Every morning, I receive my college newspaper delivered to my inbox. It’s not the same feeling as picking up a hard copy in the lobby of my dorm when I was a student, but I still devour every story.
Today, one particular article resonated with me. The headline caught my attention: “Unknowing Cornellians Call Famous Alumni’s Rooms Home.” In the piece, reporter Dan Robbins recounts where on-campus and in Ithaca prominent alumni lived as students:
James Rainis ’14, current Sun Arts Editor, lives in Ezra Cornell’s bedroom in Delta Phi fraternity — otherwise known as Llenroc. He said he pulled the worst number in Llenroc’s housing lottery. “Room 3 is on the second floor and pretty loud, so most people don’t want it,” he said.
After recounting where Peter Yarrow, Kurt Vonnegut, and Vladimar Novikov lived (you can read the full article here), Robbins writes about the irony of it all:
Cornell neither tracks nor preserves the accommodations of celebrated graduates. As a result, 4546 Dickson Hall — the freshmen single of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’54 — is now a maintenance closet.
I wonder, who were the roommates of these famous graduates? Did they have the typical disputes and inside jokes that most of us experience? Of course they did. In fact, Robbins even recounts a funny story in his article of the antics of Vonnegut and roommate “Buck Young.” When I think about it, at the age of 20, everyone was just a college student. They had not changed the world, yet. Despite their fame today, they are still just people.
We all learned in kindergarten to treat everyone how you would would like to be treated. While it’s not always easy to uphold, you never know who you meet: your freshmen roommate could tap you many years later to be campaign chair of a Senate race or co-founder of a company.
Perhaps you should think twice about how you remind your current musician roommate who struggles each month to pay rent – he could be the next top artist of the century! It doesn’t mean you should not ask him to pay half, but think about how you make the request. That rule should apply for the famous, almost famous, and not so famous. Have you ever wondered who your roommate might turn out to be twenty years from now?