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If you were required to stay in a dorm freshman year, you know how it works: Girls floor on the first floor, boys on second, girls on third, and so on. In the dorm I lived in, Gaillardia, there were about 600 rooms and I guesstimate that at least 50 of them were on my floor. Freshman year was brand new, as it is for everyone, and it was like starting with a clean slate. No one knew who I was, what I believed in, what I stood for, or where I came from.
And that’s why no one will ever know me like the girls I lived in a dorm with my freshman year of college.
- The girls have seen you at your worst. Whether you’re waking up for your 8 a.m. psychology class or coming home stumbling at 3 a.m. after your first house party, the girls on your floor have seen it. They’ve seen you without make-up on and your hair going in all different directions. They know how your hair acts when it’s wet. They know that if it’s super messed up in the morning, you slept really well. They know that if you were fighting with your high school sweetheart last night, your eyes will still be red and swollen in the morning. If you come home drunk and can’t make it to the restroom because you can’t get the key in the door, they sit with you outside the restroom with a bottle of water until you feel better. And they won’t tell the maintenance women which one of you five that share that certain restroom threw up in front of the door.
- The girls have heard all your drama. And can relate. Boy problems? Sweetie, sit next to me so we can talk about how much boys suck. The girls you now share this hallway with are all going through the same thing, just different versions of it. They can understand being ditched, thrown aside, forgotten, and left. They know what heartbreak feels like. As the old saying goes, “I’m really good at giving advice, even though I should be the one following it myself.”The girls you now share your secrets with are the same girls that have faith in you to keep theirs as well. You share this big home with them and are far away from home. It feels nice to talk to people and these girls are conveniently located just outside your door.
- All of the girls know each other’s lifestyles. Stephanie is going to stay up all night for her test, but she hasn’t been studying at all the past couple of days. Hannah’s been in the study room everyday for at least 3 hours a day. There goes Brittany with her Starbucks, she probably pulled an all-nighter.When you live in a dorm with these girls for a whole year, you know what they’re up to and you never really have to ask. Some girls have a set schedule and will never stay up past 11 unless their favorite show is on. Some girls will stay out all night no matter how important their test is. Some girls will take up the study room for days trying to get on Dean’s List. One thing is for sure: you will all start to understand each other the closer it gets to the end of the year.
- You learn surprising things about each other. Freshman year, my RA’s held an event exclusively on our floor that was for women only. During this event, the representative had us take out a little sheet of paper and write a secret on it then put it in the box (or bowl) she passed around. When she started reading the sheets of paper, we all learned a little bit more about each other. What was so awesome about this exercise was that it got us all talking to each other, even to people that we never really got along with before. We started sharing secrets, tips, and embarrassing stories. Things you wouldn’t just tell someone on a casual day.The girls on my floor are some of the only girls to know some of my embarrassing secrets.
- You become family. As I mentioned earlier, you will start to understand the girls you live with the closer it gets to the end of the year. With that, your bond becomes stronger. Whether you got along or not, you’d experienced interactions with these girls that you’ll rarely experience with other strangers. The feeling of having someone right next door to you will start to become normal and when you move out and go separate ways, you feel a little empty. Why? Because throughout the year, if you felt like socializing with people, all you had to do was step out of your room and walk a few feet to the common area where you all gathered after everyone took a shower and settled down for the day. You talked about how your days went, what happened in class, who you met, and what happened at that crazy party. You knew every girl’s favorite pair of pajamas, favorite snack, favorite music, all of that. Having someone there was never so easy. Everyone was going through the same thing and it tied you together in a way you could never really explain.
I dedicate this post to the girls on the 5th floor of Gaillardia from the freshman, class of 2012. No one will ever know me like those girls did back then and even though we’ve all changed a lot the past few years, we all have seen each other grow throughout college and become the women we are today. In my honest opinion, I wouldn’t be who I was without them. So, lady bobcats, appreciate, love, and get to know the girls you live with. No one will understand you like they do.