East Campus, and more specifically my family on Fifth East, is the only place I have ever felt safe, comfortable, and (most importantly) loved. The building may seem like a proper decrepit place to put irresponsible 20somethings, but we are all unspeakably grateful to be given somewhere to truly be ourselves. The walls are covered with years of students painting their own pivotal moments, and the explosively creative spirit of the residents who find themselves within those walls can only be kept under wraps by the stress of classes. Come IAP comes Bad Ideas. Come REX comes The EC Party. If given the time, we East Side folk can accomplish anything.
For awhile, I didn’t feel like I fit in. I am not an engineer. I can’t build roller coasters or program lights to go off with the beat of the music. I was thrilled I could build my own loft, but I now know I won’t be attempting furniture again. Then I found Fifth East. As a freshman I learned Fifth East had a notably “scarier” rep than most floors – it had black walls and red lights and wayy too many open policies – but I put it at the top of my list anyways. Coming from a conservative, conformity-driven family, the strong undercurrent of independence and acceptance was overwhelming at first. It was the first time I found myself so far outside my comfort zone, and the first time I took steps to lead my own life.
We get a bad rep because we dye our hair, pierce our body, and sometimes neglect to acknowledge the importance of shoes in the winter. We take pride in playing by the rules of our own game. We care about our community and do everything in our power to protect it, because we know it’s something special. We know here we get to be who we are and say what we feel without the threat of judgment. We’re spontaneous, not rash. We’re creative, not delusional. We’re independent, not detached. We are always pushing the limits of what can be done, what’s socially acceptable, what’s “normal.” Because who ever wanted to be that anyway? I want to be me.