Click to read about the best places to eat on campus, freshman packing tips, and how to keep in touch with friends.

Serenity Room lacks serenity

Perhaps many people have yet to discover the Serenity Room. It is meant to be a quiet place where students can focus on mental and spiritual relaxation — whether through meditation, prayer or otherwise. I was disappointed that the serenity was taken from the room by a few students who chose to use it for social purposes and disregard unfamiliar worship.

With some time between classes and feeling tired of homework, I decided on a trip to rejuvenate my spiritual side and found my way to the Serenity Room at the Marshall Student Center. The hidden room on the third floor was smaller than I expected, but it provided a unique setting for me to relax and pray before my afternoon class. 

Unfortunately, the room proved less serene than I had hoped.

Upon entering, I found a green ottoman against a wall and three girls lounging in a corner of the room. I took a seat on the ottoman and stared through the window for a few seconds while the girls whispered.

After a short meditation, I opened my backpack, pulled out my devotional and began to read. I started to relax, but found I couldn’t focus over the giggling and chatting of the girls in the corner.

Their conversation had drifted to entertainment. One  girl was bored and asked the others if they could go to a friend’s house to play Guitar Hero. I closed my eyes for a moment, silently praying they would leave to play the video game, and tried to get back to my devotional. It didn’t work.

Just when I had decided to walk out of the room, a man entered and proceeded to pray and bow in a manner with which I was unfamiliar. For the most part, I was content ignoring him and focusing on my devotion. However, I couldn’t get over the fact that as soon as he began bowing, the three girls left the room and silence followed.

As far as I was concerned, the man was an angel sent to help me find solace. With the noisy girls gone, I was able to find peace in both the room and my mind. After a few minutes, he finished and left. Immediately after, the girls returned to the room and began whispering.

I was baffled and aggravated. Before I could say anything, they picked up their backpacks and left -— leaving me to make assumptions. 

I assume the girls shared the same religion as the man. They respectfully gave him space so he could worship. Where did that leave me? Because I didn’t share their customs, did I not deserve the same respect? Or did they assume I was doing something other than praying because they were unfamiliar with my customs?

They used the Serenity Room for social purposes, and I found it quite less than serene.

Maybe I’ll visit the room again, but I think the next time I feel the need for spiritual rejuvenation I’ll take a walk across campus and explore the Botanical Gardens.

Dustin Pinkerton is majoring in creative writing.