I was lucky to have decent dorm luck my last year at Lake Forest College. In the past it’s been bad. Let’s review, shall we?
Freshman year, Roberts dorm. It’s shoddy and not substance-free and I was in a quad.
Sophomore year , McClure dorm. It’s a twin of shoddy Roberts, but substance free. I had a off of a landing in the stairwell and students here call it a “suicide single”. It was tiny, and the bed was permanently lofted over the desk and armoire and permanently blocking the window. There was no set of drawers (I stacked Rubbermaid containers in the armoire) and to use the bathroom you had to go downstairs and people in the stairway were really noisy. The best part was that I had a sink in the room.
Junior year, I was hoping to move up in the world, but instead ended up in McClure again! This time in a single in a ground-floor hallway which was quieter and involved less going up and down. It was still small, and I missed my sink, and the window looked out onto the path—which means that most of the campus probably saw me in some state of undress.
But senior year things worked out a little better, as they should: Fall semester I was living in Chicago on the Gold Coast. I had a small, but livable fourth floor apartment directly across from the vintage elevators. It had a kitchen and a bathroom. It had murphy-beds, and more windows and more furniture than most of the other apartments in the building and we made sure it had cable and internet. We could walk a couple of blocks and find ourselves at the Lake, at the eL, at the grocery store, at a club, or in the Loop. It was pretty great.
In the spring it was a crapshoot. I’d given up my room lottery by studying off-campus and so they basically put me wherever they had room. Luckily, they had room for me in a pretty, old dorm in close proximity to my friends. This room is also really really small, but it’s on the first floor and it’s the woman’s dorm so it’s quiet and nice and it’s really not so bad. And the best part is the view:
My room this semester looks out over the ravine. Not only does this mean I get to be naked as much as I like, it also means I can lay in my bed and gaze out at whatever weather there may be and whatever the seasons might be doing at the time. Right now it’s warm and sunny and becoming green. (The photo above is from the fall... and not taken out of my window... but it seemed to fit best). The leaves are coming out and dusting the trees with that new golden-green, and maybe by graduation they will grow into the full lush green of summer.
I was just looking out and contemplating the branches. The limbs of some of these trees grow out of the trunk and towards the sky… but then abruptly change directions. I theorize that part of the limb was cut off and so it put all of it’s energy into growing a branch and so now the limb looks like it’s bending at a 75 degree or a 100 degree or even a sharp 90 degree angle. Never an acute angle though… which is getting to my point. These trees, their limbs change directions suddenly and abruptly, but whether it happened naturally or it happened because something was cut off they still keep growing towards the sky.
While I know it’s not a very novel analogy, our lives are like those branches. Things happen and our directions change, but we keep growing up.