The guy who wears a bow tie while riding a unicycle, the girl wearing large headphones who always sings Queen songs just a little too loudly in public. The guy with an enormous afro and purple suede shoes who always seems to be carrying a large stack of books. These are the people who I like to call the “Noticeables.” Every university campus has these types of people, and yet each individual is unique to the campus.
On a fair-sized campus of around 20 000 students, sometimes it is hard to be noticed amongst the crowd. In my experience, people for the most part do not talk to each other in classes unless they already know one another. Or they are forced into discussion groups, an experience which often leads to an awkward conversation with spouts of complete silence and lack of eye contact. Eventually, the campus becomes a sea of unfamiliar faces. Still, there are the occasional few who seem to always surround you. You see them as you walk across the quad, wait for your food to heat up in the microwave, or even sit two rows ahead of you.
Not to say that being a Noticeable is a bad thing, quite the contrary in fact. It shows that some quality of you is unique, and therefore you add to the diversity that makes our campus a more enjoyable place to be. Maybe it is the fact that you share eye contact and smile at everyone you happen upon, while the rest shroud their minds with worries as they look down at the ground. Perhaps you just have a distinctive skill or fashion accessory, like playing the accordion while you wear a racoon skin hat.
Instead of having the courage to go up to a complete stranger and ask them about themselves, you simply observe a Noticeable as you walk in the opposite direction. You inform others about this particular Noticeable, and the legend grows. Eventually the story will hit Overheard at UVic, where you realize that a particular Noticeable has gained a cult-like following. Once you thought of yourself as creepy for taking the time to observe, but now everyone is interested.
Over time, you wonder if you are a Noticeable to others. What is something unique that others might pick up on if they always see me? Am I the girl people perceive as stuffing my face with a sandwich as I run to MacLaurin? Am I the guy who is snoring in the library, drool dripping down to the chair? Or maybe I’m just too plain to others. I believe that it is these Noticeables who give campuses everywhere character. Without them, our days would be filled with busy students in sweatpants. Walking on campus when classes have just gotten out, I act as a flâneur searching for Noticeables in the corner of my eye. These irreplaceable people make me realize that there is more to life than textbooks, notes, and coffee. You’ve got to have fun, go wild, and ride a unicycle every once in a while.