Thurston Dining Hall
Wednesday, May 16, 2001
My room in Thurston Hall still looks the same – 318. It is still too tiny to accommodate four people. But the bathroom definitely seemed smaller than when I lived there.
The hall still smells the same, too. The distinctive mix of disinfectant, sweat and years of cheap beer spilled and ground into the carpets was still there. Freshman year came back to me all too clearly when I took part in Grad Week’s Back to Thurston event.
Four years ago the upperclassmen at orientation told me that living in Thurston was a great experience, but that I would never want to do it again. Well, they lied to me about getting all the classes I wanted, but their description of Thurston was fitting. I did not mind visiting for an hour, but I would never live there again.
I recognized most of the faces I saw at the Thurston, some I feel I had not seen in four years. But there were no big reunions. I still live with one of my freshman year roommates, and when we found our third roomie sitting with her sorority sisters. She did not squeal or groan at our greeting and seemed fairly indifferent when we had another graduate snap our photo together.
Some seniors were enjoying themselves. I found a couple who met on the sixth floor of Thurston all smiles as they headed upstairs to visit their old stomping grounds.
I decided to follow suit. I visited the room of my ex who lived on the third floor with me. I explored the closet where we went to hide from his roommates in case they were to walk in on us kissing. It seemed bigger than I remembered it.
I stuck my head into the third floor study lounge where I spent many a late night cramming. I could still feel the tenseness in the air from exam stress. It made me nervous, and I quickly left.
Walking the halls I ran into a three girls that I had many classes with for the last two years of college. Turns out they lived on my floor freshman year, and we never recognized each other. With 120 people on a floor, I guess I never met them all.
I am sad to say the event was disappointing, but to no fault of its organizers. It was cool to eat pizza and drink beer in my freshman dorm while University administrators watched, helpless now that I am of age. But their presence somehow took away the thrill of defiance one feels as a freshman. GW bought the beer, carded you at the door and capped your intake at two beers – not enough to help me forget the memories of my first year at college.
But what was more disappointing was that it made me realize I really am graduating. It is really over. My fellow classmates also carried the same look of disbelief on their faces as they mingled and waited in line for beer. Has it really been four years since we lived here?
I went back down to the dining hall to find my roommate. Looking back, Thurston Hall is a rite of passage, a tradition and a haunting sort of urban phenomenon that I will forever remember. My four years at GW were fulfilling, but just as I was ready to move on from Thurston at the end of freshman year, it is now also time to leave this place.