Recreating my freshman dorm
In these uncertain and lonely times, I find joy in my photos and string lights. When I packed up my dorm room and flew home to Seattle, I was aware that I would not be returning to freshman year as I knew it. Waiting for me was my childhood bedroom, nightly dinners with family instead of friends and a three-hour time difference. As I stared at the blank pink walls of my room on my first night home, I attempted to mentally prepare for my first online class the next day. Regaining a feeling of normalcy might actually be pretty difficult. I decided the first step to feeling motivated to finish out the semester was to make the place where I grew up feel a little closer to my room back in South Quad.
Aside from the fact that I definitely have a little more closet space here and no longer share my space with another student, I figured my room at home didn’t have to be all that different from my dorm. I could hang some command hooks, find an outlet for my Christmas lights, and put up the obligatory freshman dorm tapestry; I could even put my name tag on the outside of my door.
My favorite part of the decorating process was spending a considerable amount of time picking my favorite photos from my first year of college to print out. In my rush to pack up everything and leave campus, it was hard to make time to actually reflect on my experiences and why I was so sad to leave. Now that I’m back in my eerily quiet house, though, that’s pretty much all I think about. Looking back at photos from the fall and winter was such a great way to remember all of the fun adventures from before the pandemic. At school, I had taped photos of my friends from high school on my wall to remind me of home. Now these are mixed in with new ones that remind me of Ann Arbor. It makes me so happy to sit at my desk and glance up at photos of my new friends smiling in the Big House hanging next to photos from high school graduation and prom.
When I fall asleep now it is to the sound of rain on my roof instead of the music and footsteps of the people in the room above me. Every morning I slowly make my way downstairs to a quiet breakfast with my siblings instead of the laughter and gossip-filled morning meals with friends in the big orange booths of the dining hall that I had grown so accustomed to. But when I walk back up to my room and open my laptop to listen to my 1 p.m. philosophy lecture, I am comforted by the fact that at least my walls look a little like how they did in Michigan.