Elizabeth Olesh, Alum
Columbia College 1995
Who doesn't have a story about the dorms? I remember trekking up all those flights of stairs in my Columbia boxers to move into Carman 13, the band that practiced down the hall and only seemed to know "Smells Like Teen Spirit," suitemate drama, and much more. If I were only to share one experience, though, it would be the story of senior year in Furnald.
I spent spring of junior year in Italy and asked one of my closest friends to serve as my dorm proxy. She knew Furnald was my first choice and I trusted her completely. Unfortunately, I ended up with a terrible lottery number, but my friend managed to secure one of the last available rooms on the top floor of Furnald Hall.
I soon found out why this room had been available, even with my poor number: it was a tiny L-shaped room, much smaller than the spacious first-floor room I occupied during the first semester of junior year. As the weather grew colder, it also became apparent that the room didn't have any heat. Repeated calls to housing proved fruitless, so I wore a big ugly sweater while I was in my room and made endless pots of coffee and cups of tea.
This was just one of the charms of living in Furnald, though. We learned that the building was about to be gutted and renovated, so many of us took the opportunity to paint or write on the walls: my favorite decorating scheme was that of the woman down the hall, a comp lit major, who covered her walls with Baudelaire's poems. The kitchens in the lounges were probably one step away from being condemned, and you really didn't want to walk down the halls barefoot, but I think everyone loved living there.
I still remember finishing up my very last undergraduate paper in that less-than-desirable room, sometime late at night or very early in the morning, and looking out the window to watch life pass by on Broadway, wondering what would come next.