By Madison Yardumian
Upon entering my second year of college, I moved into my first ever college dorm. It went exactly how I imagined it: there was a palpable, wonderfully cliché buzzing in my ears as I entered the room. Excitement hung in the air like the set of command strips between my fingertips, ready to wage war on New Hall’s glaringly white walls.
There is something absolutely absurd and fantastic about a bunch of 20somethings all living exclusively around people their own age, all trying to figure out how to do their taxes, or be an ethical person while also making enough money to continue living in Southern California, in perfect rhythm. College is a completely nonsensical space, and getting to enter this mayhem 24/7 is something I and the 27 other first years who lived at Claremont Graduate University (CGU) waited for with great anticipation.
For context, last year 40 Scripps first years were placed in off-campus housing at the Claremont Graduate University Apartments on North College Ave. The year brought a series of very specific challenges and triumphs, culminating in the 28 remaining first years receiving priority housing, and the ability to pull anyone they wanted into this housing.
But why dwell on the past when the present involves living in a suite in New Hall? All kidding aside, I sat down with two former CGUers to inquire about how their year has been going thus far, and to further get a sense of how they compared their experiences living both on and off-campus.
Olivia Silva SC ’21 currently resides in Dorsey, and upon request for comment bemoaned how “unnecessary” living at CGU felt.
“There are parts of Scripps I don’t even know exist because I didn’t live on campus,” Silva said. “We could’ve had this all last year and it feels like we’re all trying to catch up.”
This statement alludes to a common sentiment amongst CGUers: a feeling that not living on campus prohibited us from truly feeling as though we had an adequate enough knowledge of our campus to feel as though we belonged there. Olivia and I both related to the little conveniences we get to enjoy now: exercising at Tiernan, being able to get a quick breakfast in the morning before class, or not being forced to get to class or social events 20 minutes early due to the bus schedule,.
For Justine Iwata SC ’21, currently living in a Routt suite, thinking about life at CGU brought up some very serious questions about mental health and safety.
“Living on campus has been a lot better for my mental health,” Iwata stated, “Because I’m living with six friends in a suite, I feel like I have a constant support system that was not as easily accessible when I was [living] at CGU.”
For those who made a majority of their friends on-campus, CGU proved to be a rather isolating experience. Living a bus ride away from people who all live across the hall from one another can feel rather lonely.
“I feel so much more at ease knowing that everyone on campus and in my dorm is a Scripps student,” Itawa said.
I couldn’t agree more. Living off-campus has truly allowed me to see how much safer I feel on-campus. From well-lit streets, avoidance of crossing accident-prone Foothill, and a feeling of being able to walk somewhere at night without relying on Campus Security (or being scolded by passing Camp Sec officers for having the audacity to walk somewhere at night), the comfort I have experienced living on the Scripps campus has alleviated many of my day-to-day anxieties. I know that safety is not something everyone gets to feel in their lifetime, or even something everyone feels on this campus, but I feel very privileged to be able to exist in a space where I feel a fairly consistent sense of comfort. In the wake of the Kavanaugh hearing and Senate vote, that feeling of safety feels even more valuable.
And it is true that Scripps is not the ever-safe, positive, and accessible place we have imagined it to be. As CGUers joke about our fated position at the bottom of the housing lottery next year, we feel a greater connection to the college we are attending than to our famed proximity to Trader Joe’s. And now that we’ve displaced President Lara Tiedens from her place of residence, I am truly excited to see what spaces Scripps will convert to continue to accommodate more students. The Motley: coffeehouse by day, living space past 11pm? Only time will tell.
Image Credit: KPFF Consulting Engineers