I met my suitemates for the first time a couple of hours after move-in. I was absolutely intimidated by them. I’m not sure why I felt this way — they were all kind-hearted and funny. We’d spend nights during Camp Yale sprawled on our common room floor having heart-to-heart conversations. I was still scared of living with these eight seemingly-perfect, confident and well-spoken people. But in the next few days, weeks and months, navigating the turbulent waters of our soft launch into adulthood made our suite a site of familiarity and friendship in ways that I hadn’t experienced before.

I can’t really pinpoint when or how my deepening relationships with my suitemates started to form. It might have been after spending a Sunday night trying to set up an Ikea lamp for our common room (after many hours of trying, we gave up). It might have been after a breakup that happened in my suite’s common room right before my suitemates threw me a surprise birthday party. It might have been after numerous nights coming back from Bass library only to launch into existential conversations about the meaning of it all on our common room couch, where hours would pass and feel like minutes.

College is messy. It’s riddled with mistakes, new beginnings and seemingly endless possibilities that can cause both excitement and anxiety. In this liminal stage of our lives, our ideas of who we are, where we are going and what we truly enjoy are ever-changing, as we unknowingly construct and reconstruct different versions of ourselves. I’m not sure whether I would have met all of my suitemates without the possibly arbitrary, possibly magical formula our deans used to construct our suites. But coming home from the daily grind — essays, problem sets, meetings — to watch “Fleabag” using a projector we rented from Bass and discuss it while eating takeout was one of the highlights of my first year.

That’s not to say that, as a suite, we didn’t have our challenges. We tried a chore chart to take care of the disarray that quickly enveloped our common room. The chart was well-intentioned but was more successful in some weeks than others. We tried to coordinate our schedules during suite meetings and set lofty goals which got lost in the busyness of our day-to-day lives. But I’d like to think that we had a general trend of improvement in our cleanliness that would have continued in a post-spring break reality.

I think that everyone has different experiences with their suites during their first year, and every suite seems to have its own dynamic. But regardless of how you interact with them, your suitemates are people that you’ll get to know — and know well — in the stages of rapid change and growth that come with the first year of college.


Neha Middela | neha.middela@yale.edu