University Sixth Sense

Some say the most important sense is vision.

Those people might tell you humans are creatures of sight. That even when our eyes are closed at the night we see pictures in the form of dreams. They’ll testify that the very first impression we have of others is based on physical appearance.

Honestly, go ask someone the question – What’s the most important human sense? They may look at you like you just popped a stick of Wonka Three-Course Meal in your mouth, but just entertain me a second.

When you ask, they’re going to bust out really good sounding arguments in support of sight. But hear their voice. Just Listen. Using that other sense.

It’s uncertainty. Why?

Because they haven’t really thought about their answerâÂ?¦ever. It’s time to think about the sixth sense of life, and please, pleeeeaaase, don’t mention Haley.


Finally, we’re back at the University.

We’re back in our very own mid-size city fill with young, dynamic kids all within a couple years of our age. All born in the mid-1980’s. All grown up in the 90s and thriving in the 00’s. Truly amazing!

We’re away from the ‘rents, restriction and responsibility (well, not completely – we still have to shower a couple times a month).

There’s Rush. There’s football. There’s tailgating. There’s intramurals. There’s clubs. There’s raging hormones. There’s partying. There’s more partying.

Oh, and did I mention there’s that thing called education?

Everyone at the University can’t escape University life. Its Old Navy commercials without the scream. You might hear it through your neighbor’s stereo. Heck, you might hear it thorough your own.

Maybe from a College Dropout returning for Late Registration. Even better than before. And you can’t stop looking and

With your eyes and your ears. And your nose and your mouth.

It might be over the beautiful, regal union building in your quad. The clouds an Illini orange with a hint of blue still peaking out behind the Foellinger Auditorium. The blue waiting to show its beauty in only a couple hours.

Or once the clouds break from over the sky’s blue eyes.

But we don’t look or listen to it all this way. We notice with all the five. But we don’t use the sixth. The real sixth. The sixth that’s masked by the rest that comes with the University life.

Point being it’s there the entire time at the University. Yet we don’t know about it. Nor do we bother looking for it.

It just comes.


The sixth sense was in action again today.

And it’s only my second day back in Champaign. D*man, this thing works fast when you’re back at the University.

One of the giants on the earth walks down the sidewalk. One of the shorter guys on the court walks down the sidewalk.

I’m standing there, as intellectually stimulated as humanly possible, picking my nose and holding up a sign for the freshmen and their families driving in. Arriving to change their life forever.

For the better or the worse. Usually for a healthy proportion of both.

“Unload and Go”

“20 minute parking limit”

I stand on the curb. Swinging my right leg back and forth, cutting through the humidity. Escalade after Mercedes G500 slide by on the concrete. Boxes and carpets filling the windows. Five faces plastered to the window�And, no, not out of interest for their dorm that looks the same every other campus building.

A man of average height looks down the sidewalk. 5’10” looks up to 6’5”. 6’5” looking down at the rest of the world.

The SUVs continue to drive by the sign and the windows start to pull down to ask the man with the sign where the heck they’re going. They don’t get any response. I suddenly get a case of tunnel vision that no surgery would come close to remedying.

“What up Calvin?”


“How was Europe?”

“Man, I’m glad we’re back. We was there way too long.”

The redshirt freshman continues walking down the sidewalk, towering over the rest. He’s in a different world. A world where people look and wonder. Wonder what it’s like to be average.

Average height on a basketball court, that is.

How do they all notice Calvin Brock although he doesn’t say one word?

How do they know if they’ve never seen him play before?


Multiple Choice: What’s the most important human sense?

A. Sight. Check.

B. Hearing. Check.

C. Touch. Check.

D. Smell. Check.

E. Taste. Check.

F. The sixth sense. Um�

This is not about a movie. And this is certainly not about seeing dead people.

You have to be at the University for the sixth to really hit you like a cold bucket of water in the morning.

But let’s think about this for a second. What if A though E were combined into F?

What if we could use all five basic senses together? What if with our eyes closed, we could notice something important coming? What if we could sense another person without looking, hearing, touching or smelling them?

Like a dream.

What happens when human instinct momentarily finds its way out of the jungle of confusion and distraction that is our modern American University? What’s that soundtrack that skips into life’s playlist?

It’s the voice in the back of our heads. The voice governed by none of the first five senses. This is not a voice based on physical appearance. This is not a voice based on smell or sound. This is the gut feelings we can’t explain.

This is the magnetism towards University athletes when they walk down the sidewalk.

This is that sixth sense.

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