by Skye Jalal
art by Ila Astin
[originally published November 2021]
1. What is it like living in a single? Is it isolating, liberating, something else?
A: Well it was definitely unexpected. I didn’t ask for a single, it just happened that way. Coming to Oberlin I was very excited to have a roommate. I’m a very social person - I love living with people. At home I’m always living with a very big family, and so I just didn’t know what to do with a single.
In the end it's interesting exploring what it’s like to actually have my own space in a way that I hadn’t ever experienced at home. It was a little disappointing not having a roommate, but as time has passed, I’ve grown thankful for it.
S: It's interesting, because you have a single but whenever I come to Keep, your room is definitely a place where people congregate.
A: My way of dealing with not having a roommate is just having all of my friends come over all of the time. I love just making a space that a lot of people can share with me.
2. On move in day, we’re all given these extremely blank canvases. What was your process of turning the room into your own?
A: I had ideas about what kind of room I wanted going into college, and I was very excited to have that blank canvas. I went with a seventies-ish, orange-ish theme and big girly-girl vibes. I like going into a room and there’s just everything on the wall - just absolutely not minimalist. I like it better when a room is cozy, and there’s always something to look at.
S: Your room reminds me of Julie, the American Girl doll’s room. Do you know what I’m talking about?
A: Yes! Literally yes!
3. Our rooms know things about us that almost nobody else does. If these walls could talk about you, what would they say?
A: I don’t spend that much time here, and I think that’s what the walls would say. “We don’t see her.” For all the effort and love that I put into making this room a home, I spend so much time with people outside of it. Just because I am alone here. But the experience of having friends over, with sleepovers and movie nights is just so sweet and intimate and lovely. That's what the walls would see and talk about, just like the love that makes up the energy in here.
4. What about your room are you the most thankful for?
A: My bed. I pushed the two twin beds in my room together, to make this mega bed and it’s sooo nice. It's great because I didn’t have to loft it, and so it can sit low to the ground for people to sit on when they come over. Also it can fit so many people for sleepovers. Definitely, very very thankful for the bed.
5. Show me something from home, and something from Oberlin. What do these two things say about how Oberlin has changed you?
A: This is a photo of me and my friends from back home dancing in a circle. I keep it next to my bed. It’s really lovely to have this in my room, being so far away from them in Ohio. It reminds me of my chosen family.
And this is a drawing one of my friends from Oberlin did for me that I hung up on my wall. So at the same time that I’m being reminded of my family of friends back home, I’m also being reminded of the family of friends I’m making here which is so nice.
6. Think fast - someone has come into your room to kidnap you. What would you use as a weapon, and where would you hide?
A: Weapon? One of the lamps. Hide? Under the bed, or in one of the closets.