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There’s no place like “home”…

Posted by on Thursday, September 13, 2012 in College Life, Freshman Life, General Information, Housing, Peabody College.

Since I’m a Peabody student, I spend a lot of time on Commons even though I’m no longer a freshman.  Yesterday was no different: I finished my Linguistics class at 12:30, ran to the Munchie Mart (or Common Grounds as it’s officially called) to buy a bagel and tea, and sat down at one of the tables outside to eat.

My "home" Gillette

The warm weather, beautiful breeze and calm atmosphere obviously promoted a time of self-reflection.  My old house Gillette is visible from the front of the Commons center and every time I see it, I hear a contented voice in my head sigh: “home”.  True, I could feel this way because it’s only the beginning of my sophomore year and I have not yet adjusted to living somewhere else, but somehow I doubt it.  I have had several conversations with upperclassmen who also seem connected with their freshmen houses.  No matter how long you know someone, it always seems to come up in conversation: “oh yeah, I used to live in Gillette”.  There’s an almost sort-of unspoken bond between people who shared the same freshman dorm, even if they lived there during different years.  So, in my moment of self-reflection yesterday, I decided to try to puzzle this out.

I realized that my freshman dorm was my first real “home-away-from-home”.  It was my first taste of independence: I was finally able to decide when I went to bed, who could come visit me when, what I wanted to spend my time doing, etc.  Granted, I was able to do a bit of that in high school, but college was the first place where I could experience all of that without anyone else’s input.  True, that meant I made mistakes (I know so many people who wish they did more work freshman year!), but it meant I grew from them, too.  And most of that growing and reflection happened inside Gillette’s walls.  I met my first friends there, had my first roommate there, and made so many new memories.  The Commons Cup created an intense sense of unity within each house and encouraged group activities, including dinners with your residential faculty member.  I think Vanderbilt truly makes an effort to welcome its freshmen into college so that they feel comfortable becoming independent.  It’s a nice transition from high school into adulthood.  And so, I believe that we all associate our freshman dorms with those bittersweet memories, leading us to call them home.

This my current roommate Savanna and I enjoying one of Nashville's cool fountains.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore living in Morgan now with my closest friends on campus.  I love cooking in our kitchen and chilling in our living room.  Practically, it’s a much better “home” than last year’s dorm because I can accomplish more day-to-day.  But despite that, I believe Gillette will always have a special place in my heart, and I don’t think I’m the only Vanderbilt student who feels that way.

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