The five types of students you see during Union’s fire drills

Maxwell Conolly, Contributing Writer

West College on a Tuesday night is a tranquil scene. The floors are fresh and clean. The trash cans in the middle of the halls are not even halfway full. Kids going about their daily lives are in high spirits and with good vibes. Music can be heard from the showers, and groups of friends gather to do homework in the common rooms at either end of the hall. You yourself were responsible today, and you skipped your afternoon nap to finish studying for that mid-term you’re so stressed about. You reward yourself with a well-earned, early night. What could go wrong? Unfortunately, much can. Instead of waking up in 8 hours to a peaceful morning and slightly irritating phone alarm, an ear splitting, headache-inducing fire siren screeches down the halls and stops the peaceful night right in its tracks. You were lucky, and were able to throw on a jacket before heading into the chilling five degree weather. Others on your floor were not. Some kids were showering when the alarm goes off, and these kids are forced to leave in nothing other than their towel. Others were so surprised that they forgot a coat or long pants. The scene outside is a mess. A usually cheery community of people is reduced to a mob huddled together for warmth. You’re not even allowed to stand on the dry pavement, and are instead forced onto the snowy grass.

They say you don’t really know someone until after you’ve been through a crisis together. It’s in these moments that people tend to revert to their default, and midnight fire drills are no different. There are five different types of people that I’ve observed during this particular crisis, and the list is as follows.

The Silent One: These are the kids that did not get enough sleep last night and were clearly fast asleep 3 minutes ago. Silent Ones can be normally seen standing motionless at the edge of their friend group’s huddle with stone faced expressions and a hood over their head. While many of these people are very social by day, in these particular circumstances it might be better to just leave them alone.

The Bundled One: Everyone tries to grab a jacket or something before they head into the freezing cold, but The Bundled One has taken this to the extreme. Their sides are almost round with all the layers they managed to put on, and while almost everyone during fire drills is unhappy, the bundled ones are relatively well off. Befriend multiple and you might just be able to get them to share a jacket with you.

The Party Return Crowd: These are the kids that just got back from a party and are somehow immune to the cold. Party returners are usually loud, surprisingly social given the context, wear usually no more than a jersey with pants, and yet somehow claim they “can’t feel anything.” Party Returners are great for passing the time while outside and always offer a particular amusement.

The Toweled One: This is the perhaps the unluckiest of all the mob who’ve found themselves in West tonight. The toweled one was unfortunately caught mid-shower when the drill went off and now must brave the chances of hypothermia and frostbite. Feel empathetic towards a Toweled One if you cross their path, and ask a bundled one to offer a jacket or two if they can.

The Angry One: This the person who in the moment feels best when they just have something to blame, and as a friend we must just sometimes let this run its course. Maybe the Angry One needs to search for the possible perpetrator of the alarm. Maybe they need to rant at fire safety as a whole.

Either way, it’s best to not hinder or provoke the Angry One and let them roam as they please. So, if you are ever caught outside during an alarm, don’t feel too upset. Like paying tuition or eating at West, fire drills are an unfortunate, but necessary part of living at Union.