While room draw is never a calming experience, I found it especially unnerving this latest time around. Instead of waiting in line, choosing a room, and calling it a day, I had to finagle a post-study abroad housing situation this spring- both for my roommate and myself-entirely over the phone via our on-campus proxy. After an arduous and lengthy process,one void of good communication and far from stress-free, we were finally able to find housing on-campus. Well, on Pitzer’s campus that is.

My sentiments about the housing process aside, I have to admit that I was anxious about living at Pitzer for the semester, and was reassured only slightly knowing my roommate would be joining me. This was less of an apprehension about living at Pitzer and more a serious FOMO on the North Quad environment we had come to embrace last year.

Nevertheless, I am now officially a resident of East Hall; for those acquainted with Pitzer geography, that’s in Phase Two, and for those not, let’s just round up and say we’re on the corner of Foothill and Claremont Blvd. We’re now about a month into the semester, meaning that the cross-campus trek hasn’t wore me down completely, but also that I haven’t quite gotten used to it. What this past month has shown me, however, is that this opportunity has been a pleasant surprise. So, while I still have much to discover at Pitzer, here are some of the highlights thus far.

Dorm Aesthetics

If you’re a fervent fan of the better-landscaped-Motel-6 barracks that help make North Quad what it is, this may offend you, but the new dorms at Pitzer are spectacular in comparison. Sure, Green Beach will always be associated with memories of Pirate Parties past, but wow is Phase Two stunning. And Phase One is equally impressive, for that matter (those are the dorms surrounding Pitzer’s pool in hotel-like fashion, while allowing you the unique ability to witness every walk of shame in the vicinity).

From the outside, the dorms have a neat cubist-modernist architecture, paired with heaps of outdoor areas (the third floor sun deck isn’t too shabby), reminding you that you are indeed in southern California. Inside, the floors are a burnt sienna, complimented with soothing celadon walls, creating an atmosphere far cozier than whatever sickly shade of bluish-brown that carpet was in our Wohlford room last year, not to mention the bland walls. Plus, you can open just the top half of your door to be social or let in a gentle breeze (or just the bottom as a doggy door). Lastly, though I still have to crane my neck like Agent Jay in the Worms’ apartment just to use the shower, I at least can rest knowing there’s no grimy grout germifying me by osmosis. Oh yeah, and having A/C is pretty sweet too.

Proximity to Scrumptious Food

To any Collins loyalists out there (out of pure curiosity, do you guys actually exist?), sorry but McConnell takes the cake any day of the week. The omelet bar is on point, the sandwich bar is consistently delicious (they have pretzel rolls, need I say more?), and the desserts always impress. Yes, I realize most of you in Boz are actually closer than I am, I’m just saying that it’s basically impossible to rationalize walking past McConnell to get to Collins. Also, there’s the Grove House, the ex-bungalow of a Claremont citrus grower turned sandwich shop, study space, and home to a poetry room and art gallery, among other things. Their sandwiches are unbelievably fresh, they serve Stumptown Coffee, an awesome brand of Portland-based coffee (I have my biases too), and they even give you a warm cookie right out of the oven. On most Fridays, they also host Groove at the Grove, where the space morphs into a great outdoor dancing venue. Surprisingly, I haven’t even been to the Shakedown, Pitzer’s equivalent to the Hub,but maybe I’ll stop by after I’m tired of the Grove (which won’t happen). And, if you’re audacious enough with your cooking skills, there are demo kitchens where you can sauté and flambé to your heart’s content.

The Little Things

Last, but certainly not least, there are those small details about Pitzer that I didn’t appreciate before living here. The decorations outside the dorm rooms are comically fascinating: a stand-alone branch laced with Christmas tree ornaments, a tiny plant eking its way out of a small glass jar, or clotheslines colorfully strewn across balconies. The murals that canvas many walls around campus offer an assortment of carefully crafted beauty, thought provoking imagery, and sometimes, straight up ridiculousness. The mounds are an awesome chill out spot–enough said. And, while some of my closest Pitzer friends are now (ironically) living off-campus, the community here is one I will be incredibly fortunate to get to know over the course of spring semester.

Sure, there are the days when I get to CMC and realize that I’ve forgotten a jacket or a book in the room and realize immediately that there’s no way I’m going back for it. While things like this are often relative, and we speak in terms like “Claremont miles,” these logistical challenges are petty in the broader picture. Instead, I’ve gone from apprehensive, to amazed, to amped to explore everything else that living at Pitzer has to offer.