A while back, before the new resident assistants (RA) were picked for next year, I was picked up as a mid-year hire.
This surprised me. After not getting it last spring, I moved off campus and I’ve made it very clear to anyone who would listen that I’d made the right choice. I also mocked the idea of the position a little more than I probably should have.
“You couldn’t pay me to go back to campus,” I’d say to the people who asked if I’d reapply.
But, of course, when I got that fateful email on a Friday night, my resentful heart melted. I asked the Resident Director (RD) if I could think it over. I had until Sunday afternoon.
My parents were conveniently visiting that Saturday.
“Jordan,” my stepmom started, using her fork to scoop ice cubes from her water into her red wine. “You’d be stupid not to take it. Think of all the money you’ll save.”
True. No more rent. All the Hasbrouck I could eat. Free laundry (now I wouldn’t have to wait until I was out of underwear to force myself to the laundromat) and the free Wi-Fi would be nice.
The conflict was over leaving my apartment, with its hardwood flooring and white, open rooms. My roommate, only a friendly acquaintance when we moved in, has become a best friend (Thursday wine night and lying in bed watching Bar Rescue does wonders for a fledgling friendship).
I was also living with my boyfriend at the time and we made 21 S. Chestnut our little home. He bought incense and tea lights to put on the windowsills. I would water our plants and chose a new comforter for the bed.
Leaving was not an easy decision, but it was one I made with confidence. Sort of.
Sunday morning I woke up miserable.
Oh man, I thought. This was a mistake.
All day, I moped. When I started packing my things in a pile in the kitchen, I held back tears and wiped my nose on my wrist.
Mackenzie and I packed the car and made a final stop before the move. We had to watch “The Walking Dead” at our friend’s house. Even an RA position could wait for zombie killings and negotiations over the prison.
Finally, we pulled up behind the residence hall and I called the RA on duty to let me in. After some quick hellos, we brought the bulk of my things up the stairs to the third floor.
I had to stop by the RA office to return his ID and the neon green paint on the walls was horrifying. So were the door tags that I knew I should make so I could be the cool, new RA to the hall of first-year girls that I was taking over.
All of a sudden, I hated the building. I hated the familiar smell of hundreds of bodies in one building. I wanted to tear down the boards packed with colors and glitter. I didn’t want to create the programs that the same 10 or so students would attend and I had no interest in leaving my bedroom door open to bond with my residents.
When I shut the door to my new room behind me, I felt like I’d just slammed shut the bars to a prison cell.
Like a kid getting dropped off at her first day of kindergarten, I started bawling.
“I want to go home. This was a mistake,” I cried to Mackenzie.
“Well…are you serious? Or are you just freaking out?” he said.
“No. I gotta get out of here,” I said.
He looked at my small pile of things. I’d brought some linens, a laundry bag stuffed with clothes, a box of books and my laptop.
“Wanna do something crazy?” he asked with a huge grin.
I nodded and after a beat, we grabbed everything. He shoved my laptop in a pillowcase and I balanced the box on top of my laundry bag. With everything in our arms, we scanned the room.
“Should we take something?” Mackenzie asked.
I rolled my eyes. “Let’s go!”
With super stealth, we ran down a side set of stairs to the car.
“Home?” he asked. And we drove away on my triumphant escape.
Maybe I can get the “Shortest Term Award” at the banquet.
* Editor’s Note: This piece represents the opinions of the writer and not those of The New Paltz Oracle or its staff.