May 18, 2000Thurston Hall7:32p.m.
I first realized I was graduating when I took my tassel out of the bag with my cap and gown. It was a scary moment as I fought back tears. I thought that would be the worst of the I’m finally graduating flood of emotions, but nothing could prepare me for what I would experience going back to Thurston.
As I walked across campus with my roommate and friends, I saw people I hadn’t seen in four years, but who had all been a part of my freshman experience. We smiled and said hello, all with the same this is it, we’re going back, we’re graduating feeling. The idea of drinking legally in Thurston was exciting to us all, and after four years you still can’t beat free food. But what we were looking forward to most was going up to the seventh floor and seeing our old room.
It wouldn’t be GW if we didn’t get T-shirts as we walked in the door. My last free T-shirt at GW is a nice one – heavy weight, too. They give us the good stuff now ’cause they want our money even after we leave. My friends and I continued to the pizza and beer downstairs in Thurston Dining Hall. Lots of pizza, and a huge line for beer (everyone got tickets allotting them two bottles of beer). Figures. I enjoyed some pizza, caught up with some old friends, and drank a beer before heading upstairs.
The seventh floor of Thurston made my freshman year experience. I realize now that everyone I’ve lived with since freshman year originated on the seventh floor. It had been our first home away from home. It was a place where we could always find someone to talk to, and managed to stay up till 3 a.m. most days and still make it to our 9 a.m. classes. Some of us even managed to stay awake in those classes.
I got off the elevator and ran down the hall to room 711, where some of my old friends were. I was greeted with some hugs and the usual hello’s and how are you’s. It felt weird to be back. It felt good, but wrong at the same time. After all, we weren’t back in Thurston. We were just visiting – we’re leaving GW soon, and we’re not coming back in August.
Seeing my room was something else. It brought me right back to the day I moved in. I was the second person to get to our Thurston quad, and my roommate already had frat boys helping her unpack. My dad made friends with this girl down the hall. She was from Oregon, and it turns out she’s my roommate now. My old roommate Jen and I remembered exactly where the furniture had been, and I can even remember how my stuff was arranged. It was like the end of Titanic where everyone comes back – I could see our room as it had been four years ago.
The girls next door in room 710 were crying. I joined them for a little while. Leaving is never easy. They sat and looked out the window and hugged each other. I remember they had been through a lot freshman year but they pulled through and remained friends.
I visited the room my friends and I partied in on Columbus Day weekend. I remembered how Charlotte, the mean community facilitator (formally known as resident assistant) from the ninth floor who busted everyone, knocked on the door that night. I remembered the time Paul, an engineering major from room 709, rewired his roommate’s alarm clock so the snooze button became an off button. Apparently his roommate Dan would snooze his alarm for hours, driving Paul crazy.
I went down to room 721 to remember the times I spent there playing video games with the boys who hosted the weekly porn nights (never went to those). My friends and I mourned those who are no longer at GW. We remembered the good times we had with Josh and Jason, and then we remembered how obnoxious they were and laughed about it.
We wondered whatever happened to people who made our Thurston experience quite an experience. We laughed at how some roommates were born to live together and others – well, GW couldn’t have put a more diverse room together than some of those on the seventh floor.
We remembered teasing Oliver, our community facilitator, (once again formally known as resident assistant) because he had a steady girlfriend. We called him the Love Doctor. He had certainly helped me through more than a few boy problems that year. We remembered the time he came home from a weekend away and he had gotten engaged. I saw him last year and he and his fianc? had broken up. I guess everything changes.
Returning to Thurston brought back nice memories of some good times I had almost forgotten. I saw friends I hadn’t seen in years. Returning home was the perfect ending to my years at GW.