A Moving Experience
Students shape their living spaces to reflect friendships, passions,
visions for the future and, yes, so they don’t have to get up for stuff
Text by Charlotte Hough ’14 ♦ Photos by Nancy L. Ford
Ford Charman ’13, Spencer Olsson ’14, Rob Clayton ’15, Ben Moody ’15: Carnegie quad
“I think all you have to do is just look around and realize the greatness that came out of this room,” says Ford Charman ’13 when asked why he describes his new living space as a “temple of awesomeness.”
Roommate Rob Clayton ’15 takes a less metaphysical approach. “We kind of went with convenience, to be honest,” Clayton says from one of the living room chairs. “There’s a fridge right here, and then the recycling bin and trash can are also within arm’s reach. So I don’t actually have to move from this spot, ever.”
Charman and Clayton, along with roommates Spencer Olsson ’14 and Ben Moody ’15, know one another from Ultimate Frisbee. Look closely and you’ll see that a Hot Saucers team Frisbee hangs on one of the walls. The flame is green, a misprint from its usual blue, which makes it rare. More than 75 other Frisbees sit tucked away in boxes elsewhere in the room, collected by Charman and Olsson over the years. They plan to hang them up if they can find the space – the walls are already thick with posters.
But what’s the kicker of this room? Its price tag. Clayton contributed all the furniture, which includes two futons, two reclining chairs and a 50-inch widescreen TV. Most of it he got free off Craigslist; his dad is an electrical engineer, so he got the TV broken and was able to fix it for almost nothing.
Total for everything? Around a hundred bucks.
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A place where past, future and a zebra meet
Jorett Joseph ’15: Keehn RA single
Jorett Joseph’s room is the bridge between where she’s from, where she is now and where she hopes to be in the future.
Slices of Miami, her hometown, lie around the room: an assortment of seashells and posters – one of a Florida beach, another of the Miami Heat.
“The shells, they really keep me grounded, especially when I’m stressed and stuff,” Joseph says. “Sometimes I feel like when you’re on this campus, you forget that there’s a world out there besides the school stress, the papers and things of that sort.”
But these symbols of home exist right alongside images and objects Joseph associates with an awaited future life in New York City. Above the beach poster hangs one of the New York skyline. On a table next to the shells sits a big black mug labeled “The Boss,” which Joseph also associates with New York as well as with success. She once saw a photograph of Beyoncé holding a similar mug, seated at a desk in front of city skyscrapers. Later, she stumbled upon the mug in a Miami shop and had to get it.
One thing in Joseph’s room that will definitely make you look twice: her inflatable zebra, which she has named Zayda. Inspired by Chloe Kardashian’s giraffe sculpture, Joseph decided she needed a decorative animal of her own. During RA training week she ordered the decoration from Amazon for $11.
“The essence of the zebras is that they’re not alike, they always have different patterns,” Joseph says. “So maybe that just models who I am. Maybe that’s why I’m so tied to it.”
A Space to Shape His Sound
Ben Li ’13: Minor faculty apartment
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In Ben Li’s double, it is clear whose side is whose; though his roommate’s side is decorated with brightly colored sports memorabilia, Li’s is rather bare aside from a poster that he picked up on a whim at the poster sale two years ago. Titled “A to Zen of Life,” it lists inspirational life advice and a quote from the Dalai Lama.
“There are some days where I just literally don’t feel like doing anything with my music,” Li says. “And then I read a couple of those lines and it picks me back up. It’s a great motivational tool.”
Li is a musician; at age 6 he started on piano, in middle school he took up electric guitar, and he now spends a large chunk of his free time deejaying under the name Compson Sound.
His creative space is important to him, and he’s set it up just the way he has it at home, where he recently took over his dad’s old office. In the corner of his room here, a guitar is propped against the wall. A keyboard leans against the desk, where his other DJ equipment (a MacBook Pro and an Ableton Akai APC 40 mixer) sits.
Living with three roommates helps him refine material that’s still in the works.
“I kind of use a lot of my friends as check points,” Li says. “We’re all in a very closed setting. It’s really hard for them to escape my music, so they’ll always provide very supportive feedback and very helpful suggestions.”
When You Think Alike, the Walls Come Down
Sim Janjua ’14 and Kaley Dingeman ’15: Dunham split double
Roommates Harsimran “Sim” Janjua ’14 and Kaley Dingeman ’15 agree on a lot of things, one of them being that the way to a girl’s heart is through her stomach.
“If any guy just came to me with a plate of —” Janjua begins, only to have Dingeman finish her thought for her: “— bacon, I would be like, ‘You can have me.’”
That very sentiment, in fact, hangs on Janjua’s wall on a piece of paper that reads “SEDUCE HER WITH BACON.” Other small sheets of paper surround it, containing material Janjua has collected on her online tumblr account. They display quotes, sayings, Internet memes and drawings that capture things that Janjua likes and ideas she values.
Early in the semester, the two rooms remain sparsely decorated. But what the rooms lack in color, Janjua and Dingeman make up for in energy. Though a wall separates them, they admit that they often yell through it when they don’t feel like walking over to the other room. They also tend to break out into random bouts of crazy laughter or dance, either together or on their own. Dingeman recalls a moment on the third day of her first year (they roomed together then as well) when they both spontaneously started dancing to Mulan’s “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.”
“When that happened,” Dingeman says, “I was like, ‘This is gonna be a fun year.’”