An ode to ‘Big Mac Triple Stack’

I spent almost of all my time freshman year inside the building that sat at 1800 Engel Rd. Did I live there? No. But many people were under the impression that I did. I lived in Ellsworth, the building right next door, but I spent nearly every waking moment inside the building that never slept– McCollum.

McCollum in 2013
McCollum Hall in 2013

There was something about that building, but not the building itself. The building itself was putrid, but I’ll get to that later. The bonds that everyone created seemed to stick. The friendships seemed nearly reminiscent of movies.

“Oh. We’ve been best friends since freshman year.”

These days, that statement rarely seems to ring true. The new halls with all the fun amenities, like how each room has its own shower and living room space… it’s harder to make friends that way. I would know. I went that route. And I can easily say I’m closer friends with the people I met in McCollum, still today, than I am with the people I shared a building with my freshman year. I rarely see people from E9 (Ellsworth, ninth floor) these days. They’re all caught up in their own lives. When I do, it’s a simple “hey, how have you been,” but really nothing more than that.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve hung out with Tyler, J, Matt, Ben, other Matt and Austin. I saw Zak and Zach when I went out to the bars for my birthday. I met every one of them on the third floor of McCollum.

Some of my most memorable memories of college came inside McCollum during my freshman year. I met my best friend, Tyler, on the first day of move in inside McCollum. I remember when Tyler *thought* he could do a cartwheel. (He was VERY wrong.) (I actually still have this video. Too bad WordPress doesn’t support it.) Or when the entire third floor of McCollum decided to throw a dance party in the lobby.

Every minute in McCollum was certainly one to remember, for the good reasons, the hilarious reasons, or the bad reasons.

Some drunk idiots decided it would be a good reason to mess with the fire extinguishers and set off the smoke detectors. We weren’t let back into Ellsworth for several hours. Thanks to Tyler and his insomnia, he let me crash in his bed while he was out caring for McCollum’s drunk people (or whatever he was actually doing). I remember how the fire alarms would go off, just because, for no rhyme or reason. I remember stressing out over my algebra final in Tyler’s room. I thought I was going to fail it. (I didn’t.) I remember watching Tyler and J play 2K and swear at each other until their hearts were content. (I still have videos of this too.) I remember having Matt and Ben show me the worst movie known to mankind (Poultrygeist).

Even though I haven’t set foot in that building since move out day 2014, I still hold it near and dear to my heart, even though the building had a plethora of structural issues. The pipes ran perpendicular to the ceiling. I don’t know how many times I hit my head on them after taking naps at Tyler’s. The showers would always flood. Seemed like every time I was in the bathroom there was stagnant water on the floor. None of the water fountains ever worked. Hell, Tyler didn’t have a door handle for the longest time.

We called it a million different things, but McCompton was my personal favorite. That nickname came to life after a car backfired and people thought there were gunshots outside.

It’s weird to think that after tomorrow, McCollum will no longer be a fixture on Daisy Hill. It’s been a constant figure on the Hill for years. It’s going to be weird driving north on Iowa and not seeing the charmed 10 story building perched at the top of the hill. I might even get a little emotional.

You best believe I’m staying in Lawrence a little longer over Thanksgiving Break to watch the place where most of my freshman year memories occurred become, well, just that, a memory.

Rest in peace, Big Mac. To many of us, you’ll be more than just a parking lot.

1 Comment

  1. Damn dude. Great post. I live in Dirty Mac my freshman year 2003, 6th floor represent! Had some awesome times in that building. We actually created a slip n slide in our hallway! I remember we would send our friend Lauren with the fake ID to get liquor, and she’d leave it in the dryers down in the basement. All you had to do is bring your laundry basket and a few towels down, and bam, you had liquor! R.I.P Dirty Mac…

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