I’m at home in Southern California. Every night I go to sleep on a full size bed, surrounded by 20 of my favorite stuffed animals. I wake up to soft morning light filtering through white gauzy curtains, illuminating my pink walls covered with old photos and drawings I did years ago. It’s the room I’ve inhabited since I was 5, and one of the most comfortable places on the planet.
So why do I find myself missing my Yale dorm?
Junior year dorm in Stiles.
Sophomore year dorm in Stiles!
First year dorm in Lawrence on Old Campus!
You see, when I returned from my study abroad semester, I didn’t have a hand in housing processes for my residential college, Ezra Stiles (mascot: moose). I was simply assigned a room that was vacated by someone else going abroad: a single on the first floor of a 10-story tower. The cons were numerous: I was located across from the elevator doors and the main entrance, a pair of the loudest doors on earth, and not only that–every moose who lived in this tower at one point (including the dean) would see me in my pajamas making my way between my room and the bathroom. But after I bought a white noise machine and soundproofed my door, I quickly realized one pro outweighed all the cons:
I was on floor one. I wouldn’t have to run down five flights of stairs to let in a visitor, as I had to do in my first year on Old Campus. It was an ideal room assignment for someone who loves having people over. So have people over I did. As part of my mission to indoctrinate my best friend Catherine into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I started hosting Marvel Movie Nights. She commented that my room offered the campus’s best viewing experience, with my computer monitor and bluetooth speakers, and the mountain of free snacks I’ve stockpiled from various events on campus.
Watching a CLASSIC, The Avengers.
My room also became an “unburdening” space. At the start of sophomore year, I bought a black luxurious circular chair for $20 thinking it would be a comfy reading chair my dorm room. Instead, it has almost exclusively turned into my friends’ chair. Whenever they come over, whether it is 9pm after receiving a low test grade, or 3am after a rough breakup, they sit there and lay their burdens on me as I listen with an open heart. My fellow Yalies confided in me from that black chair—one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. Now, it’s complemented by an atrocious but functional pink circular chair I picked up for free off of Yale’s Free and For Sale Facebook page, THE PLACE to get amazing room decor on a budget.
Black chair. 10/10 recommend: a fantastic purchase.
Finally, I use the whiteboard outside my room brighten up people’s day. Normally, I posted a minimalist drawing of whatever movie I’m showing that week (I heard one of the dean’s kids exclaim, “Look! THE AVENGERS!!!”). I’ve also made it interactive at times re: my To All The Boys 2 movie night (I see you, John Ambrose supporters–I stan with you). My last post before spring break, however, was bittersweet–it was a goodbye to our compassionate and iconic moose leader Dean P, who is leaving her Dean position to take a role in the provost’s office as Academic Initiatives Project Manager.
Movie night sign for my favorite Marvel movie, Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
The people have spoken on my To All The Boys poll.
To my surprise and delight, Dean P and her children Gihan and Ayanthi replied with little notes of their own! Another jealous moose ripped off the top message before I took a picture, but I remember it said something like “This note nearly made my antler-shaped heart break into two! I will forever be a moose.”
Once a moose, always a moose.
Me too, Dean P. Home is where the herd is, even if it’s currently digital. Though I’m 2,500 miles away from my second home at the moment, I’m still connecting through Facetime with fellow moose and hosting Netflix parties with Catherine. As for next semester–well. I can’t wait to get back to my dorm on campus and chant our moose motto at the top of my lungs.
The iconic April Fools prank some Stilesians pulled on our sibling college, Morse.
Cassandra being weird in the Stiles dining hall.
Studying in the Stiles library, starring my Stiles computer stickers!
Meese chilling in my sophomore common room, expressing our Moose love.