In space, no one can hear you scream. But on college campuses, places where it’s safe to scream like no one can hear you are few and far between. This is especially true on Western Washington University’s suspiciously elongated campus, which despite resembling an alien in its larval stage has very few places that produce a true vacuum of sound.
Fortunately for you, I’ve discovered almost all of them, and with only one quarter left in my college experience, I’ve decided to pass this knowledge along.
Here, for all your finals week needs, is the top 10 list of places on campus where no one can hear you scream.
1. The laundry room.
Pick a dorm, any dorm, and situate yourself somewhere in the laundry room. Preferably at night, or on a Sunday, when the washing machines are whirring and the dryers are making that thumping noise they only make when someone’s left something important in their pants pocket. Wedge yourself into the far corner, bury your head in your hands, and scream. I would suggest a high-pitched shriek for this location. It’ll help you blend in.
2. The dining hall during lunch hour.
Even if you’re no longer on a meal plan, every upperclassman worth their salt can talk themselves into the dining hall on a freshman’s guest meal. Oddly enough, lunch is the busiest time in the dining halls, and there’s so much noise that a stray scream or two will go totally unnoticed. A short, intermittent shout, sort of like a barking seal, is preferred for this spot.
3. Level 1 of Wilson Library.
If someone were going to shoot a horror movie on campus, they’d be stupid if they didn’t include this as one of the locations. It’s compact. It’s windowless. It’s got long, scary corridors and lots of industrial noises which could be indistinguishable from any death screams you might let loose. For prolonged screaming, it doesn’t get much better than this. Just make sure you don’t get locked in when the library closes.
4. The AV Rooms in Haggard Hall.
These rooms are one of the few on-campus locations that are actually soundproofed, and their central location on campus makes them prime screaming territory. The catch? They have to be reserved in advance, so if you’ve got a test you know you’re about to fail, a job interview you tanked, or a breakup you saw coming a mile away, reserve one of these and screech your little heart out.
5. The Old Main bathrooms, especially the one off of Old Main Theater or the one on the 5th floor.
These are hands-down the creepiest bathrooms on campus. They’re oddly shaped and all the appliances look like they’re one flush away from spraying you with sewage. On days when you feel like a swamp creature or something more suited to a Stephen King novel than a human, pick one of these for your primal howling needs. A word of advice? Make sure it’s unoccupied before you really get going.
6. The back of the C lots.
Those of you who live off-campus, this one’s for you. You know that nasty back parking lot that’s 10% gravel and 90% pothole with absolutely no marked spots? Screams of frustration are so common there that yours won’t be noticed, regardless of the reason behind it. Sit in your car (windows up, please) and go to town. If you need to mask your cries, make good use of the horn.
7. The lower levels of the PAC.
This place is haunted by music majors who rarely see the light of day, but they’re some of the more understanding denizens of this list’s top screaming locations. The practice rooms are only vaguely soundproofed, but should you get caught mid-scream, pretend you’re a soprano practicing for her senior recital. Try not to get lost going in or out. I’m convinced that at least a third of the music majors are people who wandered into the PAC and never figured out how to leave. I’m not sure what they eat. Don’t let it be you.
8. The lower levels of Miller Hall.
It looks like the Stanford Prison Experiment down here, which makes it a good place to lose your mind — or your way out. Make sure there’s always a clear path between you and the exit, and if you hear screams not your own echoing down a long, poorly lit hallway, don’t go searching for their source. This is a good place for a good cry. Scream too loud and it’ll draw their attention.
9. The basement of the Environmental Science Building.
Back when I was delivering papers for the Western Front, I hit the wrong button on an elevator and wound up down here. The elevator wasn’t working, and I had to pound on about eight locked doors before I finally found the stairs leading back up to blessed daylight. It’s dark. Cramped. If you can’t get your scream on without that authentic buried-alive feeling, this is the place for you. No one can hear you scream down here. Trust me. I know from experience.
10. The Stone Circle on South Campus.
When I was a freshman, I used to climb up on top of this thing and ponder the miserable state of my existence. Luckily I escaped unscathed, but the stone circle is still there, conveniently located away from all dorms and classrooms. Make your way out there after 10 p.m. and you’re virtually guaranteed quiet and privacy. Scream as loud as you want, for as long as you want. No one is out there. You’re alone.