By: Gabrielle McLaren
First-year student Malcolm Mackenzie has finally found the classroom for his Introduction to Sociology tutorial after spending the entire fall semester wandering around the fifth floor of the AQ.
Mackenzie graduated from high school in June and spent the summer backpacking through Western Europe and saving up for university.
“I’m still an undeclared major,” Mackenzie told The Peak as first responders prepared to airlift him off Burnaby Mountain and to safety. “But I was really excited for this class. My favourite teacher majored in sociology and M. Fisher was such an inspiration to me.”
Mackenzie left the lecture on Tuesday, September 5, and bought himself a coffee from Renaissance, even though his mother had packed a juice box in his lunch.
“It just seemed to be what all the older kids were doing,” Mackenzie said.
Like every other first-year, he took the stairs to the fifth floor of the AQ instead of finding an elevator and made a mental note to never to do that again. Little did he know that he would never have to make the journey again, as he would spend the next several weeks walking in circles looking for AQ 5007.
“Every time I thought I was walking in the right direction, the numbers suddenly started getting bigger when they should have been getting smaller,” Mackenzie said. “Why did the numbers keep getting bigger?”
Mackenzie was ultimately rescued by fourth-year student Jessica Hawthorne, who had just come to peace with failing a philosophy class and was looking at the world with fresh eyes.
“I just thought he looked out of place,” Hawthorne said. “He was dirty, emancipated, and staring out of the window towards the mountain whispering, ‘One day the war will end.’ I mean, he could have been any other student, but he was carrying a textbook so I knew he was new here.”
“I’ve seen him before,” said third-year student Katya Zamolodchikova. “I have classes in the AQ all the time. We just called him ‘needs to take a shower and get a life’ guy.”
“Oh yeah,” stated fourth-year kinesiology major Chad Michaels when shown a picture of Mackenzie. “He asked me where the stairs were once, but I thought that he was kidding so I told him to fuck off.”
Mackenzie had tried calling for help in the past, but had no reception in the AQ. He then tried sending his friends a Facebook message asking for help, but hadn’t been told to use SFUNET-SECURE instead of SFUNET. After finishing the PB&J sandwich and apple slices that his mother had packed, Mackenzie also ate the good luck note she had slipped in his lunchbox and continued to sustain himself by digging through the compost bins and shaking chips out of the vending machines. Doctoral candidates and TAs with offices on the fifth floor even reported letting Mackenzie sleep on their office floors while they pulled all-nighters, simply thinking he was one of them.
“People kept telling me my class was on the north side of the AQ, but I didn’t know where north was. I guess at some point I just stopped asking for directions,” Mackenzie told his rescuers. “I just . . . I just started feeling like I was one with the cement. Like this is where I was meant to be.”
The university has not yet decided if they will waive all of the late fees that have piled onto Mackenzie’s tuition. Mackenzie’s professor, Dr. Turrell, has kindly arranged for all of his pop quizzes, assignments, additional readings, and his midterm to be dropped off at Burnaby General Hospital — where Mackenzie is currently being treated for malnourishment, exhaustion, and scurvy.