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MIT blogger Cami M. '23

I Miss You, Random Hall by Cami M. '23

my love letter to the dorm i got kicked out of too soon

It’s no secret that I am a) living in New Vassar and b) despise it. I’m unsure whether this is a symptom of the pandemic or a symptom of the dorm itself, but there is something cold and unfeeling about New Vassar. From the corridor-style, long, empty hallways to the doors an walls barren and devoid of art and light. I hate it.

Perhaps hate is too strong a word and some of these unfavorable conditions should be attributed to COVID — after all, the majority of the nicer things about New Vassar are unattainable because of these unprecedented times, but I have a sneaking suspicion that if it were normal times, I’d still have a slight distaste for the strangely colored hunk of brick on the side of Vassar Street.

But rather than drone on and on about how much I dislike this pseudo-prison, I should try and spin this positively and talk about all the things I miss about Random and what I’m excited for once things are… “normal.”

Living in NV has given me a newfound appreciation for the silly, donut-shaped, unsuspecting brick building on the side of Mass Ave next to a shady gas station.

I miss coming back to an actual home. I miss plopping down on the questionably tinted couches of Loop and lolling about until someone joined me in lounge so we could watch another offbeat movie like The Cat in the Hat live action movie. I miss wiping away my tears on the Loop lounge sofas and having one of the cats on the floor take notice of my sadness and plop themselves right next to me. It was one of my favorite things, where, after a long or rough day, I could just come and cuddle with Evie or Zella.

More importantly, I miss the people. I miss the upperclassmen who taught me to drop the internalized misogyny and sexism that my high school had taught me and gave me strong female and nonbinary role models I still look up to this day. I miss Ivana, whose approval I worked so hard to gain. I still remember how honored I was when the sassy fashion queen herself gave me her old jean jacket. I still wear it with pride. I miss Tafsia, who I only got to spend a semester with since she studied abroad in my freshman spring. She was our vegan floor mom who always looked out for us frosh. I miss Nadia, whose cool, relaxed New York energy was simultaneously intimidating and inspiring. I miss Talia and her endless crufty knowledge of everything MIT. I miss Evelyn, an incredibly hardworking soul that put up with our stupid frosh antics and took care of us. I miss Michaye, us froshes’ resident peer mentor and matriarch of the floor. She always looked out for us frosh, taking us out for ice cream or staying up until 3 in the morning to talk about anything and everything. I miss our GRA, Colleen, who would buy us Asian pears and cut them up for us like every immigrant mom, which I absolutely adored. I miss Alice, the only sophomore on our floor, who fed our freshman antics and watched from the sidelines with a judgmental but amused eye.

I miss our little Loop family. I miss being the chaotic child who would bring one too many friends over on what was supposed to be the quiet floor and instead, transformed it into something loud and rambunctious and wild and fun. My heart aches for those 3am nights where we’d stay up playing party games or Breath of the Wild. I miss walking into Loop kitchen and smelling something delicious baking in the stove, whether it be Aiden’s stress-bakes of fudge crinkles or our banana bread or matcha cookies. I miss sitting in lounge and napping while someone played piano beautifully and delicately, so delicate that it could put anyone at ease.

There was something so homey about Random, something I didn’t appreciate enough. While I didn’t leave Loop all too much or talk to many other Randomites outside of Loop, Random Hall still resonated with me on so many levels. And I regret taking it for granted. So many times last year I wondered what life would have been had I lived somewhere else, somewhat upset that Random was so far from main campus or that so many people looked down on my dorm’s culture because we were “weird” and “quirky.” And now, it feels as if the world is cruelly giving me what I wanted and showing me that perhaps the grass is not always greener on the other side. I sit in the cold, unfeeling halls of New Vassar, only leaving to sit in my pod lounge with my three other podmates, rather than the typical ten or twelve that would fill the limited seats in Loop kitchen.

I miss the kind house team, all the GRAs, Jared and Laurie and Shakedown the dog. They’d host the loveliest sing alongs and study breaks for us, with delicious snacks and therapy sessions with Shakedown and movie nights in Alice In Wonderland.01 The movie watching room in the basement of Random. Random is incredibly special and honestly no amount of words I type or pictures I post will ever do it justice. It definitely isn’t for everyone, but it was for me. It was the place I felt where I could most be myself. And every day my heart aches for these feelings again.

Every day as CP* approaches I become more and more saddened by what is left of Loop. With Tafsia, Nadia, Ivana, Michaye, Evelyn, and Talia all having graduated, all that remains of the original floor is Alice and the frosh. But even I’m unsure if some of the frosh will be returning to Loop. And we’re all so hosed, so utterly destroyed by this pandemic and the workload MIT has thrown at us, that none of us have the time to host the events we need to get the hype around Loop again…which is partly why I’m writing this. So people don’t forget how lovely of a floor Loop was before the pandemic up and threw it away. So people reading this can perhaps see a little bit of the home we had made and consider it in the fall, even though there are no events for it right now. Loop is…so incredibly special to so many people and the thought of it just losing all its rich history and everything it offers scares me to my core.

But there’s still a lot of hope, as so many freshmen and incoming 2025s message me about Loop and Random and the dorm and all it has to offer. Just talking about it gets me so excited and seeing the events we have lined up for CP* and filling out the housing form. I cannot wait to be in the comforting abode that is Random, on the cozy and questionably stained couches of Loop lounge as we watch ridiculous movies and laugh in front of the TV as a group again. It might not be the same group as two years ago, but it’ll be a good group nonetheless. And I cannot wait for that day.

  1. The movie watching room in the basement of Random. back to text