I live in an off-campus dorm house. It’s a place where international students and eclectic American students come to live harmoniously. When you arrive at the house, you join an enormous, loving pre-made family. It’s great for introverts and extroverts alike – with activities to feed the cultural-awareness desire that burns eternally in your heart.

It’s a great house, truly, and I wouldn’t change my experience here for the world. In fact, I will be here next semester and I hope to have an even better experience as a veteran rather than a newbie resident.

I think, as a newbie, I did pretty well at keeping an open mind and talking to people as best as I could. From day one, I left my bedroom door open (much to my roommate’s protest – sorry!) so that anybody who walked by would come in and say hello! It was one of the best decisions I ever made. One girl looking for my roommate ended up talking to little stoned me (sorry grandma) and she ended up introducing me to other people in the house that were new like me!

However, there is a downside to almost everything – no pessimism intended – and here’s my two cents that no one asked for…

The walls are white. An off-white beige. All of them. I attempt to cover them with color and light and intimate decor. But the walls are still white. And so are the windows, the blinds and the doors. Although not all the doors are white – some of them are red and blue and yellow and green. Those doors, I like.

Time ticks slowly in the house. The people look the same, the food tastes the same, and the walls are always white. Although dare I complain about food I don’t eat, and not only that, but it is delicious to an enormous degree and I am grateful for it. The lights are always on in the hallways. If they turned off at say 11 or 12 or 1, I might feel as though time has the ability to tick faster. I do not usually wish for time to fly so quickly… But in here, it is always day.

The bathroom stalls. Oh the privacy lost at the bathroom stalls. I take pride in privacy and modesty. The doors are too short. I can see too much. I use the disabled stall. It’s one thing just to pee, but it’s another when you have other business to attend to. Those doors are also white.

The house is what you make of it. You cannot come in here expecting anymore than what you put in. If I did not make friends here, I would be miserable. If I did not have Advil PM or other vices, I might be miserable. It’s all up to you. Talk to people, ask them questions, ask yourself questions. Explore the world from your white bedroom, from your white breakfast table. Make your own story.

I made the most of my first semester at the house. And maybe next semester, I’ll paint the walls red.

Thanks for reading!