When I closed my dorm room door behind me in April of first year and returned my room keys to the commonsblock, I thought I’d said goodbye to dorm life forever.
Boy, was I wrong. When I walk around campus years later, I see my dorm room everywhere. It’s like seeing someone I just can’t place and realizing we definitely lived in the same building for eight months without speaking a word to each other.
When Main Mall’s fairy string lights go up conveniently around the time students’ winter blues hit, I’m reminded so cruelly of the fairy lights that dangled in every room on my floor.
Walking by UBC’s shadow tree outside the Nest made me wonder if I chose to hang a poster of a tree in my room by my own volition, or if this expensive installation is what inspired it.
Passing through IKB or the Nest, I spot groups of friends studying with various levels of intensity, and I fear those days studying in the commonsblock aren’t far enough behind me.
Even eating on campus brings up memories. When I can’t get a meal for under $10 on campus, I recall the days of $17 salads in my residence.
When I can’t tell the difference between buildings on campus, I’m reminded of wandering lost in Totem Park, or when I learned that there are ten buildings in Vanier while I could only name four.
Sometimes, when I have a conversation that lasts a little too long or hold prolonged eye contact washing my hands in the IKB bathroom, I’m reminded how many friendships were born in communal dorm water closets.
All that to say, you can return your keys. You can shut that door. But as long as you roam UBC campus, you can never truly leave the dorms behind you. Maybe once I graduate I’ll yearn for those days again, and rest easy knowing that by that point, UBC will only be a SkyTrain ride away.