Playing away again in Palo Altoville

By James Lazo III
Pulse Staff Reporter

Tony Hinojosa plays Magic with Scott Smith in the Student Center. Photo by: James Lazo III
Tony Hinojosa plays Magic with Scott Smith in the Student Center. Photo by: James Lazo III

College life can be stressful, filled with grueling exams and exhausting lectures, so students use their free time to socialize and engage in hobbies.

The student body at Palo Alto College is full of diverse cultures; each student is unique in the way his/her free time is spent. Results from a non-scientific survey conducted on campus showed that 71 percent of students preferred to socialize with other people during their down time, as opposed to 29 percent who preferred to be alone.

"I usually prefer to be alone reading a book or on a computer listening to music," said Rosalinda Barrientos, a sophomore Pre-Nursing major.

"I am a very diverse person. I like doing a variety of things and talking to different people," said Jacob Antonetz, a sophomore Mathematics major.

The Cyber Café, located next to the Center for Academic Transitions, is a recent addition to the Student Center. Most students at Palo Alto College use the Cyber Café as a means of relaxation and recreation. One student even brings his guitar on occasion and plays in the Cyber Café.

The Cyber Café has 15 laptops, various games, such as Chess and Checkers, and a coffee seating area for discussion. Students are encouraged to feel as comfortable as possible surfing the Internet for school or personal use.

Dr. Daniel Rodriguez, director of Student Life, created the Café for students to socialize with one another. The Cyber Café is the only facility provided by Palo Alto that allows students the ability to eat, use the Internet and socialize at the same time.

The Cyber Café is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday.

"The students use the Cyber Café to relax and entertain themselves in a very casual setting," said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is also responsible for providing entertainment throughout the year.

The Student Life Office has booked acts, such as folk dancers, comedians and various DJ's from around the city to perform for the students on campus.

These performances promote the Student Center as a fun-loving place that encourages students to socialize and interact with each other during their down time.

The Student Center is also home to an assortment of food that the students purchase throughout the day and consume between classes. The Student Center also has WiFi access so that students who bring their own laptops can access the Internet. In addition, the Student Center has a huge flat-panel television screen that usually broadcasts the news, so that the student body can be updated frequently.

"I love to socialize with different people and the Student Center provides people from all walks of life and different backgrounds," said Scott Smith, a freshman Digital Graphics Animations major.

The library is another place where students spend their free time. One event the library offers a few times throughout the year is the Library Café. The event offers students a chance to relax in a comfortable atmosphere complete with coffee, hot cocoa, a variety of cookies and snacks and soft music playing in the background. Students are able to check out laptops to access the Internet. The next Library Café event will be held on Oct. 28, 2009, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Room 206 of the Ozuna Building.

"I really enjoy the relaxing atmosphere along with the cookies and hot tea," said Jeanne Martinez, adjunct reference librarian.

Another way people interact with each other in their down time is through hobbies, such as Magic the Gathering. Magic is a card game that is played between two or more people.

Dustin Word, a sophomore Mechanical Engineering major, started playing Magic in the fall of 2006 and has played off and on ever since.

Everyday, the Magic players sit at tables located in the Student Center. All meet because of one common interest, the game, which generates a connection that is instantly felt.

"The game itself is used primarily to promote interaction between people and spur conversation," said Word. "Magic the Gathering is interesting because it can be as complicated as Chess, but it also has the benefit of the bluff."

Palo Alto College offers a variety of free time options that try to appeal to our diverse student body. Whenever you're feeling stressed out or if you have a little free time look around and find an activity that's appealing to you.

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