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a home + living guide for the post-college, pre-parenthood, quasi-adult generation

06.30.2003

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dorm life take two
by Dana Currier | 
1 2 3
continued from page 1

While on duty, I'd keep the door to my apartment wide open so that the girls would know I was available, and that I'd have at least one eye on them at all times. Come study hall time, I'd haul my own work out into the hallway and set up shop at a desk strategically positioned at the end of the corridor. I'd take laps around the dorm every 20 minutes when I was feeling particularly strict, every half hour or so on nights I wasn't. The girls were supposed to be upright, sitting at desks, working quietly, or reading. AOL instant messenger was officially off limits as was sleeping or playing computer games. Moving from room to room was to be done only with the permission of the dorm parent on duty.

And on and on. The rules as stated were almost as much of a mystery to me this first year as they were to most of the girls. Basically what I ended up doing was trying to keep things quiet and under control, the shrieking down to a minimum.

Which, in the end, I think, was fine. My experience in the dorm did not turn out to be exactly what I expected it to be. I didn't make any lasting, indelible bonds with any one or two girls, but I did share some fun moments with a few of them, such as my demonstration to a cluster of eager freshmen in the upstairs hallway of how to use imaginary starting blocks at the start of a race in a track meet. I won over many of my dorm residents with baked goods: I became famous for the cookies, muffins, and bread that I'd make for them on the Saturday nights when I was on duty.

Still, being the disciplinarian, that sour-faced dorm mother that every girl heading to boarding school dreads, was difficult for me. There were times when I needed to be that monster, and even more times when I should have been but chickened out. Often, I'd run to the dorm head, a male art teacher a few years older than me, pleading for help. There was the Saturday night when three girls returned from an unauthorized trip into town, still glassy-eyed from the joint they'd smoked a few hours earlier. A fiasco ensued, involving health services, several higher-ups at the school, and eventually the dean of students, who later expelled all three girls for lying. While none of what actually happened was in any way my fault, I felt extremely anxious and worried the whole time. Was I doing what I was supposed to do? Should I have caught them earlier than I did? I spent several nights on duty at the end of which I would collapse into my bed wishing I could run far, far away. "Why didn't I just take a normal 9-to-5 job?!" I'd moan to my boyfriend. To which he'd reply, "Well, at least we're never bored."

wander along this way please

 

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