by Mary Lyle and Katy Kappele
7 a.m. — The few people who are in Syre at such an early hour are asleep on benches and in chairs, or quietly studying. There is a slight drizzle outside, running down the windows.
11 a.m. — By this time, the vast student populace has congregated at school, going to and from their classes, laughing in the halls, gossiping with friends, and happy to be inside out of the rain. Some are still sleeping, but most are doing their homework, Facebooking, eating, playing cards with their friends, or listening to music, in headphones or broadcasting unabashedly to the world.
The students of Syre are not shy. They laugh and as you walk through the halls of upstairs Syre, you will see students everywhere, sitting in groups, sitting alone, or in pairs. Some are studying, some are getting on Facebook, some are engaged in games with friends. You might even see two students cuddling or making out.
Of those who decide to study before class, most seem to be doing math. Their papers and books spread out onto other chairs or over an ottoman. There is typically a calculator in one hand, a pencil in the other. Some look only at their papers and books, while others scan the halls, frowns upon their faces.
Students with computers are commonly seen on Facebook. They usually have other tabs open, and seem to be waiting for something interesting to happen, so they can be there on Facebook when it is posted, and have the chance to make the first comment.
Card games are popular in Syre. Some students can be seen playing casino-type cards, while other groups of students are huddled in circles over battlefields filled with brightly coloured cards playing “Magic: The Gathering.”
Chris Whitson, 18, Anthony Lbell, 17, and Travis Mace, 15, gather in upstairs Syre every day to play Magic. This is the only game they play in Syre. Mace says, “It’s more understandable than other games. Things relate to each other.”
3:30 p.m. — There is a group of student gathered by the Student Life desk, happily playing Dungeons and Dragons or another dice-based role-playing game. These are
the young men and women you hear exclaiming loudly that they attack such-and-such evil monster of doom with such-and-such magical, epic weapon of vorpal light.
Students are often seen on their phones, texting, talking, or playing phone games. Breydan Moore, 19, says he plays “words with friends,” an iPhone app like Scrabble, which is “borderline the most fun game ever!”
Some students attempt to find isolated corners far from card games and people to express their love through soft conversation and the occasional kiss. Others engage in public displays of their deep affection in front of everyone.
The rain has stopped and the shy sun is peaking out of her cover of clouds.
5:10 p.m. — By this time, Syre has begun to empty. Students have gone or are in class. The cafeteria has closed, and the bookstore is shut up and abandoned. There are chairs scattered all over the upper floor, and chip bags and crumbs leak onto the ground from the arms of cushioned chairs.
8:30 p.m. — The custodians have come around, picking up garbage and recyclables, checking that offices are locked. They are making Syre ready for her beauty sleep and the raucous activity of the next day. The rain has set about its work in earnest.