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Dorm Dive: Things That Make Us Happy

in Campus Journal/Weekly Features by

The infamous Willets dorm is the best place to live for four Sophomore roommates. Estefania Brambila-Olmedo ’15, Tamsin True-Alcala ’15, Kate Wiseman ’15, and Eve DiMagno ’15 reside in a two-room quad on the second floor of Willets.

The wall surrounding the door that opens up to Brambila-Olmedo and True-Alcala’s double is decorated with magazine cutouts and pictures of stars and galaxies. Brambila-Olmedo has chosen to spice up the rather dull hallway by routinely decorating the space. “Estefania likes to change it up,” True-Alcala said, noting that there have been several themes throughout the year. Past themes include Halloween, Christmas, Fall, ‘Welcome Back’ and, until recently, Valentine’s Day, which included a festive chair and a basket with a sign inviting passersby to take some chocolate Kisses.

Once inside, a large window on the far right stretching from the floor to the ceiling brightens up the room. The left side is Brambila-Olmedo’s and it is decorated with “things that made me happy,” she said. These things include “Indiana Jones, Star Wars, Mountains, Mexico, and happiness,” Wiseman explained. There are posters featuring these interests on the wall alongside her bed, along with a dream catcher and a square mirror. Under her bed is a three-drawer plastic container full of snacks, including granola bars and Clif bars in the first drawer, Mexican candy in the second, and cookies in the last. Wiseman assured me that Brambila-Olmedo “will always offer you food.”

There is a closet near the entrance of the room, followed by a dresser with a shelf topper. Adjacent to the dresser is Brambila-Olmedo’s desk, which is also adorned with the things she loves, including rock climbing images, photographs, a speaking Indiana Jones doll, and frisbees. “I’m a sporadic member of the [Swarthmore frisbee] team and I attend all the social events,” Brambila-Olmedo said. She is also in SBC, The Outsiders club, ENLACE, Boys Meet Tractor alongside roommate Wiseman, and a tour guide for admissions.

Roommate True-Alcala was supposedly pushed to decorate by Brambila-Olmedo, who insisted “I like to look at pretty stuff when I’m studying.” True-Alcala, who expressed an interest in art, proudly displays three of her own paintings by her bed, which lies adjacent to the left wall of the room. “I like the color [it adds]” she mentioned. There is also a world map and a green poster she randomly found one day and decided to keep.

The focus of the room is definitely a white sofa chair True-Alcala’s parents bought her at the Friends’ Meeting House’s Jumble Sale last semester. “It was covered in cat hair,” noted True-Alcala, who just happens to be allergic. “My poor mom had to take it all off.” Regardless, “it’s a really awesome chair” she admitted.

A door between Brambila-Olmedo’s desk and bed leads to DiMagno’s and Wiseman’s double. Another tall window brightens the room and Wiseman noted that the friends “have a great view.” The passage between Willets and McCabe leading up to Parrish Circle and the Rose Garden is in view, yet Wiseman admits the view of Swatties traveling up the hill is the best part. “It’s really funny to see people [sprinting up the path] when they’re late.”

Wiseman mentioned that the “walls are very representative of our personalities.” Wiseman is vegan and admits to “loving animals.” She has a stuffed Highland cow on her bed and a picture of a turkey named Shannon. Wiseman admits “my friends thought Shannon was a little judgmental” which is why they have put her up on the wall, to serve as a deterrent for “unacceptable” behavior. Hanging on the wall is also one of her own paintings and over her desk are pictures of her friends.

“We used to have a kangaroomate” Wiseman recalled. The nearly four foot tall stuffed kangaroo belonged to old roommate Abigail Frank who is now studying abroad. “We dressed her up in hats and jackets” Wiseman said.

The warped mirror is the highlight of this room. The roommates noticed the farther away they stood from the mirror, the fatter they looked. Modeled after Harry Potter’s ‘Mirror of Erised’, the roommates placed a sign over the mirror that reads ‘The Mirror of ME ETSE Fles Wol’ (The Mirror of Low Self Esteem), with the phrase ‘Unless you’re Callen Rain’ in parenthesis under it. “Everyone hates [the mirror]” Wiseman explained, “except Callen. He likes to look at his muscles, it makes them look bigger,” she added.

New roommate DiMagno moved from a Mary Lyons single into the double with Wiseman. The move to Willets worked perfectly according to DiMagno, who explained that Kate needed a roommate after Abigail went abroad, and she was lonely tucked away in her ML single. DiMagno and Wiseman are on the swim team together. She described her decorations as “stuff I brought from home which fit in my suitcase,” including postcards from friends that hang on the wall next to her bed, wooden chemistry blocks found on her desk, and a tapestry with orange and green designs that her grandmother got in India. A drawing of DiMagno’s ‘Hunky Midwestern Dream Man’ also lies over her bed; she explained that he is a shirtless man from Nebraska.

All four roommates have lived in Mary Lyons; DiMagno last semester and the other three during their freshman year. “As freshman it’s really fun, but not as sophomores,” Wiseman said, who realized how many Swatties she didn’t know this year after being tucked away in ML. For True-Alcala, Willets “[is] really convenient” and she admits “it’s nice to be on campus.” Aside from the bad smell of the carpet when she first moved in, Wiseman also loves Willets, explaining that “it’s right behind McCabe and it’s very social,” plus the “second floor is not too insane.” Brambila-Olmedo did mention the bathroom next door can be quite loud. “We can hear the shower, the paper towel dispenser, and even private conversations” she said. DiMagno likes living in Willets. She described her single in ML as “really lonely.” Her three new roommates and Willets’ spirited culture have surely changed that.

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