Home, Sweet, Any Home

It’s almost primitive. Those at the top gather quickly in groups of four or five, carving out their territory, warding off possible claims from others by baring their claws and establishing their dominance. Those further down the food chain scramble for any remaining spots and then, when all else fails and there aren’t any other options, there is always the lottery. “It is suicide,” one girl whispers, eyes wide with terror. And everyone seems to agree with her. I am, of course, talking about housing, the process that has made far too many boarders sigh, “I wish I were a day student.” Housing gives us a chance to exercise the useful survival skills that one can pick up at boarding school. It has made boarders go crazy and left day students to watch their antics with unmistakable amusement and occasionally outright boredom. I haven’t seen any event with a similar effect on freshmen since Sadie Hawkins. As opposed to worrying about potential dates, girls are torn between who to pick as their roommates and whether to put Paul Revere or Day Hall as their first choice in the lottery. The boys, on the other hand, are crossing their fingers and begging upperclassmen to pull them into dorms. It would be unfair to say that this craze is limited to underclassmen. As a matter of fact, the upperclassman housing process follows the patterns of Darwinian selection even more closely than that of underclassmen. With the potential stacks that fall apart every two minutes, only to reemerge as a completely different list of people, and the infinite number of people who are hoping to get pulled-in to Paul Revere, it’s no wonder that I’m reminded of the movie “Mean Girls” several times a day. And as for me? I have grown accustomed to people protesting my housing decisions, like my choice to remain in Alumni House. They point to issues like its distance from campus and warn me of its evolution into a “green boot camp.” But how can it possibly matter where you live as long as you’re living with your best friends? Why does a “Green Pilot” have to be scary? Why can’t we look at it as an awesome learning experience à la Michael Kontaxis’ Green Cup video? After dismissing all the rumors that we would be going without heat and water for the whole year, washing all of our clothes by hand and only eating food from our own garden (where the only things that actually grow are oddly yellow weeds) allow me to explain what the dorm will actually be like. We will be monitoring our electricity usage and supplementing our meals with fresh produce from local merchants. We would also support green initiatives around campus, such as bringing in guest speakers or starting a green clothing line. I bring up this example because I’m tired of asking people where they are living next year only to hear, “My top five are Adams, Johnson, Day Hall…” Those are wonderful dorms with great people and a fun atmosphere, but most people want to move for the wrong reasons. They think that life will suddenly be more colorful and glamorous and that five more minutes of sleep would transform their lives. However, my past experiences in a dorm of over 40 girls have shown me that it’s the people you live with and what you make of the environment that define your experience. The building itself is irrelevant. So stop ditching you roommates at the last second to get pulled-in by someone else. Stop asking people to stack with you if you don’t mean it and stop thinking that your life will be over if you pull a 500 on the lottery. You never know. It might just turn out well. Tia Baheri is a new Lower from Plano, TX.