Dorm Dive: The Man Cave

Becker, Padda, Le, and Flaherty kick back in their ‘man cave’ in Palmer. (Allegra Pocinki/The Phoenix)

Friends Karan Padda ’14 and Tyler Becker ’14 as well as swim teammates John Flaherty ’14 and Stan Le ’14 occupy this spacious Palmer quad. Dubbed “The Man Cave,” the quad comprises a combined double and common space, which has a smaller double extending off of it. The students decided January of their freshman year to block together rather than join the lottery because sophomores, by nature of the seniority-based lottery process, select rooms last. Whilst the students’ room was their fifth preferred choice, they are now happily settled.

Allegra Pocinki/The Phoenix

“I’m glad we don’t live in Willets,” Flaherty said. “We’d never have this kind of set up,” Padda added. The quad features high ceilings, a small storage room and a private bathroom. Yet it is the 42-inch television, which Padda’s father generously and unexpectedly gave to his son, that commands the greatest attention. The students have created an entertainment arena in the center of the room, featuring speakers, an X-box and a Wii, as well as a surreptitiously borrowed couch, which the students insist will be returned to its rightful place by the end of the academic year. According to Padda, the room is an ideal “hang-out and study space,” which the students use to either play FIFA or do school work, and he admits there are few reasons to leave their ample common space.

“There is the stereotype that there is not much hall life,” Padda said. According to Le, “To an extent [the stereotype] is true … but it’s there if you look for it.” Due to the quad being one of only three rooms on the first floor of Palmer, and located under the stairs, they feel somewhat secluded. “We have a lot of friends who live in the PPR complex,” Padda said. This allows them to socialize by inviting friends over instead.

Allegra Pocinki / The Phoenix

To Becker, the distance from campus is the worst aspect of living in Palmer, an opinion not wholly shared by his quadmates. “Five minutes [of walking] is not that big a deal. I feel that people make it a bigger deal than it actually is,” Le said. Whilst they must sacrifice on-campus amenities such as late-night visits to Essie Mae’s, Padda keeps in mind that Swarthmore is still a small campus. “We don’t have to take buses to get to class,” Padda said, like students do in many larger colleges.

Posters flank the walls, featuring Star Wars and Club Poon, a well-attended past Paces event which the quadmates helped organize this semester. Due to each room having only one ceiling light, four floor lamps, a novelty ice cream lamp and two desk lamps add more light.

Privacy is an issue the quadmates face, especially for Padda and Becker, who live in the common space/double. “At the beginning of the year it was interesting getting used to,” Padda said. However, the lounge space comes in handy for hosting spec visits and social gatherings, one of which saw guests enter the quad by somersaulting into the room through the window.

Allegra Pocinki/The Phoenix

For its multiple uses, the quad is well-kept, especially for an all-male quad. “On any given day, you can always find Karan vacuuming something,” Le said.

Tyler Becker is an Opinions columnist for The Phoenix. He had no role in the production of this feature.

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