Yesterday I finished my student position as a technical writer with the Campus Web Solutions team at Auburn University. It was a bittersweet day for many reasons, but mainly because I’ve spent a whole year getting to know the guys, and some days—crazy as it seems—they were the only reason I was still sane. I miss the guys already, but they will be totally fine without me, and I’m sure they will do so well in all their work in the future.
Being the writer that I am, I felt the need to highlight some of my most memorable experiences at the AU OIT.
Somehow I made friends with people from all over the OIT building. Several of them being the receptionists I saw when I first walked into the OIT building. I also met several people at the other end of the floor where I worked, and I saw these people quite frequently. The funny part is that we just kind of became friends without ever really introducing ourselves to each other. So I’m always thrilled to see them… and I don’t even know half of their names!
There’s something about picking on the new guys that never gets old. I’m not really sure if this stuff ever happened to me or if I was just that oblivious, but pranking and nicknaming are part of becoming a team member at CWS.
Each working term this year, we had a cookout or fun partyish event. At the summer cookout, one of the new guys went to get a second helping and snatched up the last hamburger. Another guy passed by him on the way to get a hamburger and was very disappointed that there were none left. So the new guy was bestowed with the name “Hamburglar,” and for a while we actually kind of forgot his real name. He even busted out of his clothes on Halloween wearing the hamburglar costume! …and a random horsehead mask and circus mask for additional awkward attention…
CWS is all about some games. Even just throwing stuff around the office keeps everybody entertained and ready for a challenge. Foam objects are the usual toys that get tossed around, but somewhere along the way a frizbee appeared, which looked more like a toy helicopter blade…and kind of felt like one when I got hit in the face with it. “Hamburglar” accidentally aimed the wrong way when he threw it across the room and nearly gouged my eye out with it. Poor guy. I think he needed more consoling than I did. Of course the other guys fabricated a violent scenario to make him feel better (and worse). For a while we replaced the word “hit” with “Hannah.”
Being associated with the arts myself, I have a broad appreciation for various art forms, especially ones that happen spontaneously and right in front of my face. Like this spectacular live, pixilated version of Mario:
The guys had some theatrical inclinations as well. A couple of the guys went through a larping phase. In primitive warrior fashion, the guys battled it out on the OIT lawn with foam battle ax and foam swords in hand, wearing armor engineered entirely from scratch, while our supervisor captured the event on video for all to see…
Aside from business quotes, CWS takes pride in recording only the best statements that pour out of people’s mouths, which they don’t hesitate to write on the most visible whiteboard. Here are a few of them:
“XML is sexy cool, but SQL is better.”- Michael (the boss)
“I just thought it was magic.”- Alex T.
“My projects don’t break.” – Michael
“My roommate’s mom is in town to clean our apartment.”- HB (Ham Burglar)
“It’s fast…on a cosmic scale.”- Jake
“Let’s consistify the interface.”- Clay
And, of course, Perez…
One day I listened as the whole team gathered around in a conversation about Star Wars. The webmaster, who was working quietly (that day) in his cubicle across the hall, got up from his desk, walked into our cubicle, and said,
“I just want y’all to know that… y’all are a bunch of dorks.”
Then he turned around, went right back to his desk, and continued to work quietly.
You can expect nothing less than the best with CWS, but always be prepared for some eccentricity. I was introducing the place and the people to the student who will be taking my place next semester while one of the guys was walking around wearing a Russian fur hat and holding a desk lamp up to the ceiling after a light had gone dim. Behaviors like this help keep CWS a powerful asset to Auburn University.
“And it’s real fur, so it’s like having a coyote on your head.”- Brian
One great thing about the OIT’s building is that it is semi-brand new, so it’s designed to be out-of-this-world cool. So even the bathrooms are all chic and progressive-looking with their metallic…everything. So, about two weeks ago, I was leaving the bathroom on our floor, and as I turned around to leave the sink, the little metal trash can beside me came out of the wall…okay, let’s pause right there…it came OUT OF THE WALL.
I don’t think I even knew it was in the wall in the first place, or removable. When it smashed down on my knee, I found out that it doesn’t feel like such a little trash can at all.
After limping all the way across the floor to the kitchen for some ice, I found the plastic bags on—not the bottom shelf, or even the middle shelf—the top shelf. I can’t believe I even saw them from that from distance, but… I have little people superpowers, which will remain unidentified. So, I managed to get some ice for my knee and kept it taken care of for about half an hour, but even at this moment, my knee is STILL sore!
You really gotta watch out for those trash cans, guys.