When I tried on a high-school-era blazer I was hoping would still fit me for Formal, I found three pink packing peanuts in an interior pocket. I was standing in front of a mirror at the time and now I can say that I know exactly what nostalgia looks like. The peanuts were from an admittedly brilliant prank I fell victim to in my first semester on campus. But it was their familiar feeling in my hands that was most startling. Standing there in my too-small suit I realized just how tangibly this school has changed me.
For one, I haven’t worn the suit in four years. But I’ve been more hungry for the kinds of accomplishments that would demand it. I’m not afraid of being a leader, or of challenging the status quo or of taking the kinds of risks that sometimes result in a feat of styrofoam ingenuity.
I could go on. For every packing peanut that lined my bedding, filled my shoes and spilled out from my closet (it was a complete job- no cut corners) I could give a thank you or acknowledgement. But there are four years of words to say and even though the Miscellany News has honed my ability to make 1400 words look like 900, I think I’ll take a different route here. Suffice it to say, Vassar has been a space of immense change for me. This college has loaded me with questions that I don’t always have an answer for. All I can say for sure is that I needed this place in order to become who I am. It isn’t perfect and the road to graduation hill hasn’t always been smooth but there is power, I’ve realized, in imperfection. To the Misc, thanks for being the kind of friendly gentle nudging force that pushed me toward a very real passion for journalism. The paper and the people who willingly work nonstop to produce it have offered me so much. And though I have devoted myself to writing and editing, I still feel so, so grateful for what I’ve gotten back. To my many remarkable friends, thanks for being the people you are. Y’all are wonderful and weird and each of you deserve the good things coming your way.
It’s easy sometimes, for me to forget that although I’ve afforded Vassar a kind of meta-physical presence in my life, it is also a real place. Vassar is learning and struggle and transformation but it is also a collection of mostly brick and glass buildings that sit just south of the City of Poughkeepsie along Raymond Avenue. Chalk it up to my Urban Studies correlate, but I feel now that it is important to consider how this place works as a space. We may attend Vassar but we also live here. As a way to cope with the implications of impending adulthood, I’ve taken to watching a TV show called House Hunters in which picky people try to shop for a forever home. Viewers can follow along and make their own choices about which southern Italian villa, for example, is right for the newlyweds from Ohio. Don’t worry: they will always, always make the wrong choice. But in the spirit of those property buyers, and in accordance with my own reluctance to find permanent housing after I graduate, I offer my own take on this classic model. Below is a real estate evaluation of every place I’ve ever lived from Hooker Ave to Collegeview.
ROOM A: Third-floor dusty double. Creaky floors and a tilted mirror to talk yourself out of nerves on the first day of class. A straight shot to the bathroom after you’ve gone on a morning run and heavy blinds for extra sleep when you stop going on morning runs. Roommate goes home on the weekends so there’s extra space for a few solid friends. Lock needs special attention and don’t be surprised if you wake up to an open door of people cutting/ dying hair, buying and selling drugs and ritually kicking over trashcans. It’s the third floor of Joss. Just far enough from Main Building to make late-night walks from the Misc offices that much more thrilling. Closets are small. Fixer-Upper.
ROOM B: Student fellow room. Veritable coffin. Short, speckled walls serve as effective echo chambers for worries about being a student leader. Cardboard decorations on the front door offer an aggressively, intentionally friendly atmosphere. Cramped conditions but plenty of shelves for an indecisive, reluctantly-declared English major. Perfect for general disillusionment with college/ structures/ the future. Be prepared for a new understanding of the term ‘sophomore slump’ but also for the ready helping hands of more than a few amazing friends. Bathrooms in acceptable condition. Vending machines just around the corner. Excellent location.
ROOM C (Temporary) : Newly available due to the Res Life housing crisis. A two-week stay in a well-lit, airy double in Davison. Fourth floor, not too far from the elevator. Breathtaking view of the quad and prime spot for poststudy abroad sadness. Good place to solidify belief that kindness and understanding help even in the most frustrating circumstances. Tall ceilings allow for slightly higher ambitions. Room comes with a creeping realization that English major, interest in journalism, possibility of student leadership are all right for you. Lofted bed with space for all of your worldly possessions underneath. Memorable spot to visit.
ROOM D: Single in a Terrace Apartment by the dumpsters. Already furnished with dirty dishes and empty bottles. Once visited by a stray cat when the door was left open. Short walk to Sunset Lake, long walk to the Deece. Note to tenants: patience and an active social and academic life back on campus are a plus. Walks to the Miscellany News become more thrilling that walks back. Terrific spot for self-improvement, challenging spot for interior design. Possible tear-down.
ROOM E: Another TA. Full of incredible, supportive people. Kitchen stocked with avocados, a shockingly resilient microwave and good, good friends. Spacious, sunny and already inhabited by a plant that refuses to suffer despite mild neglect. Room partially sponsored by Stop + Shop. Running water is sometimes spotty but calling the ROC is easy enough. Great view of the dorms, the academic buildings, and four years of tremendous growth. Worth-while investment.
—Noble Ingram is an English major with an Urban Studies correlate. He has worked on the Misc in multiple positions and served as Editor-in-Chief in the spring of 2016.