Michael Vail ‘24
I’m the Map, I’m the Map, I’m the Map, I’m the Map, I’m the Map!
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about College of the Holy Cross’ prestigious Integrated Science Complex. Students across campus love the complex; many love it for its architecture, others enjoy the convenience of the cafe, and everyone says, “At least I don’t have to walk all the way to Stein.”
The only drawback of our beloved STEM hub is that it can be quite confusing to students who are unfamiliar with its design. Truth be told, this is my first semester of in-person classes, so my experience is just as limited. But after a few hours of wandering around, I think I’m ready to introduce my Comprehensive Guide to the Science Complex™.
To aid my following explanations, I have drawn up a floor plan of the complex from my memory (to scale):
Let’s start with Smith Laboratories. These are different from Smith Hall. If you take out your chemistry equipment at Smith Hall, you may get a few weird looks. I haven’t been in any of the labs yet, but I often hear muffled sobbing from students halfway through their four hour lab sessions.
Want to go to Beaven Hall? You’d think you can walk there from the lobby (or something) because they’re so close, but the only way to get there from inside is through that uninhabited hallway next to Smith Labs. I think. It’s an entirely straight path with about five doors in it. I don’t know why there are five doors in it. I think the architect was drunk. (There are also several doors in the building that lead to unenclosed areas and serve no purpose. We like to go through them for fun.)
Beaven looks like a prison. Or a psych ward. Something like that. There are very few windows. I spend most of my time either there or in O’Neil, which has a student lounge with a whiteboard. I don’t know where the markers went. Bring your own.
Now that you’ve left Beaven and have felt your soul leave your body, I think it’s time for a delightful trip to the zen garden! Nature reserve? Meditation trail? The small pathway from Swords to O’Neil. We can skip Swords—nothing interesting happens there. But the zen garden is beautiful and has a lot of informational signs that you won’t read even once.
Tired of walking around? Buy a sandwich from the Agnostic Cafe, where you’re never sure if your order exists. It’s somewhere in this line of 60 orders that no one bothers to pick up. (Still faster than a Kimball line.) Can’t find it? Grab a complimentary bag of chips! They’re free for anyone to take! Probably.
Now that you’ve stolen a snack from the cafe, you can head on over to the Science Library and begin your study session. They have a column of small, tightly-packed desks that look super fun to use. They’re placed so close, in fact, that you can hear your study neighbor hyperventilating before their exam!
Finally, you can visit Haberlin and be on your merry way out the door. Is it this door? No, this one? Where the- Ah, here’s the exit! This leads me… Where am I?