Right from move-in day, I wanted to find my place on campus. No, I wasn’t searching for my meaningful contribution to Loyola — although that would be a nice find — I just wanted my own perfect nap spot.
After the COVID-19 pandemic threw in-person learning to the wind for more than a year, an unprecedented number of students are only now getting comfortable on campus. In a new column, different A&E writers will share a spot on Loyola’s campuses close to their heart — whether it’s a favorite place to study, cry or both.
Like most college students, I can never seem to get enough sleep. Narrowing down a reason doesn’t seem worth my time — it could be anything from stress to diet to whatever constant blue light exposure does to my sleep patterns. In short, I’m tired a lot.
The move to in-person learning compounded this issue. My bed in Francis Hall is a bit of a hike from most of my classes, so naps seemed out of the question during my first week. By the time I walked over, waited for the one working elevator and got cozy on my mattress pad-less bed, it was time to head out again.
For a time, I tried to go without a mid-morning nap. Soon, though, I began to experience a forgotten feeling, one from a time before Zoom. I felt as if my head had turned into bricks and their weight was drawing me downwards toward the hard, wooden desk. My drowsiness made it seem like mid-lecture desk-collision wasn’t such a bad idea. Blinking myself awake, I knew I needed an alternative.
I found it one sunny September morning. Halfway between Mundelein and Sullivan, a fork in the path gives you two choices: go right and walk to Sullivan (and aimlessly wander until your 10:50 a.m. class) or go left. I checked the time on my phone and decided figuring out how to waste 20 minutes was outside of my abilities. I turned left.
There, I found a lovely lawn nestled between a line of bushes and white-bricked Piper Hall. Ahead of me was the lake — barely visible behind a tall altar of Mother Mary — but its crashing waves were audible enough. The sun warmed the patch of grass, which I noticed was shaped like a crescent moon.
I set myself down, positioned my bag as a makeshift pillow and began my power nap on the moon. Fifteen minutes later, a timer I set went off — I was tired, not irresponsible — and I decided to make it an every-other-day ritual.
This special spot has everything a sleep-deprived college student could want: you can take your pick from shady and sunny spots, and better yet, as the first days of wild, autumn winds roll in, the clearing’s surrounding trees and bushes let in nothing but a gentle breeze.
Thanks to this breeze, you can occasionally catch whiffs of the roses planted along North Sheridan Road. Nature lovers can also stop by to check out the honeybees hovering around the clearing’s surrounding plants, including hydrangeas and lavender.
The greatest perk may be the constant emptiness of this area. The East Quad is a popular napping spot and it fluctuates in its popularity throughout the day. The crescent-moon-shaped lawn, however, is rarely occupied. No noisy chatters to worry about here, as the only unanticipated wake-up of mine has been from an overly-friendly, scruffy black dog named Lucy (unanticipated, not unwelcome).
It’s not rare for neighborhood dogs like Lucy and their owners to wander past. Aside from being a restful napping spot, the crescent-moon lawn is a great place to chill out and wait to ask those magic words: “Can I pet your dog?”
Somewhere in the middle of the Venn diagram of nappers, nature-lovers and dog people is where I fall, making this secluded spot on campus my favorite hidden gem.
Treat my spot nicely — and if you see a student mummified in scarves resting outside Piper Hall mid-January, mind your business.