Hallmates don’t have to be strangers in a pandemic


Some of us were lucky enough to create strong, familial-like bonds with our freshman hallmates. I remember that my room was always a social hub, with countless hallmates staying in our room unless they were asleep. Others knew they were welcome if they needed to talk, if they wanted to watch a movie, or if they were simply sexiled for an hour or so. We had hall dinners and birthday celebrations, sing-a-longs and a sex education-themed trivia night.

As an out-of-state student six hours away from home and familiarity, I could not have asked for a better hall to call my home for that year. “J1E or die,” as they say. 

Then, my roommate and I actually accidentally ended up living in the same dorm room again for sophomore year. We still had each other and our friends from freshman year, not to mention new people who we met in our classes, but we noticed that upperclassmen were not up for all of our same shenanigans. Everyone was content keeping to themselves, which made sense, but was a shock to our systems that we could no longer invade the rooms in which our friends used to live. Our hall’s GroupMe mostly consisted of people who forgot their student ID and needed someone to let them into the dorm and the obligatory complaints that follow fire alarms.

Now, as a junior, my suitemates and I were expecting the same situation. Upperclassmen rarely attend hall events, and with COVID-19 residence hall restrictions, we were not expecting any different. 

However, those restrictions are what made creativity come out and thrive, apparently. For the month of March, my resident assistant came up with a way to get everyone involved without challenging everyone’s patience or schedules. She posted a calendar on each of the hall’s bulletin boards with some sort of holiday, event or Google-invented silly celebration. Our task is to send some sort of photo or video proof that we celebrated the day in the GroupMe. Not only does my suite have endless laughs coming up with each entry each day, but it’s a way for the entire hall to bond over stupid humor in a way that we never would have otherwise. Also, most importantly, the room with the most submissions wins a pizza party.

Some of my favorite days so far have been Peanut Butter Lover’s day, Cereal Day and International Women’s Day. Each of those represent our three moods when it comes to our submissions. For Peanut Butter Lover’s day, my roommate took a photo from Google Images of the Peanut Butter Baby, an internet superstar from several years ago, and edited each of my suitemate’s heads onto his baby head. For Cereal Day, we felt like that was a minimal effort day that we could still use to make something hilarious. We simply posted a bowl of cereal with four forks resting in it: the obvious response, right? 

Then, possibly the best, was our submission for International Women’s Day. Since all four of us are women, we thought just taking a photo of ourselves would be too obvious, and that’s the last thing we would ever want for a competition with such high stakes. Instead, one of my suitemates stood on a stool and used nylon thread to suspend her phone from the air vent on our ceiling and hit “record video.” Then, the four of us laid on the floor in the shape of a “W” and as the phone swayed above us to capture the true magic of the day. That’s the true power of a woman. 

Through this, I’ve started to feel at home in my hall instead of just in my room, even though I haven’t spoken to most of my hallmates in person because of the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic may be a great limitation for everyone in terms of socialization, but that does not mean that there are not ways to still make connections.

Although in-person connections are always more valuable than those over text, do not underestimate the power of a good laugh, a silly meme or expertly directed video. We cannot completely cut ourselves off from anyone outside of our rooms, and this activity has been such a hilarious way to make some much-needed connections. Also, if you live in my hall, I cannot wait to see the rest of your submissions, especially those for Mar. 28, which is Something on a Stick Day.

Alyssa Slovin ‘22 is an English and marketing double major. Besides her work at The Flat Hat as Opinions Editor and Flat Hat Magazine as Editor-in-Chief, she is involved in Sinfonicron Light Opera Company, The Gallery and Active Minds. Email Alyssa at amslovin@email.wm.edu.  


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