5 Stories that Prove Living in a Small Dorm Brings You Together

To be honest when housing assignments first came out in August, we had some reservations. We saw that we'd been assigned to one of the smallest dorms on campus and would be living on an all girls’ floor. We thought that not living in a bigger, co-ed dorm like Adams would rob us of the true college experience. However, as the weeks passed, we have grown to embrace the good, the bad, the weird and the really weird things that happen in Cooper and couldn’t be happier to live on our floor.


Elvis Parsley

As First Years, we were informed that we are only allowed to have fish in our dorms as pets, but one day one of us brought home a creature that didn’t exactly fit into that rule. A beautiful green and black-striped caterpillar crawled its way out of the parsley patch by Britton Plaza and into our hearts. Emily found one of our floormates poking around the patch and had hoped to ignore it; however, the girl returned with a red bowl containing parsley and a sweet creature crawling on it. She asked us what to name the caterpillar and we coined him “Elvis Parsley.” Adorable Elvis only stayed with us for a couple of days until we realized that taking care of an animal (even a caterpillar) was hard for us to do, so we returned him to his natural habitat. As a floor, we didn’t feel that it was right to just throw him back into the patch, he had to be given a proper going away ceremony. We each bid Elvis farewell as “Pomp and Circumstance” played in the background. We are now proud to say that Elvis Parsley is the only Class of 2016 graduate of the Dickinson College Parsley Patch (his reach school) with a degree in Eating!

Baby Mice

Domesticating wild animals has become a recurring theme around Cooper. Last weekend, several of us went home, leaving our floor nearly empty. The few remaining residents were bored and lonely. Naturally, their solution to this was to procure mice and raise them in a UPS box in our dorm. Meanwhile, the rest of us were off-campus, either visiting family and friends or recovering from the Dickinson Plague (also known as the Dickinflu). We were all alarmed by a slew of messages that suddenly appeared in our GroupMe on Saturday afternoon. The conversation started with a panicked: “GUYS APPARENTLY [THE MICE] NEED TO BE FED ASAP OR THEY WILL DIE! HOW DO WE GET PEDIALYTE?” This was followed by various arguments whether or not we needed baby formula and if putting mice under a desk lamp was a smart decision.

Hours later, we received some heartbreaking news: the floor’s two baby mice, Joan of Arc and John Lennon, had passed away. The residents who were not there to witness the life and death of John Lennon and Joan of Arc assumed that the mice were buried upon this discovery… we were wrong. For some reason, the girls who took in the pet mice felt that the best thing to do was to hide them in the common room cabinets, where we were storing our RA’s birthday cake for the next day.

It was a Sunday night, over 24 hours after their death, when the residents were finally able to gather the strength to say goodbye to their beloved, now disintegrated mice. While the burial was supposed be for family members (our floor) only, onlookers approached us to see why we were digging a hole with a trowel in our bathrobes at 11:30pm on a weekday. It wasn’t long before a text was sent to the RAs: “This floor [we’ve been keeping an eye on] might be too squad... I just saw them burying a dead thing behind their [building].”

Disney Princesses

Many RAs like to put decorations on students’ doors; however, we take initiative over here in the Quads. While we loved the jellyfish our RA greeted us with at the beginning of the year, our communal love for Disney princesses inspired some of our floor mates to come up with a Disney princess that represented each girl’s personality. As seen below, Emily’s Disney princess is Belle, because of her love of reading and writing, and Julia’s princess is Megara, because of her sassy and fun personality. All of us had come in after a long day of classes and loved the surprise.

Condom Party

Our first encounter with our RA, Cheyenne (who is the best), was absolutely memorable! She welcomed us with a smile, told us about the Dickinson code of conduct and encouraged us to take the condoms in the bathroom if we ever needed them.  We didn’t realize she would be so direct with that information about (safe) sex. The box containing the condoms advertises, “Take what you need, be safe and have and fun!”

Recently it was Cheyenne’s 21st birthday (woot woot!) and we needed to throw a party for her.  We baked a cake, decorated with Cheyenne in mind and all that was left to get were the birthday balloons. We decided that there was no better way to celebrate her birthday than with condom balloons! One of us brought a balloon pump from home and we thought we were all set, unfortunately the condoms wouldn’t fill up with air. Our solution was to use water instead and it worked! 

When Cheyenne came home we surprised her with condom balloons hung on the window shades in our common room. A condom party was definitely the best way to celebrate our beloved RA’s birthday!

Movie Mondays

We promise that we’re really not that crazy! Despite all of the strange things that happen on our floor, we are able to help each other adjust to college life. Within the first week of being here, we already started to establish a routine on Mondays. Often because it was the start of the week, we all liked to pick a movie and gather together in the common room downstairs to watch. It has become a nice way to begin a week full of work and classes.

At first it was a casual thing, then we actually started to vote on and announce which movies we would watch that night. It has actually come to the point where we have official voting and announcements to celebrate Movie Monday! Making it a ritual to watch these movies as a floor has really helped us to form a community. When we’re stressed out from classes and work we can always count on the rest of the girls on the floor to cheer us up! 

Every freshman has fears about dorm life. It’s easy to fall into a trap of staying in your room and binge watching Grey’s Anatomy or FaceTiming a friend at another college. While we all do those totally normal things occasionally, we’ve come to realize that all of these memories and moments with our floor mates make putting yourself out there so worth it. The fun experiences we have shared so far make it easy to lean on each other during our difficult transition to college. Whether it’s a midnight impromptu rap session or a Disney movie marathon, it’s only more proof that our floor is, as the RAs said, just too “too squad.”


All images courtesy of the authors