childhood homeschool dreams come true, except that now we all kind of know what it’s like to be homeschooled, and, boy, is it not the fun time we thought it was. But its staircase is so pretty, and the two porches off to either side are where I had many a Fall-2020 dinner with my friends. It’s also set back from campus a little, and that stretch between Main and Blodgett always makes me feel safe and reminds me why people say this campus is one of the prettiest in the country (not to brag, or whatever). If you get to go to classes in Swift often, consider yourself lucky!! I hope you feel it is as home-y as I do, and I hope it doesn’t give you the same existential dread that doing homework in your real-life living room did two years ago.
- New England
The newly renovated buildings look a little too perfect. The last time I went into New England was over the summer, and I had to do some reading and needed a classroom to use. I was able to buzz into one of the lecture halls. It. Was. AWESOME. You guys get some sick views! I was tempted to take a picture, but the glare from the windows was too much. Either way, it’s lovely in there. The ceilings are high, the staircase is wide and not too steep and, of course, it’s one of the few interiors that was featured in the not-very-well-reviewed 2002 film adaptation of H.G. Wells’s “The Time Machine.” So that’s something. The basement is kind of weird, but even so it gets pretty good light. Even if the glass door is confusing and scary to me. I feel like if I get my handprints on it they are going to come and collect me and do cognitive science on me as punishment. Anyway, I hope all you New England-ers appreciate the beauty of your perfect little building. Go Pats!
In my heart, in my soul, etched into my very bones, Skinner is number one. OF COURSE! I am blinded by its Steinways and its friendly faces. When I die, they will melt me down and pour me into the piano lift of the Recital Hall—I’ve already signed the contract. But I do need to exercise some objectivity here, and facts are facts. One: Skinner has no elevator. (As a spokesperson for the Vassar College Music Department, I must admit that we are ACTIVELY WORKING ON MAKING THAT NOT THE CASE ANYMORE. But now there are just guys there all the time with their machines, and that’s not great either!) Two, somewhat related to one: the stairs. My God, the stairs. I feel like my concept of what it is like to exist on this campus is severely skewed by the fact that on any given day I am going up and down the Skinner stairs at least twice. That does some THINGS to you (your calves, my calves). Three: It’s far. Yeah, it’s true. If you’re not used to the trek, it can be a little daunting. Once you’re a seasoned pro, though, you’ll put your earbuds in, turn on some Arvo Pärt, black out and then you’ll be there before you know it. It’s all about the learning process.
- Old Observatory
One of the first ever classroom buildings on this campus, and definitely one of the prettiest! I absolutely love going up the beautiful front steps and sitting in the adorable library in the dome. It’s a little cramped, especially considering how huge our Education Department is (I think?). Mostly, it’s down this low because I can’t use it for what I really want to: Look at the STARS! I appreciate the conversion to a children’s library as the child of a children’s librarian, but I still think we should be able to use it as a little telly scope. Let me see the stars!! Blah, blah, light pollution, historical building; I don’t care. The Old Observatory makes me feel safe, but it would make me feel safer if I knew that it was being used for the original purpose it was intended for. Education students, I admire your major so much because I know I could never do it. I only wish that you could read about income inequality and learning methods in a building that could also show me all the planets.
To be honest, my film and drama friends, I never know what to call your building. Is it the CDF? Is it Vogelstein? Once I heard someone call it The Vog. I am so confused. Whatever. It’s nice in there. The stairs are weird, but they remind me of the split-level architecture of my aunt’s house, so it’s kind of nostalgic, and I don’t really mind. And it’s dark! I know it’s supposed to be dark in some parts, but not all of them. The elephant in the lobby is a comforting welcome, but the Vassar Confessions stories of people who have had sex there have tainted that for me. Plus, film majors are kind of scary by default. How do you have so much time in a day to watch a movie for every class you’re in? Sounds like you know how to time travel. But, I’ll be fair, that’s not nearly enough to bump it down so far. So if you’re really interested in why The Vog is so far down on this list, email me and I’ll give you a top-secret story about a capital-I Incident that has ruined my perception of the Martel Theater and its environs forever.
- Sanders Physics
Sanders Physics is REALLY NICE. It’s only this far down because physics. I’m mad that you guys get all the nice furniture and cute study spaces and a full kitchen that I definitely didn’t borrow a loaf pan from one time two years ago and anyway even if I did it’s probably past the statute of limitations and plus I put it back so. I did some stuff for first-year orientation in Sanders Physics, and I remember how nice the air conditioner was. Do NOT take your air conditioner for granted, folks! Maybe it’s just pure jealousy that has me placing it down this low; goodness knows the music majors don’t get a Keurig. We don’t even get a lounge. There’s a table on the fourth floor (again, no elevator), but there aren’t any chairs next to it so you just have to sit on the windowsill. It’s just a sad lamp in a corner. There I go again talking about Skinner when I should be talking about another building. Sue me. You’re smart though, physics folks. You know what you did.
You just barely made it into the top half of this list! Rocky has some things going for it: It is iconic, it is very close if you live on the quad and, of course, the Philosophy Lounge cannot be understated. It is swank in there. But I need to be honest with all of you Rocky-heads: It is simply too many stairs. How am I supposed to survive in these conditions? Also, I’ve always found it too symmetrical inside. I get confused. I’m already directionally challenged as it is; you’re telling me you could put a mirror up in the middle of the hallway and it would look exactly the same no matter which way I’m walking? That sounds like a prank to trick Madi specifically. Don’t like it. Also, I think it’s too overpopulated. Rocky is meant for watching movies with your friends at midnight in a way which may or may not be approved by campus activities, not for real classes with real stakes. You’re telling me my math class is in the dorms from “The Sex Lives of College Girls”? I won’t stand for it.