Ominous, inauspicious and scary were all words I would use to describe the thought of my freshman year dorm before I moved in. What would it be like? Would I like it? What would happen if I didn’t? After the faithful May 1 decision deadline, that’s all I could focus on: the impending doom of my college dorm.
I would say I’m an optimistic person. I stop to smell the flowers, I compliment stranger’s outfits, but when I step into the unknown, I step with the assumption of all things going badly. When envisioning what my college dorm would feel like, I had nothing to refer to — just hundreds of scenarios, rummaging through my mind and causing a heap of anxiety. The newest chapter in my life had become my biggest fear.
Now, exactly a year later, I can say with full certainty and confidence: my college dorm was one of the best things to ever happen to me.
I know what you’re thinking — really? That’s one of the best things to happen to you? And before you disagree, let me plead my case. And no, I haven’t forgotten about the horrid dining hall food or communal showers.
Speaking of, let me begin at the communal showers. Even though they can (and do) get wildly dirty, I still have a place in my heart for them. I love hearing the low hum of someone’s playlist in the shower, offering music for everyone in the bathroom. I love when all the girls in my hall unknowingly congregate to the sinks at 11 p.m. to brush our teeth. These seemingly small moments allow me to remember our tight-knit community. It’s moments like these that I think to myself, “it will never be this way again.” So, as the quarter comes to a close, I appreciate the trek to the shower a little bit more each night.
At the beginning of the school year, all I could notice was how loud everyone was from the hallways. It felt like I could hear into every room in my hall, and I just wanted peace and quiet.. As the year continued, though, I started looking forward to seeing my neighbors in the halls and greeting one another. I notice, more intently, how we all sit outside of our rooms to take a phone call from loved ones back home. I notice the squeals and giggles from the hallways as groups of girls try to stay quiet coming back from a night out. I notice the effort to answer each other’s whiteboard questions on our doors. Simply put, we have created a home out of a hallway.
When I visited UCSB, one of the first things I saw was the infamous Anacapa lawn. I saw students laying out, reading and playing volleyball. Now a resident and avid lawn-goer, I appreciate the effort from my peers to congregate at the lawn when the sun peeks out.
I have spent many afternoons basking in the sweet Goleta sun and I love looking around and seeing other friend groups, akin to mine, also tanning and laughing together. It’s the sweet and slow weekdays on the lawn, when nothing else matters, that I think to myself yet again, “it will never be this way again.”
Being used to home-cooked meals and takeout from my favorite local restaurants, I was ill-equipped for what the dining halls had to offer me. Though I have nothing good to say about the food, I have always found it heartwarming that such a big group of people all gather to eat at the same time. It sounds sappy, but it feels like one huge family dinner. I try to look around and take a mental picture of everyone enjoying their company more than their food. And once more, I think to myself, “it will never be this way again.”
All of the previously mentioned aspects are puzzle pieces to a larger picture: my actual dorm room. As an only child, I was scared of the major shift that is two roommates and a communal bathroom. However, sharing this space with my roommates has been nothing short of amazing. Our walls are filled with our hometown lives, music taste, poorly hung fairy lights, memories and love. We have created some of the greatest memories in our shoebox of a room, from hearing raccoons outside our window to giggling in our beds with each other before we sleep. Our love and laughter fills the room night after night. I try to hang onto every last second in my room, for the year is coming to a close.
Not surprisingly, my roommates have made this year for me. Each time we set out to the vending machine or Brita station or the dining hall, I try to take a mental picture. I try to transcribe our conversations and remember the scent in the air and the sounds of our laughs. They have completed my year, and they single handedly dissipated all of my fears of living in a dorm.
Like most other new and incoming freshmen, dorm living caused me so much anxiety. In response to that, I would say that you don’t know what you don’t know. None of my fears or scenarios played out, but instead, I got a year’s worth of happiness and memories I will clutch onto for as long as I can.
Reminiscing on dorm life, it is so hard for me to conceptualize that I live just a few feet away from my closet friends. My biggest fear has become a highlight of my freshman year and something I know I will continue to look back on lovingly.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I am so sad to move out of my freshman year dorm. I will pack up my clothes and my books and my memories. I will take the memories of my roommates and I walking down the halls together, and I will pack up the Friday nights where each room is blasting their own separate music. I will carefully package the emotional nights we had and the immediate comfort that followed. The dance parties, the laughs and the sunsets. I am taking so much more love, memories and appreciation with me as I move out of my freshman year dorm.
Kira Logan gets sappy about dining halls and communal bathrooms when reminiscing on her freshman year dorm experience.