My Dorm Life at Part 1
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I had very low expectations of my college room.
College wasn’t someplace I wanted to be, or at least not that college, so it really felt more like living out a sentence. I’d been convicted of being a Legacy and obtaining a scholarship and was sentenced to Fisk University for a term of not more than four years (I did meet a career student in his tenth year). Fisk is a HBC (Historically Black College) and my parents attended and met there, my Grandmother attended there. Me attending was a forgone conclusion. I’d set my sights on someplace considerably closer to home, but as Fisk was throwing money at my parents and I didn’t put much of an effort to really look anywhere else once that invitation rolled through, so it was my only option.
The majority of what I went down with was my Smith Corona PWP-990 (which I’m sure is still in the garage), some ink ribbons, stationary to write home for money with, books (I was reading the Blue Adept series) and the aforementioned impractical clothing. Everything else I needed we purchased at the Family Dollar when we drove to Nashville – washcloths, towels, bedding, toiletries. Simple, because I’d be home in a few months and I’d have to pack it all up at the end of the year so don’t go nuts.
I was billeted in Jubilee Hall. Ladies were two to a room, and it was mostly quiet and huge with 10 ft ceilings and for illegal male callers, a climb of 6 flights of stairs to the second floor. Staying in Jubilee was an honor reserved for Seniors when my mother attended, and when I arrived, for Legacies (like me) and people lucky enough not to draw Shane or Crosswaite Halls. Those dorms were like a cross between the Wild, Wild West and the Lower East Side with lots of fights, an unbearable noise level (for an introvert like me) and girls crammed three and four to a room.
The majority of what I went down with was my Smith Corona PWP-990 (which I’m sure is still in the garage), some ink ribbons, stationary to write hone with, books (I was reading the Blue Adept series) and the aforementioned impractical clothing. Everything else I needed we purchased at the Family Dollar when we drove to Nashville – washcloths, towels, bedding, toiletries. Simple, because I’d be home in a few months and I’d have to pack it all up at the end of the year so don’t go nuts.
In contrast, my very first roommate brought a department store and everything was pink. I remember she’d arrived before I did and claimed the bed by the window. She and her parents then spent literally hours cleaning the room – the walls, the floors, putting screening on the windows to keep mosquitoes, flies and flying roaches out. When we’d arrived we introduced ourselves, there was no mechanism for us to meet prior, and then we went shopping. When we returned, her side of the room was completely decorated down to rugs on the floor and a small tv.
She was from money I was middle class. She never let me forget it for the two excruciating months I had to live with her. She had credit cards, a bank account and lots of cash. My dad drove visited on occasion and dropped of $50.00, or mom would send a check to my campus PO Box. Everything nice and soft and shiny and excessive was hers. Mine was very basic, easy to clean, and with the pillow I’d stolen from my mom’s bed, all I needed. With enough complaints to the dorm mother, Mrs Lords and her ancient teacup poodle, I was called messy and uncooperative (I wouldn’t stay gone when she wanted company) and asked to find other accommodations. That’s how I ended up on the fourth floor, another six flights up for illegal male callers, but quieter, friendlier, and frankly more my speed.
My room was much smaller with a bed, a desk, chair and a window I didn’t need screening for because being the equivalent of 6 stories up meant nothing with segmented bodies flew that high. I had a view of the Cumberland River, a few miles away, I made great new friends across the hall, and when there were panty raids, the raiders from the sole male dorm never made the trek all the way to Four.
My former roommate was busted a few weeks later for not only having a boy in her room – some Kappa Alphi Psi making the rounds – but for loudly broadcasting having a boy in her room. Money doesn’t mean discretion and no one was buying it was that good.