Exploring My (Lack of) Space at the Freshman Dorms

I’m sure many of you remember your days as a freshman in college, probably living in the dorms. If you don’t, I’m going to refresh your memory. In the coming weeks, I will attempt to expose not only the realities of living in the dorms, but also the campus experience as a whole. You might need some tissue and perhaps a vomit bag, just to be safe.
My name is Saurabh, and I live in the Mesa Court community. I am in the process of adjusting to dorm life, but I don’t think I’ll accomplish that goal in this lifetime. It’s not just the food, or the crowded conditions, or the lack of air circulation within the individual rooms. It’s all of those things, and much more.
Let’s begin with the gargantuan space I have in my dorm. Living in my triple room has been quite the experience. Sometimes it can be a little cramped, but that brings with it its advantages.
For instance, often when I stand up to leave my desk, I ram my head against the metal railing supporting the edge of my bunk bed. You’d think that after hitting this thing every other day, I would have learned my lesson by now. But, my theory is that every time I hit it, I kill off the brain cells that would have been responsible for me remembering to be careful next time.
Don’t get the impression that I’m really that cramped. No, no. It’s a beautiful thing to have your desk literally lodged underneath your bed. While my roommates only get a view of the fresh outdoors, I am blessed with the opportunity of not only being able to stare at the wall for hours, but also of having a mattress with supporting ‘railings of pain’ for a roof.
As an added bonus, as my back is to my two roommates, I am perpetually paranoid with the feeling that they are reading my e-mails with me. Sleeping isn’t much of a different story. If I sit up on my bed, I bang my head on the roof again. I figure this will come in handy when the fire alarm goes off one morning. I’ll be scared out of bed, ram my head against the roof, get knocked down into a state of unconsciousness, and burn to a crisp.
There is a fourth member of our room. He’s a three-and-a-half-foot guitar that belongs to one of my roommates. Of course, my roommate’s a novice at playing it, so he literally strums my pain with his fingers when he practices. And when he’s not playing, the guitar likes to situate itself next to my desk while its gigantic case rests in my closet. In a matter of weeks, I think it’s going to completely usurp my side of the room. But it’s nice to have someone to stare at the wall with.
I have actually learned a lot about the habits of boys. For instance, we all have trashcans we keep by our beds. However, I noticed that whenever theirs got full, they would start using mine instead of making the 200-foot trip outside the hall to empty their own. Since I have cleverly hid my can under my desk, I now find a nice pile of garbage on the floor, waiting for my attention. Another thing that has particularly sparked my curiosity has been learning the extent to which boys don’t wash their hands. I’ve decided that this is out of a sheer laziness embodied in their unwillingness to spend a couple of bucks to actually buy some soap. Of course, I am the only one that cares enough about our whole dorm not contracting meningitis to be the sole purchaser of this soap. Usually, however, as a result of their reckless usage, the bottles I buy barely last a couple of weeks. You know that old saying, ‘You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink?’ Yeah you can. It’s just that he drinks so much that he doesn’t leave enough water for any of the other horses. This recently led me to tape a ‘Use Conservatively’ sign above the new soap dispenser I bought. And if that doesn’t work, I give up.
It’s back to using shampoo as a refill. This is dorm life.

Remember similar experiences? Questions? Comments? I’d love to hear. E-mail me at saurabhs@uci.edu.