as posted by Martha Hoverson
Yesterday I returned my middle child for his second year of college. He’s an experienced dorm resident, having spent two years at a boarding high school. In the lounge at the end of his floor I found a suite of This End Up furniture that took me back to my years in the Theta house at William and Mary. I remember polishing that furniture with my sorority sisters every spring, just before we headed off for Beach Week at Nags Head.
Mindful that many others are heading off to further schooling or delivering their loved ones to the institutions that provide it, here are five questions about dorm life.
1) What was the hardest thing to leave behind when you went away to school for the first time?
A private bathroom. I lived in an “old school” (pun intended) dorm with a common bathroom and shower in the middle of the hallway. My dorm room was the closest to the bathroom/shower so my roommate and I left our door open almost all of the time so we could talk to everyone as they traveled up and down the hall.
2) We live in the era of helicopter parents. How much fuss did your parents make when you first left home?
I was an incredibly independent child in spite of my mother’s attempts to be an helicopter parent before anyone knew that terminology. However, my school was 5 hours away and my sister was 8 so my mother didn’t really want to drive 10 hours round trip. So, she didn’t. I moved all of my stuff by myself into the room in the middle of the hallway on the top floor of the dorm. While I could’ve used a little help moving the TV, I was thrilled not to have my mother with me.
3) Share a favorite memory of living with schoolmates, whether in a dorm or other shared housing.
The college roommate with whom I continue to stay in contact have several stories about which we could say “you can’t rat me out because you’d be in trouble too.” However, one publicly tell-able tale is that just after the completion of I-435 at about 11:30 pm one night, we decided that we should drive the entire loop. So, windows down, jamming to the tunes, we did.
4) What absolute necessity of college life in your day would seem hilariously out-of-date now?
Floppy disks, both 5.25 and 3.5 with dot matrix paper.
5) What innovation of today do you wish had been part of your life in college?
Laptops and online library databases/catalogs.
Bonus question for those whose college days feel like a long time ago: Share a rule or regulation that will seem funny now. Did you really follow it then?
10:00 pm curfew to be in the dorm. Nope. Due to my on-campus student job, I had a dorm key. I regularly used it for both legitimate and illegitimate access after hours.