A dormitory at the University of Texas, which houses a little under 3000 students. This makes it the largest non-military dormitory in the world, and I believe that it may now be the largest dormitory overall. It is essentially a small city, with it's own restaurants, grocery store, and post office. It's also not a very desirable place to live, unless you hate to be alone.

Actually, the Jester is a very lonely place. I say this on the eve of my departure from this pit. The thing about the Beauford Halbert Jester Center is paradoxical: there are a lot of people, so there is no one. The place is so big that it is overwhelming, even after adjustment, and as a result you end up meeting very few people.

Perhaps this is because my Resident Assistant was socially inept and almost unable to organize any activity; I have heard stories of isolated patches of social activity on other floors from third parties. But, this isn't to say that the antisocial feel of the place is isolated to my floor. In the dining hall here, in the hallways, in the study lounges, there is a distant feeling, almost like you don't exist. If you try to nod or say hello to a familiar face, maybe from a class, and you will surely get ignored, the people often don't even acknowledge the fact that there are others around. I have tried talking to people here, they act frightened. The huge dining hall is full of a majority solitary diners eating and leaving as quickly, to leave as small of a social footprint as is possible. The whole place is infected with an acute crowd psycosis that severely inhibits any possibility of social interaction with anyone.

The funny thing is that I know lots of people from outside of "The Jester" that are social outside of the place, but clam up once they get here. I do know a few people here, most from surrounding, smaller halls that share our dining hall. And the small talk on the elevator has finally started happening. This being the last week of school, all the inhibitions are going away I guess. Or maybe the advent of final exams has brought a common sense of dread and fear among the residents, and we are finally reaching out to each other just to know that there are others out there.

It will be short lived. Jester Center is a big, scary, antisocial place. If you ever live here, try not to get too lonely.

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