Move in day at the dorms! The Marymount Manhattan College 55th street dorm was not your average single room, shared bathroom, no kitchen college dorm experience. Our dorms were actually converted apartments on the first 32 floors of a luxury high rise building. The wealthy residents had their own entrance and elevators of course. Though each room was fancy with a full kitchen and bathroom, the building only had two elevators, making move-in day a very tedious process. The line of eager freshmen went so far down 55th street it wrapped around to 2nd ave. Students and parents lined up one right after the other, bins filled with important belongings like Center Stage posters and all 10 seasons of Friends on DVD, crucial can’t-live-without items.
After what felt like hours, my parents and I rolled my bin into room 1403. Already there and almost completely unpacked were two of my 3 roommates; Nicky and Caitlin. With their thick Joey Tribbiani accents they introduced themselves and informed us that they had gone to the same high school thus planned to share one of the bedrooms. Their preplanned matching comforters and wall decor made me feel unprepared for this dorm life.
Nickki was from Long Island and came from a lot of money. We came from entirely different backgrounds, had very different interests and with that really never clicked. Don’t get me wrong, we had some fun moments that year. I’ll never forget the night we all dressed up and pretended to be contestants on America’s Next Top Model. Tap dancing on tables ensued. Another memorable moment was the night her father took us to Ruth’s Chris steak house for dinner and easily dropped $1000. I got my first glimpse into how the other half lives. To be honest, though he was being extremely generous and I was sure to send my thank you note the way my mama raised me, it made me very uncomfortable to have so much overpriced food be ordered and not eaten.
Nikki only went to MMC one year and after that neither one of us made an effort to keep in touch, not even Facebook kept us connected. Some relationships aren’t meant to last and that is ok.
Caitlin was, and still is, this cute tiny little Italian with a ballet background and came to MMC to major in communications. Obsessed with Sex and the City, Caitlin had this vision of what her life in manhattan would be and Carey Bradshaw was her role model. Caitlin loved fashion and knew a lot of cool things about the city like famous restaurants seen in movies and other fun facts. She took us to Cafe Lalo, the restaurant where Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan were supposed to meet in You’ve Got Mail. That to me was one of the coolest things! We became close friends that year. I learned a lot from her about brand names and how to find incredible discounts, not that it mattered at the time. My college student income didn’t allow for a lot of spending. Caitlin always had a positive disposition and was an excellent roommate. Unfortunately we lost touch after college but occasionally “like” each other’s photos on Facebook. She’s one of those people who were hugely important to me at the time but our lives simply lead us apart. We ran into each other a few years back and I learned that she became a Special Education teacher. From what I can see on social media, Caitlin is married, living in New Jersey and recently popped out her first child. Though we live separate lives, she’s one of those people I could run into and pick up right where we left off.
My parents and I were busy unpacking in the second bedroom when my roommate showed up. At a whopping 4’10” Heather Barnes walked into my life, parents in tow.
Heather was from Vermont and totally looked the part. Her Ben and Jerry’s tie dyed shirt was a Heather staple. She came to MMC with intentions of pursuing musical theater and would later teach me everything I needed to know about Sutton Foster.
We were shy towards each other at first and went about our business setting up our halves of the room. We strategically placed our wall decor and valuables transforming this blank white room into our temporary home.
That night, Heather said goodbye to her parents and wished them safe travels back to Vermont. Because my parents were sticking in town for a few days they invited her to join us for dinner their treat. We sat down at PJ Clarks not even a block from the dorms and got to know my new roomie. Heather, totally oblivious to the fact that a steak listed on a menu without a price meant it was expensive, ordered her ribeye medium rare, just the way she likes it. My parents teased her about her innocent yet pricy dinner choice years later. She made herself comfortable right off the bat, typical Heather. That’s the thing about Heather though, not only does she make herself comfortable, she makes others feel comfortable around her. My first year of college was extremely hard. There were times I cried myself to sleep stricken with homesickness (the result of a really loving upbringing I guess) but Heather was always understanding and supportive. My original plan for this particular blog post was to go into detail of how our friendship evolved into what it is today but I realized as I got going that Heatha B Pooface (I’ll explain later) deserves her own post separate from dorm life details and other roomies.
And so, after a friendly and pricey dinner, Heather and I returned to our dorm on the 14th floor and settled in with Nicky and Caitlin for our first of many nights as roomies.