Kendal Rinko '09 on the Housing Lottery
The freshman-year housing lottery always seems to start off with exciting and picture-perfect fantasies of the living arrangements for the year to come. And, thus, I jumped into the clouds with the rest of the freshmen when four of my friends invited me to block for a Worth Lodge with them as the lottery process approached. I was floating: the prospect of living with four of my friends was an ideal situation. There was just no way our power-house of a team wasn't going to end up in one of these prestigious houses. We had "toured" the lodges, had our strategy planned out, and had already started discussing rooming arrangements and lodge layout. We were golden!
Golden--that's an overstatement. We weren't even bronze! Between the five of us, three of us were in the bottom ten lottery numbers. So...with quite possibly the lowest block number in the history of Swarthmore...well, maybe even in the history of the world...our utopian-sophomore living arrangements crumbled to pieces, and we were all back at square one. I found myself back in the "dating pool," searching for the PERFECT roommate. Branded and black-listed with one of the lowest possible lottery numbers, who was going to give me a chance?
Low and behold, one of my soccer girls, a Miss Magnificent Melinda Petre '09, had the same luck with her block, and was left deserted. We decided to unite our forces; two girls branded with bad luck have got to cancel one another out, right? Melinda and I settled with the idea that we would probably end up in PPR or end up on the "wait list."
(Many tremble at the thought of the waitlist. I speak from my old "lodge-mate's" experience: the waitlist is nothing to be afraid of. The waitlist, in fact, can for the most part be considered a blessing!)
We began to climb back up into the clouds, flying with our PPR plans. But, low and behold, we were the second-to-last group to choose housing before the "wait list" cut-off. What does that mean? It means: we were screwed! Worse than "Screw Your Roommate" screwed.
So, while the pair of girls in front of us cursed-off for about an hour, realizing their fate lay sandwiched between "the two evils" of ML or Strath Haven, Melinda and I faced our fate head-on. We actually got excited about our decision to go to Strath. People in line behind us even asked, "Why are you two so happy?" We reminded them that if this was the worst of our problems in life, then we must have it pretty good!
Melinda and I ended up in our Strath Haven "condo." Our condo was really just a dorm room with a bathroom - which, might I add, makes living there more than worth it. We loved every minute of it. She ended up being that soul-mate of a roomie I was so desperately searching for, and our neighbors ended up being some of the most wonderful, genuine, and welcoming people I have met at Swarthmore. Last semester was probably the best semester I've had here.
Moral of the story? The housing lottery is not the end-all-be-all of life! And sometimes, what seems like the worst possible outcome is really a blessing in disguise. I became much more independent last semester, while still strengthening and forming new friendships. I ended up with an incredible roommate, irreplaceable neighbors, and an awesome RA.
So, my dearest freshmen, EMBRACE THE DRAMA OF THE HOUSING LOTTERY! AND FACE IT HEAD ON WITH A HUGE SMILE!!! BRING A GREAT SENSE OF HUMOR, EXPECT IRONY, AND BE READY FOR ANYTHING - because, no matter where you end up, you will be surrounded by good company and starting on an exciting journey.