A Commuter’s Shock: I Actually Miss the Dorms

After Years of Whining, Complaining and Dreaming of Getting Out, A Former Resident Reflects on Leaving


Published: September 24, 2009

As I wheeled the last cart stuffed with posters, books and dirty clothes out of McMahon hall last May, I was convinced that the next time I would see the inside of a dorm room would be if I majorly screwed up life somehow and ended up in Hell.

Sharing NYC days with man’s best friend soothes the pain of commuting. (Jonathan Armenti/The Observer)

Obviously, I should mention my appreciation for Lincoln Center’s dorms. We are blessed with a ton of space, a private bathroom and a kitchen to cook our own food. It’s a pretty plush set up for a college student. That being said, this feeling may seem a bit drastic, but saying I had been miserable as a dormer would be an understatement.

By junior year, I was completely over dorm life. The excitement of living in a new place surrounded by people my own age had fizzled out, and I was left in a prison of dirt and rules.

Realistically speaking, you can’t put six people in an apartment and think it’ll stay clean. No matter how hard I tried to keep dishes washed and floors vacuumed, the amount of people and parties and general life that went on didn’t permit it to last very long. By the end of the year, we all found ourselves living between a mile-high pile of dishes (which had every utensil buried beneath it) and a layer of mold slowly creeping out of the bathroom.

Then there were the rules. I always felt an empty place at the foot of my bed where my dog should have been and the $15-my-boyfriend-has-nowhere-else-to-stay-but-the-street fines added up way too quickly.

These two annoyances, along with a couple of others, convinced me that, senior year, I needed an apartment. After an eight-hour day of trekking through the city with a greasy broker named Alexandru, I found the perfect little place on the Upper East Side.

I absolutely love my new home off campus. At the end of the day, I have my own room, a puppy and a kitchen with plenty of clean utensils. But as much as I love my new place and as much as it pains me to admit this, there are a few things that I can’t help but miss about the dorms:

Number One: Sleep. The days of setting my alarm five minutes before class (just enough time to throw on a sweater and grab an Eggo) are out the door.  It now takes me a good 45 minutes to get to campus—30 on a good day—but does the subway ever really have a good day?

Number Two: The laundry room. Dragging my laundry basket to the elevator and pulling it around the corner used to seem like a huge hassle, but it’s nothing compared to carrying it down the five flights of my walkup and three blocks to the nearest laundry mat. Not to mention paying two dollars a load, waiting an hour and then carrying it back up the five flights. Let’s just say I make my closet last as long as possible.

Number Three: Convenience. During my time as a dormer I wore pajamas to class multiple times a week. I didn’t have to worry about wearing a coat or bringing an umbrella because I didn’t have to leave the building. If I had an hour between my classes, I could stop back at my room for a nap or some trashy daytime TV. I now have to wear actual clothing, brave the weather, hang out in the cafeteria and do something commuter-y, like read a book, for an hour.

Number Four: Bills. Who ever would have thought that watching Gossip Girl and stalking people on Facebook costs an actual fee? As slow as Fordham’s Internet is, at least it’s included in the rent. I can now look forward to a hefty cable and Internet bill in my mailbox, and don’t forget the electric bill. The air, the lights, the water boiling on the stove… ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching.

At the end of the day, the pros outweigh the cons for me. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t those mornings when the subway is delayed, my bills are due and I’m caught in a rain storm, that I don’t think back to the days of rolling out of bed with a little pang of sadness. So, all you dormers: appreciate it while it lasts; soon enough you’ll be forced out into the real world, too—if not by your own will, then by your diploma.