It’s the end of the winter semester and four months have gone by faster than Schotanus or anyone could have imagined. He hadn’t slept well the night before. It wasn’t so much the humidity or lack of air circulation — those seemed normal now. Instead it was the absence of his roommates that kept him up much of the night. Initially hesitant about the bunk situation, Schotanus had grown accustomed to falling asleep while cracking jokes with his roommates until they fell asleep one by one. This night, however, Schotanus slept alone.
The group has gone their separate ways for the summer, participating in internships, summer classes, and travels with family and friends. Schotanus is the last remaining member of the room, tasked with filling out the inventory checklist for the dorm and checking out.
The other students have a mixture of confidence and uncertainty about their ability to spend time with each other next fall.
“I’m worried because we’re historically bad with planning things without someone doing it,” Jesse Hoskins, aerospace engineering major, said. “Next year, when all of us are spread out (on North and Central Campus), if someone doesn’t organize something, then well, it’s not going to happen.”
Others are slightly more optimistic, however.
“Everyone is splitting up next year which is unfortunate, but we’ll hang out in someone’s apartment or something,” Lindsay Podsiadlik, mechanical engineering major, said. “The TV sitcom ‘Friends’ had the coffee shop, we’ll always have something like that.”
“I don’t think it’s the room so much as it’s just a natural chemistry between everyone,” Joe Stefano, brain cognitive & science major added. “People are from different backgrounds in the group, there are different personalities, but it all works well. I think the room may be the medium through which it occurs, but I think it would happen anywhere else.”
For Schotanus, however, his time with the group has ended for now. While the others will continue school and their growing relationships with each other in the fall, Schotanus will return to his university in the Netherlands. For Schotanus, his goodbye came early.
“Most of my exchange wasn’t about the academics, it was about meeting new people and having a completely different experience,” Schotanus said. “The moment I stepped into the cab (for the airport) and it drove away I felt very emotional. When I think about the fact that I have to miss the closeness of the group, I have feelings of emptiness. Even though I definitely don’t like the feeling, I know it shows what a great time I had and that these people have affected me in a very positive way.”