I am in love with my suite. It has been the best part of my year thus far, between riding lessons and nuclear security lectures, amongst Fellowship interviews and films screening and lengthy discussions on the meaning of nature in Jane Eyre. All of those times have been wonderful too, but there is nothing better than returning to my Atwater suite at the end of a day blurred with events and papers and meals, and shaping my own little community.
I find one of Middlebury’s most charming attributes the feeling of an overarching community, but in my suite I can sculpt my social microcosm—I can be left alone with a mug of tea and a global development article on a Wednesday night, or I can rally my three suitemates to invite all of their extended groups of friends over for 90s music and conversation on a Friday evening before heading out for a night at the social house Tavern. My senior year living has become a way to bring Middlebury to me—to enjoy a cookie that I grab from the dining hall, to hold impromptu board meeting of the Middlebury Open Queer Alliance, and to host my sister (a Midd alum) when she drives up for the occasional weekend.
In an odd way, the suite is also a transition site. I no longer live in the middle of campus, I can no longer walk outside of my door to hear the hubbub of a Riddim dance performance, or dash thirty seconds into a dining hall. Because I am at one end of campus I feel, in my college way, that I am commuting to class every day. The busyness of my schedule means that I am often out from 8am until dusk, working in the library, attending lectures, meeting up with friends over lunch, and giving information sessions at Admissions, getting back late to my room, unslinging my bag from my shoulder with a sigh. I love this feeling of being a quasi-adult, and sometimes I imagine that I am already in the position that I see myself in eight months from now—living with other young professionals in an apartment in an urban environment, sharing my small trials and triumphs with three other friendly faces. We make suite dinners on the weekends, troop down to the gym together on brisk afternoons, and have one another do quick read-throughs of introductory essay paragraphs, which is exactly what I want out of a future group of working friends.
I can’t be sure whether Middlebury College deliberately puts senior in these transition residences, or if everyone feels the way that I do about them. I have one foot in college as I enjoy every moment of a lecture about aid strategies in Tanzania, go to concerts, and dig into my mountain of thesis work, but also one foot (perhaps as of yet just a few toes) in the professional world as I apply for jobs, interview, write grant proposals, and generally get myself prepared for the workforce. And my suite is there through everything, inviting, friend-filled, but with traces of the real-world future about it.