The best and worst places to weep on campus.

Photo by Sakke Overlund

The blaring of “Walk sign on to cross Chicago Avenue,” the shrieks of theatre kids in Norbucks, the buzz of football players on their mopeds — this is Northwestern’s melody. But this great symphony would not be complete without the weeping and wailing of Northwestern students as they tackle the workload of a “technically” top-ten university. With so many tears left to cry, it can be difficult to find the perfect spot to do the deed and pinpoint which places to avoid. We’re here with the lowdown on the best and worst places to shed a tear on campus.

The Worst

The lounge of your first-year north campus dorm

Remember that time when you really just wanted to cry in your third-floor Elder dorm room, but your roommate was FaceTiming her boyfriend? Remember when you thought about going outside, but it was -8 degrees, and the last thing you wanted was for your tears to freeze to your face? Remember the sheer sense of horror you felt as you realized that your only option was to burst into a puddle of sorrow in the lounge, which happened to be filled with newly initiated frat boys who nervously approached you to make sure you were okay? Does it look like I’m okay, Brad?

That ledge by the Rock

The Rock. A true Northwestern classic. If you’re lucky, you’ll spot the BrewBike stand, a sorority girl screaming at you to take a pin if you want to be a good person or a table with free food provided by a club desperate for new members. If you really keep an eye out, sometimes you can spot a lone sobbing student as they unload every emotion they’ve ever had to their mom over the phone. Not only is that student the spectacle of 11:50 a.m. student rush hour and tour groups full of nervous high schoolers, they also become the star of the 24/7 live stream of the Northwestern Rock.

Your math professor's office hours

Throughout your time at Northwestern, so many of you will realize that you are, in fact, aggressively average at math. For some, that moment comes as you sit in lecture at 9 a.m. on your first day of classes. For others, it comes at 2 a.m. in the library the night before your third homework assignment is due. If you’re particularly unlucky, that moment will come during office hours, as you cry disgustingly in front of your 70-year-old math professor who’s really good at numbers, but really bad at dealing with human emotion. Bonus points if he uncomfortably refers you to CAPS.

Deering Reading Room

Some might argue that Deering is the best study spot on campus. The Harry Potter-esque decor, rows and rows of books and so much stress you can feel it in the air. Sounds like the ideal location, right? Wrong. Once you’ve had a mental breakdown in Deering, you’ll understand that there is truly nothing worse. For reference, every sniffle, every whimper is broadcast to the entire room. Plus, you’re not even allowed to have snacks. There goes your opportunity to eat your feelings.

The Best

The roof of Swift Hall

By day, the beige building known as Swift Hall bursts with psych majors who would’ve majored in “daddy issues” if it was offered. By night, the place transforms into a magical fortress of tears. How, you ask? All you have to do is climb up to the roof (NBN does not officially condone roof-climbing for liability reasons), look out across the dark sky and allow yourself to enter a deep existential crisis. Sometimes, you just have to sit on top of the home of the psychology department, realize that life is meaningless and let it all out.

Bienen practice rooms

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" If a Bienen kid cries in a soundproof practice room, do they make a sound? This seemingly impossible philosophical dilemma goes to show that you can’t beat the privacy of a room specifically designed so nobody else in this godforsaken school can hear you. It’s as if the creators of such a space anticipated just how troubled the lives of these struggling artists would be. If you find it unfair that such delicacies are limited to the students of only one Northwestern school, take a step back and ask yourself: Have you ever met anyone who cries more than a Bienen student?

Frat party bathroom

Merriam-Webster defines feminism as "organized activity on behalf of women’s rights and interests." What better place to embody such a definition than the repulsive bathroom of a fraternity basement at 12:47 a.m. on a numbingly cold Thursday night? Whether you’re crying over that econ major with absolutely no personality, because you’ve convinced yourself that you’re hated by all your friends or just because emotions are hard, a frat party bathroom is the ideal place to be. Never have you received so much support from that one girl in your discussion section. Never have you heard such unified validation that you should, in fact, break up with your new fall quarter boyfriend who hasn’t texted you back in three days, because you deserve better. Never have you felt such womanly support. This, my dear Merriam-Webster, is what I call feminism.

That one rock on the Lakefill (you know the one)

What if I told you that you could enter a world in which your tears existed as a form of catharsis, not as a mode of embarrassment? Sure, you’ve been told to go to the Lakefill to unwind — read, bike or pretend you don’t have an English paper due in six hours. But I'm here to tell you that the Lakefill serves a much more sacred purpose: It’s the very best place to cry on the campus of Northwestern University. I wish I could give you instructions on how to access the perfect Lakefill rock for maximum sobbing potential, but that would be impossible. The location is more a psychological place than a physical one. Each Northwestern student must find that rock for themself.