The rug in my suite’s common room has been through a lot – the slightly damp, patterned piece of synthetic fiber has experienced more than a year of college life from its unique vantage point under our feet. It witnessed the first meeting of six girls from all walks of life, when shy hellos were exchanged over the emptying of boxes of hometown memories from New Jersey, New York, Montana, Texas, and Singapore. It listened patiently to long, drawn-out rants about course selection troubles, confessions of imposter syndrome, and odes to our first-year counselor. It strung itself together with the kernels of spilled popcorn on movie nights and the crumbs of Insomnia cookies on study nights, occasionally rebuking our state of clutter and urging us to clean (we did make a schedule!). It stayed up with us through the struggle of late night problem sets and impromptu dance parties, eventually moving with us from our first-year suite on Old Campus to our sophomore suite in Trumbull College. The rug has seen it all – our pettiest worries, our biggest decisions, our happiest moments – and has slowly grown with us, greying and fraying as we take our college lives day by day.
My five suitemates are the constants in my Yale life, in the sense that I can have the most terrible day outside and still find comfort in the fact that I will be within the confines of Trumbull J-11, which is my suite, soon. We have three doubles around a common room framed by a non-functional fireplace and a few tapestries, where our rug rests happily underneath two old futons and a mini-fridge. We have embedded little pieces of ourselves in the space, little reminders of each of our quirks and differences. Some of us love cats, others much prefer dogs. Some of us fill the fridge with fresh berries, others stock it up with chocolate. We have a student athlete, a club athlete, and someone like me who can only be classified most generously as a “non-athlete.” A few of us are STEM majors, with weekly lab work on Science Hill and problem sets to complete. Others are humanities or social science students, tackling the weekly essay instead. Our areas of study often intersect, and I am eternally grateful to have suitemates who can help me with my math-heavy astronomy problems.
We derive a lot of joy from living in our residential college, and not just because we can now reach the laundry room through an extensive underground tunnel system or because we are closer to the dining hall. Although being around a community of first-years on Old Campus was enjoyable, calling Trumbull College home has been a whole new experience. On a beautiful day like today, we bring our dinners from our dining hall outside to our courtyard and bask in the sun while munching on our freshly-grilled burgers. Sometimes, we go to our pottery studio and “throw” some clay on the wheel, or watch a student-written play in the college theater. At night, we have student-run butteries open for snacks and hearty food, perfect nourishment for every hungry student in a great space to meet other people in your residential college. Our Head of College also works extremely hard to provide us with opportunities to take a break from Yale life. From free kayaking trips, to apple-picking, to theater shows, students often supplement their busy academics with fun trips exploring something completely new. Our Dean is also a huge resource to help with anything academic-related, providing important talks and events to help us navigate our life here more smoothly.
There are lots of ways to find community here at Yale. I am very lucky to have found my home with my suite. Some may find it in their clubs and extracurricular activities, or perhaps their academic classes, or perhaps they will create their own community here and start something completely new and wonderful. It is such a liberating feeling to know that you have a team that will cheer you on in all of your endeavors, a team that will be honest with you and make you the best version of yourself. Some of us spend all our lives searching for that support system. Some of us will discover home around a tattered rug, sharing a small pint of ice cream with five other people, and complaining about the work you have but knowing deep down that you’ll all just end up watching episodes of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, the theme song of which sweetly proclaims – Here I am in your life, here you are in mine! Yes, we have a suite life, most of the time.