Life & Other Drugs, On "The Hill"

Perkins, A Place of Few Perks

May 1, 2017

Here at Brown, we determine housing through — if you’re not familiar with it — a blood-sucking, battle-to-the-death type lottery, which any campus tour will define as super “fun,” “random,” and something that “always works out!”  I unfortunately fell prey to this tricky rhetoric and genuinely believed that a fairy-tale housing selection process was the way it was all going to be.  So, when I saw my housing selection time was 6:20 p.m. I figured, okay, that’s right in between the start and end of the process so my odds are pretty good!

A friend asked how I’d fared with my lottery number and I explained my fairly average pick-time, to which he responded, “On which day, though?”  Panic ensued. Extreme fear. Disgusting lower back sweat. Bulging eyes. The prospect that there was more than one day for picking had not even dawned on me.  I frantically searched and realized I was picking on the second day, meaning on the 7-page long list of picking order, my housing group fell on approximately page 5.5.  Page 5.5 means a ridiculously high and unsettling likelihood of living in Perkins.

PERKINS.  Are you unfamiliar with it?  Let me tell you a bit about what I’ve learned about this hell-hole via upperclassmen: small, brown water, far, smelly, defunct showers, very far, rats, and did I mention, FAR.  Upon realization that my fate was likely a residence in Perkins, I began my journey through the 5 stages of grief.

First up: denial.  I counted my spot in the housing lottery, counted those before and behind me, realized my likelihood of living there was incredibly high, and continued to act as though it was not.  Those in my housing lottery group would bring up the topic and I’d immediately change the subject, refusing to acknowledge that PERKINS would be our fate.  I’d see sophomores hopping onto their bikes to begin the strenuous trek back to their unfortunate housing, and I’d pity them, confident that I’d continue to be able to comfortably walk home to a lovely spot on Wriston.

Eventually, I came to realize that as much as I may hope for it not to be the case, living in Perkins would likely be an actuality.  And, that made me REALLY mad (i.e. those “now I’m mad” vines, #ripvine).  Friends who fared well in the housing lottery would make lighthearted jokes about me living in Perkins, and I did not take them so lightheartedly.  I was already more than a little bitter.

Then came bargaining.  What if I had entered the lottery with other people?  Screw living with my friends—I’d live with my worst enemy in Hope in lieu of side by side dorms with my BFFs in Perkins (does that make me a horrible person?? Yeah, maybe).  What if I had studied a liiiiiiitle harder for that last midterm?  I bet THEN the housing lottery gods would’ve spared me.  Was there anything now I could do, any move I can make to change this??  I’d exclusively eat ratty meat if it meant I’d be spared–which is a big step because I’m a pescatarian, but then again is that stuff even meat?

The housing gods never bargained with me, and thus came the sadness.  It’d be 3:00 p.m. on a Thursday and I’d lay in bed, already missing the convenience and specialness of my Wayland dorm.  But, self-generated sadness wasn’t enough.  I’d plug right into my sad Spotify playlist (I know I’m not the only one with one of these) and Mad World’s melancholy melodrama would spew softly out of my ear buds.  Essentially, my life was this meme:

Is this extra of me?  Entirely.  Is this necessary?  More than.

After all of my days of blues I decided to look for some potential benefits and accept the inevitable.  I took a run to check out Perkins, which I’ll admit did not take as long as I thought it would.  I ran into some current residents who explained that it had recently been renovated, the supposed rat problem was largely malicious rumors, and the slight seclusion made for an incredibly close and bonded sophomore community within Perkins.  I finally came around to the idea that living in Perkins wouldn’t be THE worst thing.  So, I waited expectantly to see my options in the housing lottery, at peace with the prospect of a home in Perkins.  But, at 6:20pm I saw a room left in Sears and screamed, loooooudly.  Here’s to hoping the lottery works out again in my favor this time next year.

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