Dear Dorm,

My third year here at Wake was a lot better than most, and in part I owe that to you. You were a last-minute decision when I needed a place to live, a single in the corner of a suite where I only knew one-third of the people living there. You had a great view of the quad, illegal roof access, and way fewer issues than my previous rooms (cue memories of crumbling walls, mold, and bugs). I never thought, on a basic level, I’d be so thankful for fake laminate wood flooring and matching furniture.

You turned out to be the best living decision of my college career thus far. I may not have known my entire suite when I moved in, but I’m leaving with a couple new friends. I thank you endlessly for a suite free of drama, judgment, and conflict – you have no idea how much I needed that! For the first time in a long time, my room was a place where people gathered to have fun and relax, and I am so grateful for those late-night pregames, movie nights, and study sessions. You housed some of the deepest conversations between me and my newfound friends.

I also want to thank you for being there when I needed you. During the rough times, you saw many mental breakdowns, catatonic states, and phone calls home. I can’t thank you enough for the four cinderblock walls that protected me from the outside world when it felt a little too cruel.

You saw a lot for a single room. You saw the people that came and went, and the people that stayed. You saw me bend and break, but also saw me piece myself back together. You saw thunderstorms and sunny days, all my good and bad. You were a sanctuary, a time capsule, a party hub, a study lounge, a movie theater, a confessional, a meditation room, but never, ever a prison.

I know it may seem silly to write a thank-you to what is essentially a glorified closet. I’ve had others rooms before, and will have other rooms after – and hopefully some bigger, better ones. But right now, as my junior year is coming to a close, it only felt right to say thank you to the place I called my home during it. It wasn’t perfect, it wasn’t always fun, but it was, I’ve come to realize, exactly what I needed.

Never underestimate the power of a safe space, and when you find one, be thankful.

- M