Finals Week Memory

Jess Schmidt of Canton, Ohio, graduated from UD in 2006 with a degree in general studies and minors in psychology and religious studies. When she read about the University of Dayton Alumni Association’s finals week pizza drive for Roesch Library, she wrote in to share her best library memory — “one that totally typifies UD,” she said. Here’s her story:

Some years ago, I had mistakenly signed my undergrad self up for a graduate class and was getting my butt kicked. A 20-page, single-spaced paper on the exegesis of a biblical passage was due as our final. Yikes! I was determined to hold my own.

I was typing away, deep into the night at Roesch Library because all five of my roommates had won the finals week lottery and were finished with exams, enjoying a can or two of Beast* at home while I had to try to go on and on about one verse. Hours were spent; books were stacked; Diet Coke was fueling my veins. At 1:55 a.m., the stragglers were still working hard, dedicated and just as stressed as I was. At 2 a.m., beeps were heard all over the floor, coming from our computer monitors. What had happened? The library employee, stationed at his computer, assuredly on the new-to-campus Facebook.com, said, “Whoops.” It turns out he was supposed to have let us know that the computers automatically restart at 2 a.m. and that we should save our work. To tell you that most of us had not, in fact, saved hours’ worth of work, should not be a surprise.

Deep sighs were had, curse words were said, and we got back to it. Those papers were due, and we could not quit. Our roommates, now at 2 a.m., were probably even worse than they were hours ago. We kept plugging on.

But the UD-est thing of all happened around 5 a.m. Hoodie on, dark circles under her eyes, a girl stood up.

“I live on College Park,” she said. “I am going home to make a pot of coffee and a pan of scrambled eggs. Who wants some?”

The nine or so of us left meekly held our hands up, and half an hour later, she brought back both — with red Solo cups and plastic forks for us all to eat out of the pan.

I assume everyone else, in their sleep-deprived, dedicated state, completed their work. I managed to hit 21 pages, print it out and shove it under my professor’s office door.

Thank the sweet Lord that Humanities doesn’t lock its doors; otherwise, I would have failed the class. But mostly, thanks to that stranger who made us all coffee and eggs and to the Library for providing us silent reverie and community, right at the end.

Thanks, Library and staff, for sharing pizzas, a quiet space to be, and most of all, silent ways for UD to prove that community doesn’t just happen in classrooms and on porches and in the Chapel. It really can be everywhere and is really special. Thank you.

— Jess manages the Crush House at Gervasi Vineyards, a restaurant and winery in Canton, Ohio. She wishes she had more time to read.

* "Beast" is UD for "Milwaukee's Best," a beer popular at UD for some reason.

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