Living on campus? Relax, it could be worse

By Brian Martucci

Many of the underclassmen I’ve talked to agree that one of the weakest aspects of the Macalester undergrad experience is that forced period of dorm living we all have to slog through as freshmen and sophomores. Dupre, Doty, Turck-I mean, Turck’s physically nice, and I suppose Wallace is too, but really all these dorms are the same on the inside.

They’re cramped and crowded with tons of people who don’t necessarily get along. The bathrooms and common rooms are often ludricrously filthy (those common kitchens?), and the rooms we’re made to live in for over six months out of the year are in only a few instances built comfortably enough to make such extended occupancy bearable.

So a little more than a month ago, I returned to the country from a really fun study abroad experience in the UK, excited for the spring semester of my junior year.

I’d lined up what looked to be some cool classes that would actually count towards my major (how often does that happen?). I had an opening to return to the same job I’d had last spring and summer, and I was pumped to live with three of my good friends in a nice clean house close to campus.

‘Optimistic’ just doesn’t do my feelings justice-I was ecstatic for spring semester to begin.

Well, don’t count your chickens before they hatch. The past month has been a grab-bag of stressful occurrences, petty disputes and general unpleasantness.

For starters there’s the food situation-who knew that having a sparkly new kitchen at your disposal meant ending that classic love-hate relationship all campus-dwellers maintain with Café Mac?

My knowledge of “cooking” before this semester stopped at adjusting the dials on a gas stove to boil some water for a tasty Annie’s mac and cheese snack.

Ovens? Please. The first time my roommates suggested making some lasagna for a Tuesday night treat (who the hell celebrates Tuesday nights?), I laughed in their faces.

Then there’s the bathroom situation. I lived in Dupre last year, so I’m no stranger to big bathrooms shared by more people who don’t have sinks in their room than is perhaps sanitary.

But those places are relatively impersonal. Sure, you’ll find the occasional toothbrush or shampoo bottle (or, if you share the bathroom with people like my roommate Charlie, the odd crumpled, shotgunned beer can) lying around on the sinks or in the shower.

But at least none of your floormates are crass enough to leave their tampons sitting on the shelf-not even in the medicine cabinet, guys, but on the shelf above the toilet. In my experience, Tampax boxes sit on shelves in places where people buy tampons, not in mixed-sex bathrooms in private residences. Wow.

But the most irksome thing about living with three other people you thought were your friends has to be the social aspect of the whole thing.

Don’t get me wrong: it’s great living with people you know well-you already sort of know their habits, what makes them tick, their schedules, and so on. Or at least you think you do.

There’s always stuff going on in peoples’ heads that they don’t share-that’s what makes them their own private heads. When you live with someone long enough, though, some of that private stuff starts to come out and make itself known.

Remember that Family Guy episode where Stewie approaches Brian and asks in that inimitable drawn-out singsong voice, “Hey Brian.what’s the deal with Geena Davis? She used to be in moooovies but she’s not in moooovies anymore.?”

Pretty funny, right?

Right-unless your name is Brian and your roommate thinks it’s hilarious to bombard you with that quote four or five times a day for a month straight.

“Hey Brian.” “What?” “What’s the deal.”

Let me tell you, it gets old.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that thinking twice about stepping out into the great big world beyond Summit or St Clair Avenues is underrated.

Just think, freshmen and sophomores-when you’re my age, you’ll be able to live in Kirk!

If you’re lucky.

Contact Managing Editor Brian Martucci ’09 at [email protected]