• April 12, 2019 |

    hey, grad center is not that bad!

    why are you booing me? i’m right!

    article by , illustrated by

    Hey! Stop laughing! I mean it!

    If you were a part of the yearly Game of Dorms that Brown likes to put on, you probably know exactly why I chose to write this article. By now, everyone on campus is all too aware of their “dormological” standing, thanks to the lottery results that came out a few days ago. The aristocratic first-pagers have already taken to Dear Blueno, asking oh-so-innocently if there are any Barbour/Young O inhabitants willing to open up their luxurious suites to their curious eyes. Sure, these posts technically serve some purpose—but they’re essentially nothing more than bitter reminders of dreams crushed to the seventh-pagers who are scrolling through their Facebook feeds.

    When I first saw my lottery number last year, I figured that I would be living in a small Ziploc bag next to I-10. Then I realized that I would be leaving my cozy Wriston single for The Towers™, causing me to be even more distraught than I had been initially. But is everything truly so hopeless for our brethren at the bottom of the PDF?

    Look, I know that Grad Center is not considered one of the “premier” dorms on campus. And yes, the fact that it looks like a literal prison isn’t doing it any PR favors. But really and truly, from the bottom of my (admittedly Grad-Center-C-inhabiting) heart, it’s not that bad.

    The “anti-Grad Center Fake News” would like you to believe that there are zero redeeming factors about the “Gratty.” This is patently false. First of all, the buildings look really cool on Google Maps. Like tiny fans. That’s a huge perk, especially compared to the pathetic rectangles that are Barbour and Young O. But I digress. Look, my goal is not to be blindly optimistic—it’s to prepare you to live in the Gratty (is it catching on yet?) and maybe even realize that there’s a lot to love about prison complexes A through E. So, unlike Brown tour guides bringing around a class of doe-eyed pre-frosh, I’m going to be upfront about the issues with Brown housing.

    Yes, the walls sweat. I’m not sure if you’ve heard about this fun piece of Brown University™ trivia, but during the first two weeks of fall and the last two of spring, the Grad Center walls sweat like a sinner in church. A tip for new residents: Don’t put up your posters until at least three weeks in. If not, your tape will be overpowered by the rushing of the Niagara Falls, your posters will fall in the middle of the night, and you will think it’s an intruder, scream, and wake up your entire suite.

    Another thing: Do your best to be in a suite with people you know. If you don’t, it’s honestly not a huge issue. If anything, people who don’t know you are less likely to think they can get away with being slightly more inconvenient. But the one thing to make sure to do—and I cannot stress this enough—is to establish bathroom cleanliness standards early on. That first month is the critical period for just how disgusting you’ll allow the bathroom to get. Use that knowledge wisely.

    Okay, we’ve discussed a lot of the issues with Grad Center. And sure, there are others we haven’t really mentioned—like the lack of washing and drying machines, the lack of a functional kitchen, and the lack of soul. However, I think this is the critical point in my analysis where I finally let you in on the secret that makes it all worth it: the fact that you have a guaranteed single.
    Hear me out. Unless you really, really love your roommate, living in a single is far superior to any other living arrangement. You know who can turn on their lights whenever they please? You can. You know who can sleep naked if that’s what they like to do? You can. You know who can watch videos without putting on headphones? You can.

    In addition, I feel like there are a lot of things that people warned me about that ultimately didn’t prove to be true. One issue people had was that noise travels easily. I haven’t really had any issues with that, and certainly not any more than I would have had elsewhere on campus. In fact, I’m pretty sure that the cement walls help with the soundproofing of the building. I was also told the rooms were pretty small, but I’ve been really happy with the amount of space I have—which, according to the floor plans, is very much average—even considering the fact that I have a full size bed (order a Bruno Bed, y’all, it’s life-changing). The new study area in the Bear’s Lair is super nice, and if you’ve never set foot in a gym, like me, you won’t notice the loss of the gym that used to be there.

    My point is, all is not lost. Grad Center is a perfectly respectable place to live, it’s as clean as you keep it, and there’s only minimal blood staining on the carpets. After you turn 21, you can even utilize the GCB, which is a huge perk! For all the fun I’ve poked at the Gratty in this article, I must admit that I really don’t mind living here. The issues I talked about are the only real ones I’ve had, and with a fan and some resilience making it through the two boiling weeks of the semester, it is a feat anyone can accomplish. Though I was tricked, duped, lied to, and led astray by anti-Grad Center haters, my year here has made me thankful for my cement home, and I’ve even come to love it.