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Peculiar feelings only accompanied by dorm living

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NOVEMBER 15, 2022

Dorm living. The epitome of the real American college experience. At least, so they say. The dorm life comes with a host of feelings and experiences that are truly unique and only understood by those who have braved the journey. Chances are, if you’re a freshman, you’re actively experiencing the experience at the moment. If you’re an upperclassman, perhaps you can reminisce on it. Or not.    

The communal bathroom 

Walking into the bathroom only to see that, oh yes, someone else is also in there. Unbelievable. Another person in the communal bathroom? And when our eyes meet, there’s a mutual disappointment that we can’t help but feel. The awkward look of respect and understanding as we shift over retainer cases and squeezed-out toothpaste tubes. Heartwarming, really. 

The elevator 

Elevators in general are already awkward. But when it moves at micro increments of speed and is situated in a dorm of 200 college students — now that’s something else. Someone is carrying two bags of trash, the other one fro-yo, two in gym clothes and a mob of floor six residents giggling about floor six jokes only understood by floor six residents. You don’t know where to look and everyone keeps glancing at the monitor as if we aren’t used to being stuck on floor two for a very long time. Oh, and it’s not the best smelling. 

The laundry room 

Doing laundry is my favorite activity of the week. I look forward to it all day everyday. Heaving down my overdue clothing basket through the laundry room with an atmosphere that might as well be Mars and then paying almost five dollars for some clean underwear. Mmm so much love. No, but really, doing laundry is the utmost irritating errand that comes with dorm living. Could it be worse? Yes. Could it be better? Uh huh. But amid all the cleaning, washing and loading, there’s a moment the laundry room turns into a war zone: drying time. As the semester goes on, the machines go down one by one, leaving the proportion of washers to dryers, well, disproportionate. So, when someone finally comes to retrieve their warm, dry batch of clothes, they might as well have angel wings. And now, the fight begins. It’s every man for themselves.   

The dining hall 

The dining hall food is simultaneously not good but not bad at the same time. And I don’t mean that some days it’s a hit and other days a miss: every bite makes you question your own judgement. The food is objectively edible but you can’t figure out whether it tastes good or not. And judging by the conversations that take place at Café 3, “It’s not that bad, right?” is at the beginning of every conversation. It’s almost a philosophical turmoil of feeling like a bad person for thinking the edible food tastes bad but also wondering, Am I in denial? Am I seriously thinking this tastes great? Oh come on, we’re all thinking about it. Because sitting with my vegan rice, vegetarian tomato soup and pescatarian salmon, I wonder … about a lot of things. But don’t worry, I assure you, we’re all grateful in one way or another. 

Maybe we’ll look back on these moments all nostalgic and giggly. The good times, of course. 

Eh, probably not. 

Contact Haera Shin at 

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NOVEMBER 15, 2022