This morning I went to the University of Utah to meet with an academic adviser concerning a major from which I am interested in obtaining a bachelor’s degree. The parking experience on campus was a disaster!
The University campus is very tight on parking. The two ‘pay-lots’ which I attempted to park in were completely full. I began in one of the ‘pay-lots’ nearest the bookstore and within reasonable walking distance to the building where my appointment was. After circling the parking lot for 10 to 15 minutes I finally left, rather frustrated I had been unable to secure a parking stall. As I was exiting I asked the cashier where some additional parking was. She produced a map of the campus and showed me two other ‘pay-lots’, one of which was nearly opposite my current location and easily accessible to the building where my appointment was to be held.

By this time I was already 7 minutes late to my appointment and I was beginning to get even more agitated. I drove over to the second ‘pay-lot’ and circled it for a brief amount of time before I left that lot, again unable to procure a parking spot. I left the pay lot and drove through some other parking lots, marked ‘permit’ parking. At the last moment I found a lot which near the entrance, had some available ‘metered’ parking stalls. I pulled into one, and attempted to calm myself down.

By the time had I located a parking spot I was 20 minutes into my appointment. I sat for a few minutes in my truck, being angry with myself for missing my appointment and debating on leaving. Finally, I decided to give the major office a phone call and see if I could reschedule within the next few hours. At first the receptionist was hesitant to allow me to reschedule, other than for another day. Rescheduling meant I would have to come back on an alternative day, fight with parking again – not to mention request another day off from work and put my toddler in daycare while I attended my appointment. But once I was permitted to explain my situation the receptionist spoke with the academic adviser and made arrangements for me to be seen right away. I tossed all the coins I could find in my truck into the meter and I jogged from the truck to the office.

The meeting with the academic adviser was affable. The adviser outlined the major in detail and I was fortunate to find out a portion of my credits would eliminate some of the majors upper division classes.  After the appointment, I walked leisurely back to my truck. I was happy to have been able to complete my itinerary.

The frustration with parking arrangements on campus, with which I struggled with was partly my own fault. I failed to give myself enough time. It took me 35 minutes to find a parking space. The University strongly encourages using public transportation by taking TRAX or a public bus to the campus and now I see why!

The key reason for my dislike for the University campus is that it is outside of my comfort zone. I attended the Salt Lake Community College for 11 years, yes 11! I raised a family and worked full-time while attending classes. The community college is warm and inviting. I know what to expect at any of the campuses and I felt respected. At the University of Utah I felt overwhelmed by the enormity of the campus and intimidated by perceived feelings of formality and insensitivity.

None of this is to say there is anything wrong with the U of U. I will have to adjust and learn to welcome and be appreciated a the University of Utah. Otherwise, it simply may not meet my academic requirements!

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