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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Cribz: First-years and their first dorms

First years show off their new dorm rooms to the S&B’s Malcolm Galpern Levin. Photo contributed by Maddie Healy ’24.

As classes continue virtually and temperatures outside slip below zero, first-year Grinnell College students find themselves spending more and more time in their brand-new dorm rooms. Many are wholeheartedly embracing the art of interior design as they attempt to spice up the monochromatic white walls they were first greeted with. This week the S&B visited six unique first-year dorm rooms and got a sneak peek at the comfort students have sought out and created for themselves in their new homes.

These interviews have been edited for length and clarity.

Lucia Finkelstein ’24, Loose Hall “Eclectic”

Lucia Finkelstein ’24 describes her room as a “jumble of themes.” Photo by Malcolm Galpern Levin.

“I don’t think it has a theme. I like the idea that it’s like a bunch of different themes together. I like the look of different things that kind of don’t really go together being put together. So, if that were a theme then that would be the theme: a jumble of things I think always looks cool.

I’ve been planning this out since when we were supposed to go in August. My room in Brooklyn, where I’m from, it’s my childhood bedroom so I never got to fully make it look like how I want it to look now because it always will have the remnants of being a toddler. It’s not designed the way I would have designed it now.”

Ayan Rahman ’24, Loose Hall “Vibey”

When packing for school, Ayan Rahman ’24 tried to be mindful of minimalism and comfort. Photo by Malcolm Galpern Levin.

“My room basically is a very calming location during the day and then at night it’s a very vibey area with lots of lights. I spend a lot of time in my room at home and in my room the biggest thing that I do is watch Anime, so I feel like I brought that piece of myself here in Grinnell through that. I also listen to a lot of music in my own room, so I brought out a lot of my favorite artists.

Somehow this isn’t what my room looks like at home but bringing all the elements of what I do in my own room to Grinnell kind of makes it feel more home-y. I made sure to bring a lot of different photos of friends and family and put them alongside my posters and album covers. They told us to be very minimal with how much we pack, but I guess it’s my first dorm experience, so I really wanted to go all out but then balance that with the minimal energy. It’s a matter of comfort I think at the end of the day. I have this really cool skylight; at night it projects these really cool colored stars and it looks like a fricken galaxy.”

Lexi Hankenson ’24, Norris Hall “Soothing”

Lexi Hankenson ’24 wanted to make sure her dorm reminded her of home. Photo by Malcolm Galpern Levin.

“The main thing that was important to me about coming to Grinnell was still having a sense of home, which sounds super cheesy, but I cannot focus or think unless I have things around me. I’m like a reverse minimalist.

Above the windows I have three tapestries that are tarot cards which represent the star, the moon and the sun. I really connect with spiritual things so to have them right out the window, which happens to be southern facing exposure, it just kind of helped me have a little center where it’s like this is my peace center.

I have my fairy lights up because I hate fluorescent lighting. I cannot stand fluorescent lighting. Peace, love and positivity to the people who can. The fairy lights just kind of help me separate the space that’s more for relaxing.”

Maddie Healy ’24, Loose Hall “Colorful”

Maddie Healy ’24 uses her new dorm as a blank canvas for a collage. Photo by Malcom Galpern Levin.

“I knew that we were going to be here for seven weeks, and we were supposed to pack essentially, but I wanted it to be a fun place because I knew I would be spending a lot of time in here because it’s cold out. So, I just brought a ton of stuff to decorate, especially the walls, to kind of make it feel like home. I just go through magazines and stuff and cut out random photos because I’m not trying to spend too much money. Then I just hang them up and sometimes they look ugly, but kind of the ugly ones are good.”

Jasper Gray ’24, Norris Hall “Home”

For Jasper Gray ’24, having a “home” at school is most important. Photo by Malcolm Galpern Levin.

“I was just trying to make it someplace I’d be comfortable with, bringing the element of home … just things that would remind me of home. A lot of these posters are from my room [at home]. The College really advised us to bring only the essentials, and I guess to me at home my room is my safe place where I’m the happiest. I know that whenever I’m going through something, I’m always safer in my room. I can lock it and then I don’t really have to deal with the outside world. I didn’t want to lose that when I came to Grinnell.

Having this place is so much more impactful because it’s my first place that my parents aren’t in control of. I love them but it’s kind of nice to be independent.”

Alicia Levine ’24, James Hall “Retreat”

Alicia Levine ’24 uses “random” things to make her new room a unique retreat. Photo by Malcolm Galpern Levin.

“I’ve been collecting posters since sophomore year of high school, or just things that I’ve made, magazine scraps, notes from friends or whatever else and color-coordinating them and just throwing them on my walls essentially. I tend to gravitate towards making and creating things with a lot of color in them. I’ve collected random things from absolutely random places. There’s a clipping from a newspaper that I thought looked cool, there’s the back of a business card, some origami my friend wrote me, a note that I wrote in frustration.”

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