Goodbye to Familiar Spaces
Published: Thursday, May 17, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 18, 2012 00:05
A college townhouse is an interesting and strange place. Many parents avoid them at all costs, horrified by the smells and artifacts of the debauchery they hope we’re not participating in. Yet we spend much of our college lives in them, perhaps enjoying more house time in these four years than our existence in the real world will ever allow.
My living room is a black hole. Time passes so quickly there that it’s a miracle I make it anywhere on time. Objects of unknown origin and destination litter the room. It’s usually stuff that none of my roommates claim but that finds residence on our coffee table for months at a time. A small American flag hangs on the arms of a wall sconce. A blender sits casually on the floor next to the TV. My roommate’s guitar rests next to a box filled with desk supplies that another roommate hasn’t unpacked since leaving his freshman dorm. A collection of textbooks is stacked next to a gorilla costume someone left here on Halloween … in 2010.
However, the living room’s structure is so normal that the occasional cleaning makes this place look like an adult could actually live here. Hide away the random odds and ends whose shelf lives will expire with our fateful move out and this room makes my roommates and me seem a lot more sophisticated. Our books prove us to be well read, and our inherited throw pillows make the place cozy and livable. Definitely worthy of the real world.
To me, this room, these things and the time I spend here are indicative of my emotional state as I face graduation. This room is a bridge between college and the real world, housing evidence of my attempts to straddle the line between childhood and adulthood.
Yes, the silly things that I let lie around are lingering ties to my younger, more playful self. But we also have a blender. And I’ve read that stack of textbooks. We’ve inched closer to independence and adulthood than I’d like to admit, and we’ve made a house our home all on our own. If you clean us up a little bit, we’re definitely ready to enter the world.
These spaces are so much of what has made college distinctive. The classrooms, buildings, lawns, dorm rooms, bars and Hilltop that have served as the backdrops for our memories and experiences over the last four years are places I haven’t fully realized I’ll leave behind. The importance of these spaces — of our spaces — lurks under the radar in my last attempts to soak everything and everyone in before graduation. I think about the people who have made those spaces so meaningful more than I think about the space itself.
As I sit in my living room and think about all this stuff that has come to characterize my life, I know I will truly miss the spaces at Georgetown that I’ve made my own. My future spaces will not — or at least should not — be littered with the same articles of youth, the same evidence of my friends or the same collection of college life debris. However, as I inch closer to graduation, closer to that independence that Georgetown has prepared me for, I know that my college house will always be a space to remember, a home that has been an active backdrop to my growth and the source of some of my fondest memories.
Rebecca Kiely is a senior in the College and the former president of the Georgetown University Grilling Society.