I am a college pastor in Sacramento, and a majority of my students attend Sacramento State. I have come to discover there is a list of things every college student complains about, regardless of which school they attend: tuition, the food, the rules, and parking.
Most college pastors spend a decent amount of time on campus to hang out with their students, and I like to do this from time to time...if it weren't for the horrific parking situation. Allow me to elaborate on my experience.
STEP ONE Park in the 30 minute parking spaces. There are a few precursory steps before actually parking, so you can park for free in 30 minute parking while you run these quick errands.
STEP TWO - ATM Parking is going to eventually cost me $6 for the day, and who really carries cash any more aside from your grandmother? So I will need to go to the ATM on campus to get out cash. Naturally, you are only allowed to get cash in increments of 20.
I know what you're thinking; "But you only need $6." Yeah, I get it! What's more, the parking machine only takes exact change. So unless I want to make a $14 donation to California State University Sacramento, I now need to break my 20 to get exact change.
STEP THREE - Coffee Shop As expected, I will be getting coffee eventually. It may as well be now. I have to order my medium americano from one of the 75 Java Cities on campus in order to get my coffee AND break my 20 so I can pay my $6 parking fee.
If you're counting at home, my visit to campus has costs me nearly $8 for the price of parking plus americano.
STEP FOUR - Parking Machine The parking machine is located on the 3rd floor of the parking garage. You round your way up the garage to park (at your risk) in the flow of inattentive traffic with your hazards on while you pay for your parking pass. Ignoring the honks and near collisions, you collect your pass and prepare for the parking spot search.
STEP FIVE - Parking Garage Can you imagine a place where you drive an eternal circle while dodging vehicles and pedestrians who pay no mind to your existence? This is the reality of the CSUS parking garage. I have have driven the endless circles for nearly an hour and a half at busy times looking for a spot that never opens.
I am generally uncomfortable with the often necessary "stalking" approach for parking. This is the discovery of a solitary student walking in a fashion which makes you wonder, "Is he on his way to his car?" You drive slowly behind him as he walks, hoping not to creep him out in any way. If he is a decent human being, he will notice you are drafting him and will motion to you that he is NOT in fact walking to his car. But if he is typical, he will let you follow him for several minutes to the stairs in the parking garage where he leaves to go to class. SON OF A....!!!
You await the break in class times when enough people are leaving to find that spot accompanied by gleams of light and cozy chorale music. Alas! I am parked!
My americano is not lukewarm, and I've spent nearly 2 hours preparing and looking for a spot, but the opportunity to hang out with my students on campus is worth every second.