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The Commons Experience

Samantha Orland

*Guest blog by new friend and hip-hop enthusiast Tom Majerus

When I first arrived at Vanderbilt, I was struck by two things: how everyone seemed nervous and how everyone seemed eager. These seem to be the best two emotions to describe the first two weeks of college. I made friends faster than I ever had in my life, and every day I had new challenges facing me. This was my favorite aspect of living on The Commons, Vanderbilt’s freshmen living community; everyone experiences the same new things together.

One unique Commons experience I had was when my hall on Sutherland 4 came together and created a blanket fort. A couple of my friends and I noticed that a local store was having a blanket sale, so we decided to take advantage of the situation. Returning to our floor with our new purchases, a couple of our hallmates came up with the idea of creating the mother of all blanket forts in our common room. So, from 7-12 that night, approximately 25 members of our 42-person hall gathered together to form the blanket fort of all blanket forts, complete with an Xbox, several beds, and an artillery of Nerf guns. Eventually our Residential Advisors made us take it down, but it will always be one of my favorite moments of freshman year.

Sutherland studs in our blanket fort

In the end, my favorite thing about Vanderbilt is the diverse student population; despite having so many differences in background and personality, we all have so much in common. My best friends are from Ohio, Florida, Missouri, Alaska, and Colorado, and this is not a unique phenomenon. Most Vandy students come in as first-years knowing few or no students, but that changes quickly. We all grow up in very different situations, and yet we ended up finding connections that blossom into great friendships, and it’s easy since we all live, eat, and hang out on the same quad and side of campus, for the most part. Most Vanderbilt students that I have met love to learn and are inquisitive and friendly, which is a welcome shift from people I encountered in the high school atmosphere . Living on the Commons was an incredible beginning to my experience at Vanderbilt, and it helped to shape friendships that I will maintain for the rest of my life.

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