We all know one of them. You know, those students with ridiculously spacious singles, or the greatest collection of posters to ever grace a dorm room wall. While all rooms on campus are not created equal, people do incredible things with their living spaces. Connor McLane ’15 and Isaiah Clark ’15 have made their double in Garfield a cool place to call home.
“We had the last pick in the last neighborhood,” McLane said, though both McLane and Clark are content to live in Garfield – even with the longer commute to classes and dining halls. “You take everything you need for the entire day. You leave early in the morning and just come back really late at night, after everything is done,” Clark, who lived in Mission as a first-year, said. “I came from Frosh Quad, so I’m sort of commute-spoiled,” McLane admitted. “Although we could be in Tyler, which would be worse.”
A tribal dart gun hanging above a wood paneled fireplace greeted me as I entered McLane and Clark’s room. “When I was packing up for freshman year, I had this dart gun and it was just chillin’ in my room,” Clark said. “My mom decided she was going to be really helpful and pack up a few things for me. And when I got to school, I opened up a box and there was the tribal dart gun.” Though they haven’t found much use for it on campus, “it’s fun to show off sometimes,” McLane said.
The right is Clark’s side of the room. “I sort of made an executive decision to move my bed into the nook to free up space out here,” said Clark, indicating the center of the room. Posters, drawings, paintings and Tibetan prayer flags decorate the walls. “I’m a big fan of Óscar Romero, so I have like four posters of him,” Clark said. A bookshelf and large trunk sit in front of the fireplace. “Here we have our community stuff,” Clark said, “so the food that’s on the shelf is pretty much fair game.” Prominently displayed on the bookshelf is a copy of The Essential Handbook of Victorian Etiquette. “It’s the rules that govern our room most of the time,” McLane said. “Like visiting hours, and you know, the basics.” Atop the trunk are Clark’s aloe plant and McLane’s pink rubber duck, Princess. “I bring her on all my backpacking trips,” explained McLane, who led group B9 in this year’s Williams Outdoor Orientation Living for First-Years.
To the left side of the room is McLane’s living space. “In my bed nook, my theme is sort of like nautical/pirate,” he said. “So I have skull and bones sheets, a print of the Great Wave and an aquatic ecosystems poster.” In a move that displays McLane’s identity as a fan of cars and racing, an Ayrton Senna movie poster adorns the wall above his desk. A rug with a border of roses in muted colors lies between McLane’s and Clark’s desks. “I got it at the tag sale,” McLane said. “The colors kind of worked, and it seemed a little cheesy, but it was 15 bucks.”
Regatta posters decorate both McLane’s and Clark’s sides of the room; both sophomores row here at the College. “People used to be very surprised when they came in here; we used to have an erg in here – a rowing machine – but our coaches made us bring that back,” McLane said. “Over the summer, our coach let people who were close by or who don’t have an erg bring them home. A guy on our team, Dylan [Barber ’15], had an extra one with him upstairs, and so we brought one down here,” Clark said. The funniest reaction to the rowing machine came during a party. “My friend whose brother rows at UVA, our main rival, took a picture and sent it to him,” McLane laughed. Without an erg to complete their room’s décor, the roommates have to make the seven-and-a-half minute trek to Chandler Gym for indoor rowing. “Garfield has some great places to wheel it out to, though,” McLane remarked.
Since Garfield isn’t particularly close to any one dining hall, McLane and Clark keep their room well-stocked with food. “Sometimes we just eat breakfast here and then go to class,” Clark said. Eco Café in Science Quad has proven a favorite among the two. “I eat two out of three meals a day there,” Clark said. “I might never go to Mission again this year,” McLane noted. “If you want us to get food at Mission, you really have to sweeten the deal,” Clark joked.