13 Signs You Lived In Kirwan/Blanding Complex
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13 Signs You Lived In Kirwan/Blanding Complex

1990
13 Signs You Lived In Kirwan/Blanding Complex
uky.edu

If you're a current or past UK student, odds are that you spent some of your most memorable times your freshman year in the Kirwan/Blanding dorms. Whether you lived in them or your best friend did, the vast majority of students are familiar with the 1960s-era, dimly-lit, cinderblock shoeboxes that we called home. With the towers closed this year and the low rises next on the chopping block, K/B's days of housing students are nearly over, so let's bask in nostalgia with 13 signs that you're a K/B veteran.


1. Your first apartment seemed mansion-sized

When your closet is two and a half feet wide, there's just no room to bring your entire wardrobe to school. Thanks to good old Kirwan/Blanding, you know just how to maximize your space -- double-stacked hangers, storage boxes galore, and six classes worth of textbooks and notes crammed into a single desk drawer. Your first apartment was miniscule by adult standards, but compared to what you lived in, it was practically a palace. If you ever found yourself marveling at how great it is to have a non-communal sink, you know this is real.

2. You still have nightmares about touching the shower walls

I'd have rather faced the serial killer from "Psycho" while showering than have brushed against a Kirwan/Blanding shower wall. I'll take my chances dodging a knife over battling whatever god-awful germs lurk on those musty, paint-peeled tiles any day. One late night in Kirwan Tower, I saw a drunk girl go in without flip-flops on. If you shuddered or gagged while reading that, you know the struggle.

3. Secrets? What secrets?

Someone who isn't a K/B veteran would think that thick cinderblock would be pretty effective at blocking out noise from other rooms. They'd be wrong. Thanks to horribly placed outlets at the head of every bed, you know exactly what's happening in your neighboring rooms. If you're lucky, you're friends with your outlet buddy and you use the thin walls to talk without having to walk next door. If you're unlucky, you have one who loves to snore at top volume and scream at their significant other on the phone at two in the morning.

4. You still don't trust elevators.

If you were fortunate enough to be placed in Kirwan or Blanding Tower (RIP), you know precisely what I'm talking about. The elevators were ancient, unnervingly loud, and incredibly slow. I pity the poor residents who lived too far up to take the stairs, because it wasn't uncommon for them to wait five minutes for a ride. They were as unreliable as they were slow. "I got stuck in the elevator" was such a common excuse for being late to class that no professor would question you, and it seemed like there were firetrucks parked outside the towers more often than not.

5. You're still (weirdly) loyal to your side.

K-Side and B-Side are literally identical -- same floor plans, same age, same terrible communal bathrooms. If you ask a tipsy K/B veteran which is better, though, you can bet you're going to get a proud proclamation of "K-Side strong side!" or "B-Side best side!" (Note: The latter is an absolute lie.) Pity the poor second-year dormer who switched sides between their years. I can't imagine living through that kind of identity crisis.

6. You can tolerate almost any food.

Remember Commons? Maybe we should try to forget. Freshman currently living in K/B who complain about Fresh Food Co. have no idea what they narrowly escaped. Nobody actually enjoyed eating there, but because it was so close and college students are naturally lazy creatures, we all ended up eating there far more often than we liked (and for some horrible reason, Commons smell stuck to our clothes for the rest of the day). By comparison, almost anything you eat today is manageable -- no matter how gross.

7. You're completely unafraid of cockroaches.

Enough said.

8. You know that sometimes ignorance really is bliss.

What was that gross stain on your headboard? Why did your glow-in-the-dark stars illuminate sketchy splotches on the ceiling? (True story.) How many times had someone thrown up on that couch in the lobby that you were sitting on? And finally, what in God's name was that smell? Sometimes, it's better not to know the answers to the tough questions -- and nothing taught you that quite like K/B.

9. You can make any room look cozy.

If you could hang enough Christmas lights and tape enough pictures up to make your Kirwan/Blanding room look like anything but an actual prison, then you're basically halfway to certified interior designer status. You know the superpowers of a colorful throw pillow and a bright lamp, and your first house is going to look straight out of a Pottery Barn catalogue.

10. Even the weirdest paintings seem normal to you.

If you spent any time at all in a K/B basement, you noticed the bizarre and sometimes creepy wall murals. Actual, real examples include a six-foot-tall ant painted in the rec room, a mysterious and unnerving tribal-looking fellow with a walking stick in the hallway, and a giant arctic seal in the laundry room. Nobody knows who painted them or how they were chosen. Personally, I think that someone opened an encyclopedia to a random page and painted whatever they happened to point at.

11. Stairs don't faze you at all.

Between the elevators in the Towers constantly going out and the low-rises with no elevators at all, you developed calves of steel during your time in UK's oldest-standing dorms. If you were unfortunate to live on the top floor of a low-rise, you had to climb four flights of stairs every time you needed to go to the basement to do laundry. When other students complain about a twice a week class on the third floor of Whitehall, you laugh in their faces.

12. The smell of burnt popcorn gives you war flashbacks.

You remember standing outside at three in the morning on a bitterly cold January night in nothing but your pajamas because some idiot decided to forget that they were in the middle of making popcorn (or, my personal favorite, forgot to add water to their ramen noodles) and set off the smoke alarm. Bonus points if it happened before an 8am exam. Every time you smell burnt popcorn, you're immediately back in freshman year, shivering outside with your Walmart comforter wrapped around your shoulders.

13. Despite it all, you wouldn't trade your time there for anything.

Despite the leaky ceilings, thin walls, and general lack of cleanliness, you made some of your best friends from college in those musty little shoeboxes that we called dorms. Every drawback just drew your floor closer together, and you had an unbeatable sense of community. K/B dorms made you feel like you had a perfect place to belong in a university of 33,000 undergrads, and you know that you'd do it all over again.

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