To The New Resident of My First Year Room

Location: 
Skidmore College
Saratoga Springs, NY
United States
37° 5' 24.864" N, 95° 42' 46.4076" W
US

Dearest Current Residents of 328,

            When you got to Skidmore, unloaded your car in front of Penfield, and walked up a few flight of stairs, you stopped to find yourself in front of a door. Scuffed here and there with paint, slightly discolored over time, 328 has a door like any other. You don’t know that my roommates and I covered it with bats for Halloween, or changed our labels out front to “Elf” characters for Christmas, or wrote lengthy horrendously beautiful poems and, of course, memes for each other on the whiteboard. You don’t know that you’re living in the absolute best room on campus.

            Now, I know you’re disappointed to be living in Penfield. The stairway kind of smells like socks bathing in vinegar, and it’s dark, and- yeah ok, there are stink bugs, but please don’t let that get to you. Your suitemate could become your best friend, like mine did, and she may bravely prance through the bathroom barefoot during the late hours of the wild Penfield nights just to lay down in your window seat. In fact, in Penfield, your future best friends surround you. They’re your roommates, and classmates, and they’re even the kid at the end of the hall you never thought you would be close to. And when they knock on the door, and they will because it’s 328, you’ll let them into a home.

            That’s what 328 is, a home. Not just to my most amazing roommates and I, but also to everyone that encounters it. It ‘s the place where shoes come off, and naps are taken, and Chinese food is ordered. And it’s loud. You’re always laughing in 328, screeching, even, I won’t judge. Light bulbs glow so bright they explode, and roommates scream at spiders no bigger than the nail on your pinky finger, and you will never feel so safe anywhere else after you’ve lived here, because, despite Penfield and her flaws, 328 is a shelter.

            I think about this silly room in Penfield every day, and I take a minute to miss it. My first year of college could so easily have been a travesty, but, thanks to the best friends I woke up to every morning sleeping across from me, and the late nights we spent with our floor-mates in 328, it wasn’t. Listen to me, it may just feel like a room now, but give it a chance. Let yourself sink into it, feel comfy and happy and good in it. You’re us living in a magical room, a room that has a history of incredible friendship and joy. You’re living in our home--make it your home, now.

            Do me a favor if you read this; go to the window seat. Look at the tree right out front, if it’s daytime look at the birds and the squirrels, if it’s night just look at Wiecking and wonder if their stairwells also smell like a bad salad. No matter what time of day it is, crane your head around the screen and look at the brick wall. You’ll see three letters etched into the wall with white paint. That’s our legacy, my roommates’ and mine. It’s the fate of those who live in 328. You leave your mark there, hopefully only on the bricks, and at the end of the year you pack up, maybe cry, and move on to the green pastures of Joto. We left 328- home- behind, love and warmth and stinkbugs and all, for you to make your own. Treat her well. 

Sincerely,

Previous Resident of 328