Our Editor-in-Chief reflects on his room over the past year.

I left my first year of college unsure where my second would take place. 

Like many first-year students, my lottery number was bad; all beds were occupied before my housing appointment. So I was unable to choose my sophomore-year room and was left wondering. I signed a contract of living intent and input a few dorm preferences that, according to housing, would likely not even be considered. Then, I hoped. I hoped a lot. 

Back home, I toiled at night—scared of the shafted stories shared by upperclassmen. Sparse communication worsened my unease. All I knew was the parent Facebook page outrage that my mother mentioned at the dinner table. 

Then, in the middle of one July night, my room was posted on the housing portal. It was a Wallach single. There would be no official email for another two weeks.

I was not thrilled by the optics of living amidst first years—which wouldn’t end up being the case, it was a sophomore waitlist floor—but I was comforted in that I was living alone and that my window faced campus. And at the most basic level, I was relieved that I had a room to live in so I didn’t complain. But I grew more and more to appreciate it: it was on campus and had a view. I love a view, I love a view a lot. 

And thankfully, the view was great.

The Views from Wallach

Below are the many, many photos I took from my dorm room. In total, I took over 400 during the course of the year. Many were duplicates though, taken mere seconds after the previous photo—what can I say, I’m shutter happy.

After moving back home, I began to parse through them, picking the photos that best represented the year I just survived. In the end, I produced a collection that seemed to reflect the slow progression of campus throughout the academic season. While you look through, I hope you can trace the ways the weather changes—how trees grow, have their leaves painted, shed them, and then start again. I hope you can spot the moments the school changes—the construction and erasure of tents and banners, the lighting of 116th Street and its dimming. I hope you look at the sky in its many colors—the textures of the clouds, how they catch the dying sun, how they cast shades on the buildings below. I hope you remember the days absorbing heat on the lawns during the, sometimes anomalously, warm weather. And, most of all, I hope you can see beauty in the bricks you walk on every day again.

An Art History professor once told me that windows are eyes—that they are the eyes of buildings. Windows are, of course, how people look out to the world or how the world looks at people. Of all places, I am so grateful to have sat in one eye this past year as a pupil, as an observer of the world, as a writer. My window was a portal where I would watch with wonder. I could see a student running and imagine them being late to class, or perhaps rushing to meet their partner. I could see a group lounging and imagine them discussing an outrageous party last night, or perhaps the revealing of a surprise. I could see people: in a beautiful setting, at Columbia, in a view.

A Window in Wallach, and its many views via Author