Living in Parrish?! My First-Year Residential Experience

It was Wednesday, August 1, 2018, at 3:35 p.m. The subject line of the email read: Welcome to Swarthmore: Room Assignment & Roommate Information!

I couldn’t believe it. Shaking with excitement and nervousness, I opened the email, went to the housing portal link, and clicked my room assignment. A box popped up and it read: Parrish Hall, Room 456.

Back it up…….

‘Parrish Hall’?!  I frantically refreshed the website to see if there was a mistake. I didn’t even know it was possible to live in Parrish. I had thought that it was just a beautiful building on all the college’s brochures and pamphlets that housed the deans’ and admissions offices. I then decided to open google and type in ‘Parrish Hall’ to confirm I wasn’t thinking of a different building; I was disappointed by the results. Living in Parrish did not sound appealing—I had a million questions. Would there be any social life? Where would the rest of the girls from my lacrosse team be living? Would I even have a normal college experience living in the administration building? All these fears ran through my head as move-in day approached.

Fast forward a year later and I can tell you that, contrary to prior belief, Parrish had quickly become my home. The slanted ceilings and creaky wooden floors grew on me, believe it or not. I even experienced feelings of sadness saying goodbye to my roommate and leaving Room 456 for the last time, something that I never thought would have happened one short year ago. Little did I know that my feelings would completely evolve over the course of the year. But what I do know now is that I wouldn’t trade living in Parrish, or my first year experience, for anything else.

Parrish is known to be one of the quietest dorms on campus, but it was through this seclusion and peace that I was able to learn a lot about myself. I learned to enjoy my own company and realized that I didn’t always have to be around other people. With lacrosse practices, club meetings, and social events, it was important for me to understand that I could take a break; it was ok to take a step back from the busy life of college. This gave me time to reflect on everything I was experiencing and allowed me to stay in tune with my feelings.

Living on the East Wing of the fourth floor, I had a beautiful view of the Arboretum and Rose Garden. I could see the sunset over the colorful trees. I could peer down and see the fresh powdery layer of snow that had fallen the night before. My friend who lived down the hall even had a view of Philadelphia from her dorm window, which I would often visit to see the city lights off in the distance. Despite having to go up flights of stairs everyday when the elevator was too slow, living on the fourth floor definitely had its perks.

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Living in the hub of campus meant that I was at one of the most accessible locations. It was convenient to roll out of bed at 8:15 for my 8:30 classes without the concern of showing up late. McCabe Library, a place where I often studied at night, was just a short 30-second walk away from Parrish. All of the shuttles, vans, and Ubers came right through Parrish Circle. While it was great in terms of physical proximity to other places, some of the best resources available to students were all right in my building. There is Shane Lounge (for events), the mailroom, the Office of Student Engagement, Career Services, and much more. Living in a building where there is always so much going on made it easy for me to stop by and check out what was happening on any given day. With such a central location, I could take a nap in my dorm room between classes, or swing by to grab the notebook I had forgotten for lab.

College students come to learn that dorm rooms are much more than just a place to sleep and live throughout the year. For me, my room became a place where I made some of my favorite first-year memories (some are listed below):

  • Cozying up in my little alcove when it was winter and watching the snow fall from my window
  • My roommate and I rearranging the whole room and moving furniture around at 2 a.m. on a weeknight
  • Bringing friends to my room to talk for hours on end about the most random topics
  • Late nights running down to Shane and seeing if anyone generously left any food

Despite the major hesitation at the start of my first year, everything turned out better than I could have imagined, and I owe it all to Isaiah Thomas. Random housing is honestly a blessing and I’m happy I had the chance to call Parrish my home during my first year. Parrish has not only made me appreciate time to myself, but it has allowed me to make so many friends, people I probably wouldn’t have met if it weren’t for the housing situation. Year 1 was a success and there is no doubt that my living environment impacted what I learned about myself in this past year as I transitioned into college. Here’s to year 2 housing assignments and making more memories in my new home!

2 thoughts on “Living in Parrish?! My First-Year Residential Experience

  1. Hi. Swat’73 here. And Parrish was my first dorm in room 456😊! For me it started as a triple but winnowed to a double. Freshman year memories are still dear to my heart and I have maintained a lifelong friendship with my Parrish 456 freshman roommate.
    Thank you for your lovely story that brought tears to my eyes and evoked a flood of wonderful memories.
    Best wishes for your remaining time at Swarthmore. Please cherish the moments.
    Best regards,

    1. Hello Angelica! Wow, it means a lot that you reached out to me and I’m so glad you came across my article. It’s great to hear that you still keep in contact with your first-year roommate and I’m touched that you were moved by my blog. Thank you so much for reaching out and writing, and I will definitely make the most out of my remaining time here at Swat!!
      Class of ’22

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