Staff Writer Vicky Melkonyan finds out you can have all of the fun with none of the puke.

During my first night at Columbia, a couple of my floor mates and I agreed that Wallach was boring and decided that we had to check out what was happening in Carman. Nothing more fun than getting wasted on the first night of NSOP, right? We were envisioning a night of wild partying with the athletes because from what we had read before arriving in Morningside Heights, there wasn’t ever a quiet moment in Carman. We, being party people, were going to take full advantage of that before the start of classes.

Once we got there, we realized that we actually had no idea where to go, so we got into the elevator and pushed random buttons. Personally, I thought I was going to hear music blasting and cheering à la Wild College Party Scene From A Movie, but that would have been a little too convenient. Eventually, someone who actually lived in Carman got into the elevator, and once we asked her where all the parties were, she replied, “Oh, sorry. Things already got shut down by RAs. I don’t think anything else is going to happen tonight,” and left us standing there like idiots. Sad idiots who had no choice but to make the incalculably long trudge back to Wallach, not ten minutes after we left; a final embarrassment that drained us so thoroughly that we dispersed once we got there, feeling less social than we originally were.

So Carman was a bust. As NSOP continued, though, I found myself making more and more friends who all happened to possess one key attribute: they all lived in Furnald. At first, I was extremely wary of their mutual Furnald-ness, as I’m sure most other first-years would be. All freshmen have their preconceived notions about the dorms, and from its long-running status as the quietest place on campus to having served as the designated quarantine housing last year, Furnald’s repeatedly gotten the short end of the stick in terms of reputation. After all, everybody knows that Furnald is full of antisocial, studying-obsessed weirdos. Right?

At first, I was going to Furnald only out of necessity. All of my friends lived there, and it was close to both Ferris, in case we got hungry, and the subway station, in case we wanted to go downtown. But the dorm started charming me for other reasons. Reader, do you know that Furnald has controllable air conditioning? That its lounges, though small, are the coziest I’ve seen and have the best views along with full kitchens? That, somehow, every square inch of it—including the bathrooms!—is always clean?

As I spent more and more time in Furnald, I discovered that the people and the ambiance there were far better than they were in any other freshman dorm. My friends and I resolved to make Furnald our Carman, and while that’s much easier said than done, we were willing to put in the work. In the span of a few days, we got multiple noise complaints from RAs during our nighttime gatherings and one “I’m going to pretend I didn’t see this” in response to our dragging a couch up from Furnald 5’s lounge to Furnald 6 and then down again (a Herculean task, by the way, considering the narrowness of the stairs). The other Furnaldians I met through my original friend group were just as extroverted and friendly as any dorm residents I knew. During our first movie night in the Furnald 6 lounge, a now-weekly tradition we have christened the “Furnald Film Festival,” we knocked on the doors of everyone on the floor, and nearly every person we invited not only showed up but brought snacks to share. With each meeting, our numbers grew, and on some nights it was as if as many people as COVID-19 precautions allowed crammed together in the lounge with us to watch movies, go on snack runs, and chat in Furnald’s somewhat diluted, but much more fun versions of the famed Carman ragers. 

While some time ago I might have ended this article with an open invitation to join my friends and me in one of the Furnald lounges to watch 10 Things I Hate About You or Love Island, the recent change in COVID-19 restrictions makes such a conclusion impossible, or at least cruel to those living outside what has now become my favorite freshman dorm. Instead, I will tell you all to stay strong and stay safe in the hopes that the Furnald Film Festival—or related gatherings—will one day return full force. If they don’t, consider this article my love letter as well as my goodbye to the cleanest, coolest, most social dorm I’ve encountered in my three weeks at Columbia. I’m sorry I ever ranked you fifth in the Housing form, Furnald. I hope incoming freshmen next year don’t make the same mistake.

Cursed image of Furnald 9’s carpet-in-the-kitchen-by-choice atmosphere via Bwog Archives