‘Sharing is Caring’ on the Gym’s Stairmaster

Ani Khashadoorian

I’ve never been fond of sharing most things, whether it be the left lane on the 101 freeway or my dentist Barbie when I was 9; however, I will always extend my bag of Doritos and offer it to everyone around me.

Suffice to say, I consider myself a pretty giving person – especially when it comes to my thoughts about the lifestyle fitness center here on campus. I only need to raise my hand and count off five words when I am describing the little structure situated near the Sierra Nevada building.

Welcome to the jungle, baby.

As soon as the doors of the fitness center open, a stampede of students makes its way over to the sign-up sheets, where eager exercisers scrawl their names in continuous succession, even though the rules state you aren’t allowed to.

People hoarding the machines isn’t the fitness center’s only problem. The problematic times are a major hassle and cause more grief then they should.

The physical education open lab classes work on a drop-in basis – depending on how many hours in the center you complete, you will garner class credit. Students can only use the fitness center if they are enrolled in a physical education class (or if they are members of the GCC alumni club.)

Sounds great, right? Drop in when you can and work your little butt off for class credit. Here’s the catch; the center is closed for more than half the school day. Between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., the center is blocked off to students. This causes a major inconvenience.Students students are forced to stay on or near campus until the gym opens up again, or they can try their luck the next day.

Recent budget cuts have limited the hours of the campus gym from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. What happens between 1 and 5 p.m.? Faculty does have a specific time period set apart for them from 3:30 p.m. till 5 p.m., but doesn’t that seem unfair for students who need the gym for credit? Sure, it would be pretty weird to find your English professor next to you on the cross trainer, but would it really matter?

The Learning Center is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. four days a week, as well as 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. The math discovery center has similar hours; except they are open from 8:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays and they are closed on Saturday. The English lab (you guessed it) also has similar hours (closed on Saturdays).

The math lab, English lab, and learning center still have their full hours – yet the fitness center doesn’t. You can drop in for your self-paced math course virtually any time during the day, you can print out coupons for Quiznos from the English lab, and you can study Proust in the learning center – but you can’t work out when you have time.

Many GCC students simply do not have the freedom to drop by during the morning or in the evening. The physical education classes do not extend this convenience onto students who are trying to improve their well-being by taking the class.

That’s a darn shame too, but who cares about the health of the future? Not like that’s a big deal or anything; Jimmy can drop dead from cardiac arrest in his early 30s, as long as he gets to watch his taped math lectures in the learning lab. Then, it’s completely fine – no problemo. No need for a “well-rounded” education! The wonderfully delicious soup of the day at the cafeteria will do that to you already – well-rounded, get it?

Remember how I said I don’t like sharing?

On the wonderful day I do manage to loiter around campus for the gym to finally open, I run into a few problems.

I value the free time I have that isn’t spent writing research papers, movie reviews, or aimlessly looking at Wikipedia pages of famous serial killers. The free time I do spend at the fitness center, trying to get credit for my physical education class, is often interrupted by people who demand I get off the machine, even though my name was there.

Let us go back to the fundamentals of kindergarten – treat others like you want to be treated.

Most people don’t even bother checking to see if you signed up for a machine – even if you did, chances are someone will come up to you mid-workout and demand that you get off the machine.

I don’t like arguing (I prefer passive aggressive remarks), so I politely step off and go on the machine right next to the one I was just on. Would it kill people to go on the empty machines, or is there a conspiracy out there to bother me during the pinnacle of my workout?

The messy system just doesn’t work. Let’s get with the program and update the sign-in system. I’m sure cavemen scrawled on tablets too. Perhaps they could digitalize it – I mean, we are only a few days from 2009. Prince isn’t singing about partying like its 1999 anymore.

I never thought my P.E. 166 class would become like an abusive relationship; as much as I want to leave, I just keep on going back. Well, at least until I have my bare minimum 16 hours.