Sammi Bray ’25
I never went to sleepaway camp growing up; I adored theatre camp and the YMCA’s programs, but sleepaway camp was where I drew the line.
I had a handful of sleepovers in elementary school and middle school but limited them as much as possible. I loved being with people, but I needed to be in my own bed at night.
The though of living in a college dorm loomed over my head for years leading up to August 2021. I knew I had to do it, for the experience and independence of it that I’ve always craved. After graduation, I was a rollercoaster of highs and lows—excited to go and then planning out how many times I could possibly come home in a week.
I moved into Trinity Hall (formerly Wheaton), on a sunny – which means boiling hot – Monday morning. The school had a system in place to check people in, but for pre-orientation students, that was mostly it. Most of us were a little lost, but perhaps Trinity intentionally made this our first bonding experience?
The first week or two were hardest, with no classes yet to give us structure. Pre-orientation kept us busy but lasted only two days. Still, the events served as a great way to meet people, including Trinity’s staff. Most of my best friends on campus are people I met during those first few days.
As regular orientation wrapped up, campus began to fill. After the past year and a half, seeing so many people was a bit overwhelming. Slowly, the wait for Mather got longer and longer, finding a table became a hunt. For first-years, it felt like our worlds were being shaken up again.
The feeling didn’t last long though, and even in the moments of pure dining hall chaos, we all still felt like we were a part of the community, even if we didn’t quite understand what we were supposed to be doing.
In my dorm, I adjusted in new ways each day. In the bathroom, everyone said “hi,” sharing room numbers, class schedules, and Instagram handles.
Most people leave their doors open, inviting others to stop in. One floormate has a sign to knock for candy, while others send messages in our GroupMe inviting others to come over and grab a snack.
At first, we all wore our masks in the halls and in the bathroom – something that most of us were used to after returning to school for the 2020-2021 academic year. For others, who had been virtual since last March, it was a harder adjustment.
As we continue to settle in and get more comfortable with each other, mask-wearing has certainly been reduced. Most people feel comfortable walking down the hall to brush their teeth without one, while a handful have decided to keep them on. I’ve noticed a difference in dress too, with more girls on my floor feeling comfortable in their bathrobes on the walk to the bathroom. I still don’t know everyone’s name on my floor, and I toss in turn in the dorm bed that still doesn’t feel quite like mine yet, but be