Sherman Ave Freshman Guide: Norris University Center
Rumor has it that Northwestern is full of nerds, but I bet you’re thinking that the class of 2017 is gonna be different. “We’ll socialize!” you say, “We’ll never set foot in the library!”, “We’ll skip office hours to go to impromptu jam sessions on the lakefill!”
Ah, how grand it is to be young and naive. I bet you also think that, during all of your so-called ‘free time,’ you’ll spend hours laughing and being merry with friends in the student union, pausing from your leisure only to accept a beer from your waiter, or to play with one of the freely roaming puppies.
I’m here to burst your bubble and tell you that Norris is nothing like the heavenly place you have been dreaming about.
Norris is anywhere between 3-6 floors, depending on what day it is and who you ask. I prefer to think of it as 3 1/2: ground floor, the front desk’s pathetic excuse for a floor, norbucks floor, and third floor. Supposedly there is a secret underground floor which contains a “game room,” but I’ll believe it when I see it. There is also a 2nd floor, but the only parts worth mentioning are the gloriously large bathrooms, and the Louis Room. (The Louis Room is not to be confused with Louis Hall; mix up the two and you will have theatre and RTVF majors alike ready for a good old-fashioned West Side Story-esque rumble).
Ground Floor: The ground floor is the most popular, frequented often by upperclassman too lazy to walk home for lunch or a nap. One side is loud, crowded, and makes it impossible not to have an awkward run in or two, and the other still smells of the remains of a bygone Sbarros and is home to asian grad students and those who want to read a book alone while they eat (me). It is also the sometimes home of the beloved Norris Cat Lady (not me).
Here you can shell out half of a week’s pay at your work study job for a spoonful of stir-fry or a burger that takes 1 1/2 hours to cook to perfection. If waiting’s not your thing, stop by the C-Store for a snack. Or if waiting’s REALLY your thing, skip your afternoon chem lab and spend those 3 hours waiting for tacos at Frontera Fresco.
Oh there is also a bank and a post office (maybe?) and some really expensive sweatshirts and some computer fixing nerds on this floor. And a microwave.
Front Desk: After the 5 mile (uphill both ways) trudge through the ice and snow, you’ll arrive in the entryway to Norris. From here, you can go downstairs to the ground floor or upstairs to Norbucks, or hang out on this floor if your feet stop working for some reason. The students at the info desk are only good for giving maps to prospies’ parents, gossiping to each other on their walkie talkies, and loaning you a pen. Maybe. If they can find one. They also are the ones you talk to about getting keys, cash boxes, and sign up folders for various auditions, but mostly just the maps.
Bitches love maps.
First Floor/Norbucks: Our parents spend thousands of dollars each year to send us to a prestigious university, where our colossal brains are meant to grow more and more each passing day, and what genius name do we come up with for our coffee hangout? Norbucks. Because it’s a Starbucks in the Norris University Center (Aaaand the Pulitzer goes to...).
Norbucks is a popular meeting spot, for people who want to “study together” (Facebook), “meet friends for coffee” (wish it were over so you could go on Facebook), or “hold meetings” (pretend to listen while fb messaging everyone but the group leader with pictures of kittens). The staff is as friendly and sassy as they come, and the chance of your drink being correct on the first try is higher than the chance of them getting your name right.
Once you’re situated with coffee in hand, head on over to a comfy seat, like the ones that are a foot off the ground, or one of the lonesome swivel desk chairs. Other places to note on this floor are McCormick Auditorium, the box office, and everyone’s greatest love, SOFO. No one really knows what this mysterious SOFO does, but if you like your soul the way it is (intact), I would only approach it in a hazmat suit.
Third Floor (because lol 2nd floor): Third floor is where people who hate themselves live.
You think I’m kidding, but just ask any of the editors of the Daily and their tears will wash away your doubts. Up here, you can find the offices of various student organizations, like DM, ASG, LGBT, PCP, LSD, OPP, and many other acronyms. The Daily staff eats, sleeps,* and lives here, striving to continue putting out the 2nd best publication at NU (insert “the Daily couldn’t hit a million views if they covered a naked sorority mud wrestling event” joke here). The third floor is also a good place to steal supplies from, as the ASG office is rarely locked. I haven’t bought printer paper in 3 years.
I feel confident that you, baby wildkittens, are now ready to navigate the mysterious and powerful labyrinth that is Norris. You will live in Norris. You will laugh in Norris. You will make sweet, sweet love on the roof of Norris.** Good luck, little ones. You’re welcome for the knowledge.
*lie in the fetal position and cry for a half hour
**sweet, sweet love can only be guaranteed by rushing Sherman Ave