So you want to know what your res hall/dorm room/living spaces are going to be like? My journey through Skidmore res hall living is similar to the trajectory of most other students here, so to give you an idea of what it’s like, here’s a year-by-year tour in words and pictures of the different places in which I’ve lived at Skidmore.
FRESHMAN YEAR: A triple in Howe-Rounds.
Triple rooms might be the bane of many a first-year’s existence, but I look at my triple experience as a county fair of sorts: sometimes it was easy and fun (like a carousel), sometimes it was a little uncomfortable (like riding the Tilt-a-Whirl after eating a corn dog) and sometimes it was absurd (like watching the pig race) but it was always entertaining and we all came out alive.
To use another extended metaphor, decorating when sharing a room with two other people is like making a smoothie. You’re mixing all of your individual flavors together. Sometimes your design senses are in harmony — like a mango peach pineapple smoothie, yum. Sometimes your aesthetics aren’t so compatible and that’s when you get the dorm room equivalent of putting bananas, spinach and pomegranate in the blender together. My room, Howe 134, often clashed. It was okay. Part of the experience and chaos of freshman year.
Oh, and it should be said: all dorm rooms come with a bed, desk, and closet/wardrobe space for each resident. The Tibetan peace flags, octopus lamps, wall pops and posters of Bob Marley/Audrey Hepburn are all up to you.
SOPHOMORE YEAR: A single in Jonsson Tower.
I was an RA in a single room — living the sophomore dream. My room had a killer view (I was on the tenth floor) and I was living by myself at school for the first time, which means many a night was spent making hot chocolate and enjoying the relative silence.
The downside of not having a roommate is missing that special roommate camaraderie, but it was easily remedied by turning my single into a haven of tranquility, a little Zen room in the sky, a place to recover from the stress of the sophomore slump. The sunsets from the tenth floor certainly did the trick.
JUNIOR YEAR: Scribner Village, woo wooo!
Scribner is one of the apartment complexes Skidmore has for upperclassmen, and it’s an upgrade and a downgrade at the same time. Upgrade: living in a Scribner apartment means getting your own kitchen and living room, living in a community with fellow upperclassmen and picking the people you want to live with. Downgrade: Scribner was built 30 years ago as temporary housing and as such has a very “temporary” quality, to put it kindly. My apartment, Hickory A, was like a bunk at a summer camp.
Scribner is down in the middle of a wooded area, so acorns rained down upon our roof and squirrels terrorized the Dumpsters. Things flooded, things broke. Some of it was our fault, like the time my housemate put dish soap in the dishwasher and white fluffy foam gushed out onto the kitchen floor.
Scribner was an exercise in survival. We decorated it the best we could, had potlucks and movie marathons, and made it our own.
Hickory A and the rest of Scribner are like Charlie Brown, or the Mets: lovable losers. By the time you prospective students get here in the next couple of years, Scribner will be bulldozed and replaced with shiny new apartments, but it will always be remembered fondly by those who lived in those dingy boxes.
SENIOR YEAR: Northwoods — the ultimate.
Northwoods is the other apartment complex. Living in the Northwoods apartments is like Swiss ski chalets without the pain of actually having to go skiing. Note the recycling bins and compost buckets. Also that door under the big 5 leads to the laundry room. Huzzah!
Here is our kitchen/dining room. Note the squishy butterfly chair, chili pepper lights and surfeit of coffee-making appliances.
The living room. Note the Skidmore blanket (school spirit, cozy-style), neutral-colored couches and chairs that avoid offending anyone’s sensibilities, and rolling hill/grassy knoll in the background.
My bedroom. Note the book and notebook sitting on my bed, representing several hours of library work.
So that’s where I live now. This little tour has made me nostalgic…hope you’ve enjoyed it!
Thursdays: for me, they’re way busier than Wednesdays, kind of busier than Mondays, and not as busy as Tuesdays. Here’s my Thursday.
9:25 Accompany friend Caroline to the Atrium for pre-class coffee. The Atrium is the front segment of the dining hall, a little convenience store where you can buy coffee, snacks, Hot Pockets and delicious tubes of chocolate chip cookie dough. And hey, Dunkin’ Donuts donuts for sale.
It’s rainy today. Rain at Skidmore means half the campus is prepared and the other half forgets to look outside before exiting the res halls. There are rain boots and soggy sneakers in equal proportion. The tree on the green is turning all autumnal!
9:40 Go to class – Shakespeare’s Comedies, Histories and Romances. Professor Cahn likens Richard II to today’s politics. If Henry Herford has the charisma of a Clinton or an Obama, our friend Richie the Second is more like…John Kerry. Class is entertaining; at one point, Prof Cahn waves his hands around and says, “You can’t miss this line! Your whole day will be ruined!”
11:10 Go to next class – 20th Century African American Novels. We’re reading Their Eyes Were Watching God. Discussion is good – our professor guides us without getting dictatorial. I also love that this course is taught by the head of the English department and he still managed to learn all of our names. He even went around our circle and got ‘em all right. We golf-clapped for him.
12:30 Go home and eat a quick grilled cheese sammich before hitting the library. I’m writing up some discussion notes for my senior English seminar and working on a review of the latest Das Racist album. Library is peaceful.
3:40 Senior seminar on James Joyce’s Ulysses. We all have to take turns leading the discussions and today’s my turn. We talk about nightmares, Hamlet, the Odyssey, milkmaids, med students, Catholicism, drinking black coffee, and making fun of poets. It goes well. The nine of us in the class all have to write 40+ page papers by the end of the semester. SCARY STUFF INDEED.
5:15 The annual Fox-Adler book arts lecture is the next building over: Irvin Ungar talks about the Polish artist Arthur Szyk, who did everything from medieval-style illuminated manuscripts to anti-Nazi propaganda cartoons to an illustrated Haggadah. The colors Szyk uses are brilliant – Ungar shows us a really charming picture of men with cotton candy hued turbans. Once Szyk’s art was on a billboard in Times Square — does that ever happen anymore?
Ungar also tells us a story about how he got Szyk (who died in 1951) a show in the German Historical Museum in 2008 by sheer luck; the museum director had just had a cancellation, and Ungar proposed the show to him at the opportune moment. The whole lecture was fascinating, especially owing to Ungar’s oratory prowess. Real books aren’t dead, y’all.
6:30 Snag complimentary cheese cubes from lecture reception, then head home just in time for massive rainstorm. It is dumping buckets outside. Make tea and watch telly.