I forgot. And it really isn’t something hard to remember. I must have blocked it from memory; all the nights spent lying awake, all the mornings roused early.
Of everything I forgot from my first year at Vassar, it seems ridiculous that I forgot the most frustrating of them all. There were many minor things I forgot from last year as well. For example, that the Deece opens at 9 a.m. on weekends (if you want to listen to someone rant about something petty for hours, call me at 1-800-Deece-Complaints). And the names of half of the people I spoke to last year on a regular basis. The most frustrating thing I forgot wasn’t even that service requests take so long to get addressed (which I thought I would never forget since it took three weeks for my blinds to get replaced. I lived on the sunny side of the building). What I forgot was waiting for me like a familiar friend the first night I spent in my room. It is that dorm rooms have paper-thin walls.
You probably can relate to these experi-yoncés (Yes, these are experiences that are so significant, they stick in your mind like Beyoncé): For example, hearing roommates duke it out over Triscuits eaten without a roommate’s permission. Or lacrosse players blasting Rebecca Black’s “Friday.” Or someone using the Nutribullet at 1:30 a.m. So relatable, right?!
I wish there were a polite way to tell someone that their K-pop dance rehearsal is not something that needs to happen in the room above me. Or to casually tell the musician around the corner that their bagpipes are not tuned properly. And I really don’t want to be the one to burst the bubble of the group in room 373 who thinks flip cup is a competitive sport.
There’s another part of thin walls that I forgot: Some walls that are thinner than others. These walls are so, so thin that you can actually see through them. These walls tend to be known by another name: windows.
These “walls” are even worse than the average plaster and insulation constructions. Not only can noise get through, but also visible light waves! What this simply means is that people outside your room can see you.
Now, don’t misconstrue what I’m saying. I will confess to my fair amount of eavesdropping, but sometimes people make stuff much too obvious. I’m just here to let you know that when it’s dark outside, the light in your room becomes a spotlight that literally shouts “Look here! Someone in here is awake! Please silence your cell phones, your feature presentation will begin shortly!”
Most people are just watching YouTube videos for “only 5 minutes,” but there are a select few who, well…you know what people do when they are alone in their room. And also what they do with other people…
These daily experiences are what make dorm life so special. I can’t imagine a week going by without knowing way too much about my neighbors.
Of course, I am equally guilty. To those on the third floor, I apologize for that “Despacito” dance party I had by myself last weekend. I don’t care how overplayed it is, it’s still great.
To help out people like me, I have devised a toolkit to combat thin walls:
1. Further insulate your room. Unfortunately, the Deece doesn’t supply aluminum foil fit for stealing, but I’m sure you can find some nearby. The more cushions the better, so I (do not) recommend pillaging your house parlor for some pillows (I’m on a house team; I can’t endorse these things).
2. Make more noise than your neighbor. There’s nothing better than a friendly noise fight. When your neighbor starts blasting Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain,” fight back with Justin Bieber’s “Baby.” If they come out the cut with the Spongebob theme song, then you should whip out James Taylor’s “How Sweet it Is.” No one will dare block that from playing.
3. Get headphones (especially the noise cancelling kind). This means you can make as much as noise as you want, and when people come banging on your door, you won’t hear them! It’s just so convenient to be unaware of the discomfort and frustration you are causing others! Amazing!
Please just heed what I’ve mentioned as a friendly PSA. I love this campus just as much as the next person, yet I would also love to sleep. We can all be our awesome selves without wanting to rip our hair out. All it takes is one easy motto: closed blinds, full mute, can’t lose. Friday Night Lights [OFF.]