I have never necessarily been inclined toward neatness. In high school, my friends joked that I lived like a nomad, with enough stuff to live on for at least a week strewn haphazardly in the back of my car. My room wasn’t any better; a path leading to the bed was sometimes the only section of carpet that was visible.
When I was a freshman in college, my organizational skills only slumped. People would walk into my room and not be able to maintain eye contact due to the explosion of things on my floor. I lost my keys so often in the mountain of my things that my roommate took it upon herself to hang a hook by our door so that I would stop panicking each time I had to leave the room. I was convinced that I was busy and had no time to organize my stuff, but I came to dislike spending time in my room because it was so cluttered.
During my sophomore year, I moved into an apartment and wasn’t much better. While I made sure to keep communal spaces clean, I could barely negotiate my side of the room. Still, keeping my personal space remained pretty unimportant in comparison to my schoolwork and social life.
My major turning point came when I studied abroad in Costa Rica and lived with a host family. My Mamá Tica was obsessed with cleanliness and I only had a small amount of my things to keep organized. I took time each day to organize my closet and drawers, gaining a new found satisfaction in my spotless floor and not having to frantically dig around every time I needed my sunglasses or a particular pair of shoes.
Now, I live in the Spanish house on campus, and part of our grade involves cleaning the communal spaces of the house. We operate on a weekly rotating schedule of vacuuming, taking out the trash, and cleaning the kitchen. Compulsory cleaning plus a particularly orderly roommate have driven me to keep my room organized this year, and tonight I did a particularly hefty spring cleaning. I went through all of my school and personal items and made a collection of things to take home tomorrow when I visit my family for Easter tomorrow.
Now, looking at my vacuumed and dusted room, I feel incredibly satisfied. It may have taken 21 years, but I finally realized how much more peaceful I feel when my things are orderly rather than scattered on the floor. Cleaning all the time is still not my inclination, but it has become more of a habit over these past few years. The best development: I love spending time in my room.
Being Editor in Chief of the Free Press has some perks. One of those is finding out information before most other students on campus. This week I had the chance to break the news about a change in freshman housing on campus.
For years and years, it was traditional for students to be separated by gender in their freshman year. This fall, the incoming class of 2017 will experience something that other classes have not – coeducational housing. Both Whiteford (previously all girls) and Rouzer (previously all boys) will now be coed by floor and by wing.
This makes McDaniel similar to most other colleges around the country, but does it sacrifice one of those unique ‘rites of passage’ that students have grown to accept, and even like?
Looking back on my freshmen experience, I originally thought it was weird to not live with any boys in the building. But then I saw the boys’ dorm and the constant mess and I was grateful to be sharing with girls only. It didn’t prevent the girls from getting to know the boys, but it helped create more camaraderie among sexes.
Overall, I don’t think the change will be that different and I think that it is a good decision for the college, even if it does eliminate one of McDaniel’s unique characteristics.
One of the perks of reaching seniority on campus is the housing options. While students are only required to live on campus for their first three years (unless commuting), they are guaranteed housing for all four years. Since the housing options get nicer each year, many students will chose to live on campus for their entire undergraduate career.
This year I am living in North Village, a nice, newer, apartment style complex slightly removed from the physical campus with its own quad area. North Village is typically for senior students, however, there are the occasional lucky juniors or sophomores who get to live here.
I chose to live with 5 other girls, so to say our apartment is always interesting would be an understatement. Since we’ve only been here a week, we are still getting into routines and trying to decorate our kitchen, living room, and hallway.
We also lucked out because 5 of our guy friends live in an apartment downstairs from us. This means we don’t even have to leave the building and we automatically have 11 people to hang out with. So far, we have had movie nights, video game marathons, and even a family dinner. (Of course the girls were in charge of cooking but the boys were nice enough to do the dishes after.)
I’ve had many people ask me if I’m crazy for living in a six person apartment. But I figure this is my last year at school and when else will I be able to live with five of my best friends again?