A creative contribution from Shannon Cron ‘15
St. Olaf College: 3,100 undergrads and approximately 10,000 squirrels. From on top of garbage cans, to behind trees, to the middle of the sidewalk, the St. Olaf squirrel populations pops up all over campus.
As one student eloquently noted, “Those squirrels are nuts.”
(Which is funny, because squirrels eat acorns. I don’t think a pun was intended, but I wanted to point it out anyway.)
Being the sneaky, extroverted creatures that they are, these squirrels have a tendency to stare as you approach, waiting until the last possible moment to move away — just long enough for you to become seriously concerned they won’t at all. However, there is no need to worry: they won’t actually attack you.
In fact, I’ve come to think of these small, furry animals as ever-present companions on campus. Whenever I think about about walking to class, St. Olaf’s squirrels will come to mind. Similarly, I believe they know quite a bit about St. Olaf students — just by observing them walking through the quad. Without even talking to them, I know they pick up on consistent Ole mannerisms.
Oles are always going somewhere.
Whether it’s walking from genetics class to a friend’s senior piano recital, or hockey practice to the ukulele club meeting, Oles are always on the move — bouncing from one commitment to the next. Oles not only enjoy getting involved, but in wide range of activities.
I once witnessed a theater major reciting a monologue while running. No, I’m not kidding. Not only was she practicing her lines, but she was building respiratory stamina and entertaining her teammates. What a smart multi-tasker!
Another day, I saw a football player heading to gospel choir, food shelf volunteer going to a host her radio show on KSTO, and hall council president on his way an Environmental Coalition meeting. I had a hard time picturing the lineman in a choir robe, but I’m sure he makes it work.
Not only does a broad range of interests lead to interesting conversations, or collaborative projects among students, but it makes socializing all the more exciting. It doesn’t take long to realize that your friend from Oles for Global Health knows your friend from modern dance class. The connections pop-up more often than not, which makes the St. Olaf community even stronger.
Given their busy schedules, I thought they would look stressed or unhappy, but Oles walk with a pep in their step. Oh, and they always carry their backpacks with them, in hopes of squeezing in those precious study hours (or minutes) in between everything else.
They are constantly drinking coffee.
If not, they are probably sipping on some tea, apple cider or at least carrying their empty tumbler, wishing there was a hot beverage inside.
For some Oles this may be their fourth or fifth cup of the day (or, let’s be honest, hour). Usually, they purchase all “All Day Coffee” from the cage, which allows students to pay a flat fee for unlimited coffee.
“Today I had three cups of coffee and a handful of almonds for breakfast! I’ve had spontaneous stomach pains all morning, but I’ve been so productive! I feel great!” one jittery student said.
They all show signs of caffeine dependence, but no signs of shame.
They are often singing.
Whether it’s in harmony, falsetto or slightly of tune, Oles sing with conviction, and most importantly passion.
Additionally, Oles often use song to express their emotions on the go. I know if a student is stressed, happy or feeling blue just by the type of song they sing as they walk along. It’s a great emotional release, don’t you think? If I didn’t get stage fright, I would probably join them, especially for my favorite tune: the college fight song “Um! Yah! Yah!”
They stop and chat with everyone they pass.
It’s usually between three and four people, but on a busy day an Ole can cross paths with up to fifteen friends in transit. The typical conversation goes as follows:
“Hey! Sarah! Hey!” said Camille.
“How are you? Didn’t you have that big sociology test this morning?” said Sarah.
“Yeah, it was tough, but I felt like I was well-prepared. Oh, hi, Sam!” said Camille.
“Hey Camille! How are you?” said Sam.
“Excellent! Sam, do you know Sarah?” said Camille.
“I don’t think we’ve ever met, but I think you’re on my friend Mason’s intramural soccer team.” said Sam.
Yeah, and Sarah is in St. Olaf Choir with me. Sam is going to be in the choir next year.” said Camille.
“Oh! Wow! We all have so much in common! I’m so happy we can all be friends!” said Sam.
And of course, every conversation ends with: “We should all get lunch next week!”
If you really hit it off, the following may occur:
“We should get lunch every week.”
“Yeah, we can have a weekly choir-loving, soccer-playing, new friends lunch group.”
“We could make lunch group Christmas cards!”