My dad always says that his favorite memories from college can’t be pinned on any one specific occasion. Rather, they were the times he spontaneously hung out with his housemates on a random Tuesday. Throughout my childhood, I heard many of his crazy college stories: the time his housemate tried to make them all Tandoori chicken, but mixed up the U.S. imperial measuring system with metrics and got the measurements all wrong; the time when he had a 104-degree fever and his housemate walked him to the emergency room at 3am; the time when his other housemate made a big sheet of baked ziti, but didn’t know he had to take the saran wrap off before cooking it, so it ended up with a plastic glaze. Naturally, I went into college with pretty high expectations for my own housemates. Because you are so far from your own families, in college your housemates become your family, and I’m lucky to say that my housemates live up to the name.
At Tufts, on-campus housing is no longer required after sophomore year. I chose to move into the Kappa Alpha Theta house starting junior year and I’ve lived in the same room ever since. This is technically considered on-campus housing, so we have an RA (who is a member of our sorority) and our property manager sends people in to clean and fix the house. This situation is really ideal. We get the perks of the on-campus length commute to classes, we don’t have to clean our common spaces, and we have the benefit of knowing that if something goes wrong with our room (flooding, power outage, etc.), Tufts will help us out. On the other hand, we have the freedom to cook in our own kitchen and the peace and quiet that comes with living with 6 other people as opposed to 300 in a dorm. But most of all, I have the housemates of the century—Sarah and Naomi.
I’ve lived next to Sarah for three semesters now, and we went from barely knowing each other to being good friends. She decorates our floor for every major holiday (think Christmas tree, Valentine’s Day mailboxes, Easter eggs hidden with candy), and we write each other messages on my whiteboard, like “Dinner tonight?” or “Check your mailbox :).” One of the best nights happened last semester when there was a fly stuck in my room at 1am. We raced around for 20 minutes with a cup trying to catch it, because there was no way I could go to bed with it buzzing around my room. When we finally caught it, after much shrieking, sweating, and laughing, we heroically freed it out my fire escape door. Besides being fun, Sarah is also generous to a T. Last week, she drove half an hour to pick me up at the train station, and then drove me straight to class because my train got delayed so I was late, and then she even brought my suitcase in for me. If that’s not superhero behavior, I don’t know what is.
Naomi is one of my little sisters in my sorority. I was thrilled to find out that she was going to live in the house this year, but I didn’t expect to end up in her room after class every night debriefing our days before going to bed (and then going to bed, only to text each other details we forgot to recount). We also cook together once a week, parading downstairs to the basement kitchen with our supplies in tow. On the menu is always some pasta/sauce/vegetable derivative, and it’s always an adventure to see how we can mess up the basics. Naomi is also the most supportive friend there is. A few weeks ago when student health wanted me to get checked for pneumonia, she came with me to get my chest x-ray because she knew I hate Ubering alone. She even braved an Uber that didn’t have seatbelts, a sign of true friendship!
Together, the two of them have been parts of my most impromptu and favorite memories at Tufts. They are the ones who migrate into the hallways at night when I need an audience to whom to rant. They are the ones who helped me pack for spring break by watching my mini fashion show, and then offered me their own clothes when it was clear I wasn’t happy with my choices. And they are the ones who sat in the hall with me on the ground when I was too asthmatic to get up and move to a more comfortable spot.
As I sat in the hallway on the ground, silently watching my roommates chat and keep me company, fully knowing that there were better things they could have chosen to do on a Saturday night, I realized my dad was right. It’s moments like this that make college special, the ability to find so much love so far from home and to make such joy out of totally average moments. My Emma’s advice for you today is to spend as much time with your housemates as you can. These two girls are my school family, and looking ahead toward graduation, I know that out of everything at Tufts, it is these moments and these people that I will miss the most.