Several columnists have written their final goodbyes to the News this week. This is not one of those columns; I have another three years of Yale left to explore. But there is one thing to which I will be saying my final goodbye at the end of this semester: Lanman-Wright Hall.
I hated L-Dub immediately, when filthy upon my return from FOOT, I took my first shower in four days. The water became scalding hot whenever a toilet flushed, and by the time the dirt was scrubbed out from under my fingernails, it had gone cold. Welcome to Yale.
The next weeks were filled with L-Dub surprises. Small centipedes crawled out of our sinks, and we heard disgusting stories about the yellow stains on the walls of the entryways. Several toilets began perpetually flushing.
I avoided my building at all costs. Trying to fall asleep to the sounds of belligerent drunk screaming in the courtyard and people hooking up on the other side of your paper-thin wall was near impossible. I would visit my friends and stare with envy at their unbunked beds and functional pipes.
“Get ready for L-Dub winter!” my froco laughed in early October as the freezing temperatures approached. We desperately lined our windows with sweaters in an attempt to keep up a semblance of warmth in our bedrooms.
Then Sandy came.
My Facebook filled with pictures of L-Dub residents double-fisting handles of Dubra and their Yale Dining-provided bags of rationed food as the storm approached. I knew that spending the next couple of days in such close quarters would inevitably lead to us all developing serious cases of claustrophobia and going insane.
But something strange happened during those three days of constant L-Dub — it became my favorite place on campus. I returned to the building to discover that close to half of my class was cramped into a fifth floor bedroom drinking way too much, screaming Ke$ha lyrics and laughing at the sound of howling wind outside. The party moved from suite to suite as our frocos frantically emailed us that it was a particularly bad night to get transported to DUH.
Unable to sit in our own tiny rooms for too long, we wandered through the open doors of others. The fifth floor began a game that consisted of racing around the hallway in rolling chairs at dangerously high speeds. We learned that we could hold entire conversations from floor-to-floor through the vents in our bathrooms, a strategy that would prove useful later.
After the hurricane, we began spending more and more time in L-Dub. We learned that you could slide silly notes under the fire doors to other suites. We figured out that we could disable the fire alarms that separated our suites with just a few pieces of Scotch tape. I realized that I could check if my friend was in her room by listening for the sound of her phone vibrating through the ceiling. L-Dub finally became a place that we loved.
Recently, an upperclassman warned me of the dangers of moving out of L-Dub. You get lonely once you’re no longer totally on top of one another, she said. As structurally flawed as L-Dub is, the sense of community it creates can’t be found anywhere else.
Living in L-Dub has been like going to year-round summer camp. While friends in other colleges struggle to name more than half of their class, most of us know almost everyone. We’ve taken on every plumbing problem as a team game. We’ve held our heads high as our privileged friends in Farnam joked that we lived in “the projects” and that they planned on organizing a canned food drive for us. Now, with the warm weather returning, we’ve sprawled ourselves across the courtyard, pretending to study while reminiscing about our favorite L-Dub memories.
Next year’s freshmen might not believe me on move-in day, but I’m going to miss L-Dub. Sure, it’ll be nice to have good plumbing and space to breathe. But I’ll miss the consoling happy voices drifting up from the courtyard after Woad’s and the boy singing next door without a clue that we can hear him perfectly. I’ll miss the doors that can’t close without being slammed shut and the nights when we cuddled on our futon under blankets trying to stay warm. When I say goodbye to L-Dub two weeks from today, I’ll be saying goodbye to, without a doubt, the best freshman home.
Diana Rosen is a freshman in Pierson College. She is a staff blogger for the News. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org .