By Margo Schiffman
I walked outside on a dreary Sunday afternoon. It had been raining off and on since Friday. I could tell this by how heavy and thick the air felt. I walked down the sidewalk a bit till I got to the end of my street. I stepped on some grass and could feel how drenched the ground was. My gray shoes now had a slight brown tint from the muddy ground.
I kept walking down Blossom St heading towards the Earth Fare. The ground was covered in wet leaves that had fallen from the trees during the rain. I heard a loud car engine go by me as a car drove too fast on a neighborhood street. I spotted a lady walking her small white dog across the street. The dog kept trying to stop. I could see the frustration grow on the lady’s face.
A peak of sunlight came through the clouds as I turned down Chatham Avenue. The sun felt nice since it seemed like it had been days since I had seen it. I spotted the Earth Fare that was packed with people. There had been a big sale that made it even worse than usual for a Sunday. I walked in the Earth Fare and was greeted with a smell of breads and fresh foods. The lines were filled with people carrying their groceries for the week. I went straight to the hot food section that was filled with colorful foods from all types of cuisines. I skipped most of those and just grabbed myself a cup of warm tomato soup.
I got in the long line and patiently waited for my turn. When I finally got to pay, the cashier exclaimed about how busy they had been and even more so for a Sunday. I told him good luck and began to walk outside to start my journey home. I decided to walk on Devine for a bit. Devine Street was filled with cars. The sound never stopped of cars rushing by me as I walked. Most were trying to find spots at the several restaurants on the street. I finally saw the crooked sign that read Amherst Avenue.
I turned onto my street and could see the pale grey house that I have been in for 3 years now. The sky was even grayer than when I left. I felt a small raindrop hit my shoulder as I walked up my leaf covered driveway. I opened the door of my house and just knew that I would stay in for the rest of the day.
Schiffman is a Public Relations senior
By Grant Hensley
I chose to do this “five senses” assignment while sitting at a bench on the Horseshoe. I’ll start with the senses of taste and feel because that is what first came to mind during my experience. When I came out to the Horseshoe I picked up a copy of the Daily Gamecock and brought my sweet tea from Chick-fil-a to accompany me out for a trip, which I chose to make longer than just the 8-10 minute requirement due to the fact that this assignment was a lot more peaceful than I originally planned it to be.
Once in place I savored every single sip of my “sweet” tea as Chick-fil-a always tends to over fill the cup with ice and tried to soak up everything around me. I was expecting to hear a wide variety of nature sounds, as I don’t usually do something like this, but on a Thursday at 12 noon, the majority of the sound was students in a rush to get to class.
However, in between the sips and the bustle of college students, you could hear all the birds chirping, squirrels running around eating the acorns falling from the trees, which I also noticed would bury some of the acorns I guess to save for later. Anyway, as time rolled on I realized how many different personality people used these grounds. At one point I saw a girl hoola hooping, a guy doing gymnastics flips, and a family enjoying lunch all surrounding the Maxcy Monument in the center of this historic area.
After 20 minutes taking in the Horseshoe I decided to depart only to realize that I never even picked up the newspaper once because I was so interested in the wide variety of things that were going on around me. So to summarize this whole experience, I would say that I learned more about people and the things that I miss around me by just coasting through life rather than being more present from what is going on everywhere I venture.
Hensley is a senior public relations major
By Rashaan Anderson
January 18th was an unusual day, in terms of weather, for South Carolina. Instead of it being cold and windy, it was actually hot enough to get side eye looks from people walking by if I wore a jacket. After coming home from campus, I decided to go to the Lake Murray Dam and enjoy the beautiful weather.
As I pulled up to the parking lot, the first thing I noticed was how many cars and people were at the Dam this particular day. I pass by the Dam on a regular basis and here is what I notice: if the weather is under 70 degrees, you hardly see people walking. But on this unusual day, it seemed as if the entire town of Irmo was walking. As I am walking, I keeping looking out at the sun shimmering off of the beautiful blue water, the speed boat passing by and the clear blue sky.
The sounds of cars passing by, with the radio cranked as high as it can possible go, usually dominate over the sound of the water crashing against the rocks. But as I mentioned, this was an unusual day. The sound and smell of the water was clear, as if I was standing on the edge. The farther I walked away from my car, which was a mile and a half away, the stronger the smell of the water became.
The hardest sense I had to tap into was the sense of taste. I was chewing on two pieces of spearmint gum during my walk to help control my breathing. At one point during my walk, I thought i tasted a hamburger. I am not sure if this was because I was hungry and was imagining these two pieces of gum as a burger or my mind was playing a trick on me.
Even as the sun was out of my view, I still felt rather warm as I was nearing my car. There was a slight breeze throughout my walk, which felt perfect because I was sweating. When I got back to my car, I sat down and felt my feet aching. It has been 6 months since I have walked the Dam and it all seemed to hit me at once. I looked up at the sky and I felt a sense of peace that I have not felt in awhile. It seemed as if I had walked all of my problems away in a span of an hour.
Anderson is a broadcast major senior
By Mackenzie Ryan
The clock strikes 10:15. I fold away my notebook and pack my pen in its designated pouch. Sliding them both carefully into my backpack before picking it up and swiftly onto my shoulders. In a matter of seconds, I am up from my small creaky desk and out of the door. A quick left and I hit the stairs, winding down farther and farther until I turn the last corner and I’m greeted with the red dull glow of an exit sign. Here lies my freedom, at least for 45 minutes.
The sunlight hits my face first. In true South Carolina fashion, it’s just warm enough for a t-shirt in the middle of January. By now my pace has slowed right along with my mind. Looking down at my feet, my view quickly changes from concrete to rust colored bricks placed ever so meticulously years before my feet ever touched the earth. I’m too busy fumbling with my tangled headphones to notice I’ve managed to make my way onto the Horseshoe.
After what seems like forever, I force the cord into its slot and slowly the music begins. A few punches of the volume button and I’m lost in a melody. Step by step, I make my way through the leafless trees as they sway gracefully in the wind to the tune playing in my head. Physically I am here. Mentally, well that is a whole other ball game. Even in winter the beauty of the Horseshoe enthralls me, drawing my attention in day after day. Something about a slow harmony in combination with nature stops the world, even if it’s only for 45 minutes.
Ryan is a Senior, Public Relations major
By Morgan Dixon
As I set out on a walk to the park near my house, I can already hear the screams of the children and the dogs barking at the park. I open the door to my house and the door knob is starting to rust a little. I remind myself to let my landlord know next time I talk to them about that. As I shut the door behind me, the wind chimes knock against one another creating a loud bang to mark my exit from the house. There is wind blowing briskly and my hair blows in the wind. It is a beautiful day outside and warmer than a regular January day, which makes it a perfect day for a walk. My first sights outside are what they have been for the past two months, construction workers and machinery. I wave a quick hello as walk down the side walk towards the park. As soon as I clear the annoying construction work directly outside my house, the walk is already better than before. An orange cat crosses my path and stops to stare at me as I continue my walk to the park.
I turn the corner and can see the entrance of the park already. I slow down and touch the leaves on the trees around, taking in all the sights and sounds. I know that the park will be busier than usual today because of the great weather we have been having. As soon as I get to the park and my feet touch the grass, I am already way more relaxed. There are children and parents running around, playing all sorts of games. Then further past that, there are dogs running after one another in the dog friendly area of the park. All I want to do is pet every single dog, but I stop myself. I take a seat on the bench to observe what is going on around the park. So many families playing and enjoying themselves, just like me, on this beautiful January day. After a little while at the park, I decide it is time to head home so I push myself up off the concrete bench I was sitting on and make my way back to my house.
Dixon is a public relations senior
By Lindsay Alshefski
As she walks down the side of the busy road, she is surrounded by other people rushing to get things done. The walk for her is to de-stress from the day’s events, which consist of her job, class, schoolwork and attempting to have a social life in the midst of all her tasks. She’s walking to the kickboxing gym 10 minutes from her apartment for some exercise and mindless activity.
Surrounding her are other students and nonstudents walking and driving to their own daily responsibilities. While she walks, she realizes she is alone in her thoughts while the world bustles next to her on the busy road. She doesn’t know where these people are going or why, what has happened to them today, what they are stressed about or anything else going on in their minds. All she cares about right now is her next 45 minutes of free time to kickbox out the frustrations from the week.
The cars bustle by her whizzing, honking, skidding, stopping and going. Music blasts from car speakers. The other people walking by are laughing and discussing. All she hears is the music in her ears coming from the headphones connected to her iPhone she is holding. Her Spotify “chillin’” playlist is on with the song “Be Okay” by Oh Honey: “Can’t complain about much these days. I believe we’ll be O.K.” The words are a reminder to breathe. The world seems so complicated at 22 years old, but really it’s just the beginning of complications.
On the walk the air smells damp and feels moist from the morning rainfall. The clouds are overcast and gray as the leaves drip onto the sidewalk. It’s not raining anymore, but her raincoat is tight around her body to keep out any moisture. She chews on her spearmint Orbit gum for a fresh taste before exerting her body and increasing her heart rate because the taste of lunch while working out is the worst.
It’s Friday and the week’s stresses are almost over. She’s ready to enjoy herself before Sunday comes and next week’s tasks begin. She feels a sense of relief as she is reminded that after this workout, it’s finally her time to let a little loose.
It seems like just seconds passed by the time she arrives at the gym, lost in her thoughts and music. She clicks her Spotify playlist off and puts her phone in her gym bag. The doors open and her three friends are standing there smiling and waiting for her to join them in the kickboxing session. Suddenly she is reminded it’s really all going to be O.K.
Alshefski is a senior public relations major
By Maggie Persons
My walk through Five Points this past weekend can only be described as a one-of-a-kind experience. I’ve spent my fair share of time down in Five Points but I had never really paid attention to all that was going on around me. It took a while to convince a friend to soberly stroll through Five Points at 11:45 p.m. on a Thursday but it is completely worth it. It is a surprisingly nice night out, I feel comfortable in leggings and a long sleeve t-shirt.
Our walk begins at Salty Nut where a line is beginning to form outside. We continue down the sidewalk and see girls in 5-inch heels struggling to walk down the hill to Pavs, which is completely packed and playing music unnecessarily loud. As we descend farther into Five Points we began to notice how crowded the place is. Almost every bar had a line of at least 30 people all struggling to somehow fight their way to the front.
I see a camera crew made up of students interviewing other students about their experiences in Five Points. Our walk continues past the fountain where the smell of Mexican food suddenly hits our noses. There is a small taco stand shortly ahead of us, operated by two men who give out free tacos if you put on a taco suit and dance. We witness a girl in the taco suit twirling around, while her friend is laughing hysterically filming her.
We walk past Cover 3 and Bird Dog where the lines are absurd and it reeks of cigarettes and vomit. The sidewalk is so crowded we are forced to walk along the edge of the street. I try not to touch anything or anyone, but I get bumped into a few times by people who have had a little too much to drink.
As we wait to cross the street to start our return walk home we hear a boyfriend and girlfriend arguing about something one of them did to upset the other. A girl is being carried by her friends into an Uber across the street from us. As the light changes, what seems like a hundred people begin crossing in every direction.
We make our way past Horseshoe, an almost completely freshmen bar and begin to smell the greasy hibachi that is Grilled Teriyaki. Just the smell of that food brings a wave of nausea to my stomach; I’ve never been a fan of it. As we make our way back up the hill past Salty Nut and Pavs I feel somewhat exhausted. I cannot wait to return home, get in bed and watch some Netflix.
Persons is a senior public relations major
By Alana Bremner
My clunky rain boots weigh down my feet as I walk down my porch stairs and onto the sidewalk. It’s time to start paying attention. What do I see? What do I hear? What do I taste? What do I feel? What do I touch?
I see gray. I hear the rain patting on the hood of my jacket, and I put my hands in my pockets to keep them dry. I touch the inside of my jacket pockets, and it feels soft. I feel bad that my mom bought me such an expensive rain jacket for Christmas. What I smell is familiar, but I don’t know how to describe it. It’s the smell that comes from cold rain hitting hot pavement. I hear the wind ruffling the leaves that are left on the trees.
I see the house across the street. It feels familiar because it looks just like mine. I hear the chain of the husky that is sometimes left outside, but I don’t see the dog. I have a bad taste in my mouth for the owner of that dog. Who owns a husky in a state this hot? Who leaves a dog outside in the rain? As I move on from the house, the husky scurries out from the side yard before the chain doesn’t allow it to go any further. I still have the bad taste in my mouth.
I see a BMW with a personalized license plate parked in a driveway. The house that the driveway belongs to is immaculately kempt. The front door is painted a rich blue, and the wood that surrounds it looks like it was just polished. I have a feeling that college kids don’t live in this house. I finally take one hand out of my pocket to touch the shrub closest to the sidewalk. Drops of water slide off the smooth leaves. I hear a door open and then slam, but I can’t tell which house the sound came from.
On the street parallel to mine, I don’t see anything familiar. The street is not lined with brick duplexes. Plastic cups and beer cans don’t litter front lawns. Sorority stickers are not plastered onto cars. Stir-crazy pets aren’t excitedly pressed up to the windows. I start to feel nostalgic for my own street.
Bremner is a senior studying public relations
By Corinne Doll
It is only late afternoon, but my room is dark. The rain is pounding against my window — quite like the pounding I feel in my head — and it seems to be getting louder. It’s almost as loud as the tenants above me who are singing off key to 80’s rock music with their fellow fraternity brothers. If only I had the strength to make my way upstairs to ask them to quiet down. Alas, I do not.
My body aches as I cough up air; the dryness inside me contradicting the downpour beyond my window. As I reach for the water on my nightstand, my phone rings. I ignore it. The thought of pushing words out of my mouth, straining my already aching throat, makes me shiver. Yet, maybe it was not the thought that made me shiver, but the fact that I was now sweating in a 69 degree room. I can feel beads forming on my shins, nose and neck. My hair is sticking to me the way it usually sticks to the walls of my shower. Maybe that’s what I need — a shower.
I crawl out of bed to the sound of rain and the inspirational rendition of 1984 hit “We’re Not Gonna Take It” being performed above me. The bathroom floor is cold on my feet, so I climb over the bathtub walls and turn on the warm water that flows from the shower head above. I close my eyes and let the stream envelop me. This is where my world goes silent.
Doll is a public relations senior
By Kelli Caldwell
Even though it’s January I was hit with a heat wave of 75 degrees as soon as I stepped out of my apartment. Most of the trees are dead from the cold temperatures that were just a few days ago but some had green leaves blowing in the wind. I decided I wanted to cut through the Horseshoe on such a pretty day when I started walking behind a girl with a neon orange backpack with a Tri-Delta pin on it. The color of the book bag made me smile because it reminded me of summer time. As I climbed the business school steps I heard different conversations among students about classes and what they were going to eat for lunch. Between the business school and the coliseum building it resembles a wind tunnel even when there’s only a little wind. Today I happened to wear my hair down and the wind took full advantage of the opportunity to turn my hair into a knotted mess. I could tell other girls were experiencing this problem and even some of the guys.
Walking up the law school steps I had to use the railing to help myself up but then quickly took my hand away because I thought of all the germs that were resting on it. I noticed from the time it took me to get to the Horseshoe most people were either looking down or on their phones. This made me sad because of how tired and unhappy everyone either coming from or going to class looked on such a beautiful day. The occasional happiness I saw was when people were talking on the phone with someone and smiled to what was said to them. The other occasional happiness is when someone would recognize another person and yell a funny nickname across the street. Those calls got a few strangers to smile.
After hearing only the sounds of people’s steps and cars driving by, arriving at the Horseshoe was a relief to see people actually enjoying the weather. Some people had blankets spread out and were enjoying a good book while others were throwing a ball to their dogs. I realized I still had some time before my class started so I decided to sit on a bench and enjoy some of the weather. The bench was nice and warm from the sun and I could even smell someone’s freshly brewed coffee as he walked by me. The laughter and casual conversations going on was a nice way to break up my long walk to class. This walk reminded me that I should enjoy this beautiful campus more often by paying attention to the people and environment around me.
Caldwell is a public relations junior