Arts, On Campus, Column

If (Dorm Room) Walls Could Talk

My roommates and I are decorating our last Boston College dorm room together.

Obviously, it’s a little sad, but as it has been in the past, it’s exciting, too.

When the four of us were shopping around for things that would deck out our Voute suite and make it fancy, I felt like a third grader let loose in the school supplies aisle of Target, picking out bright binders and Crayola crayons—all the trendiest back-to-class gear.

I remembered how, in elementary school, the designs on your notebook could say a lot about you. Flowers, stripes, or polka dots? It was never an easy question, but it was always fun to answer.

In college, it’s not that different. I may not care very much about what goes into my backpack, but I’ve thought a good bit about what I put on my common room walls.

Tapestries have replaced tape and flags have replaced folders, but the idea is the same—what do I want these things to say about me?

Over the years, my dorm room decorations have told an ever-changing story. As a freshman, I lived in a forced triple in Chevy. I shared a bunk with a cheerleader from Texas who had hot pink sheets and a cheetah print comforter, which would, more often than not, hang over from the top, turn my bottom bed into a sort of cave, and hide the little space I had to display my photos of my high school friends, my family, and my dog.

The next year, BC housing was kind to me, and I landed an eight-man in Walsh. My roommates, whom I didn’t know well at first, lined the doorway to the suite with Cosmo magazine covers, hung a Disney princess poster near the kitchen table, taped beer boxes by the fridge, and for some reason or other, ordered a life-size cop cutout to put next to the window. It was terrifying.

Junior year I hopped around, moving from my off campus house in the fall to a room in Edmond’s for the spring. That room, I discovered when I got there, had already been decorated by the girls who had formerly lived there—blue shower curtains tied with pink ribbons were draped above the TV, yellow feathered boas were lying on the window sills, and homemade flower balls were hanging from the ceiling. It was like Pinterest gone horribly wrong.

As a senior, I’m living with three of my best friends in a dorm room that has two whole floors of white walls that are just begging to be decorated.

It’s the first time I feel like I have the chance to make this place my own, but, believe it or not, it’s also the first time that I don’t want to.

With their eclectic and sometimes questionable tastes and styles, my various roommates have taught me more than I could have expected while I’ve been at college. I may never care for neon colors and animal prints like my freshman year roommate did, but she taught me to appreciate differences, and along the way, became a part of this story I’ve spent three years creating.

I bought 15 black empty picture frames for my suite from Amazon this weekend. They should be coming in the mail tomorrow, but I don’t plan on filling them by myself.

I want my roommates to do it, my friends, my family, and anyone or anything that’s meant or will mean something to me at BC to do it—because if these dorm room walls could talk, I don’t think it’d be only my story they’d tell. It’d be ours.

Featured Image Courtesy of Maria Ireland 

September 14, 2014