My roommates and I are the 2015-2016 showroom for the Boling Apartments, 541 Vine Street, Chattanooga, Tennessee, USA. And the reaction to that statement is usually either 1. Why are you giving your address out [because its easy to find online anyway because there’s only one showroom; chill] or 2. Why the heck would you be a dorm showroom and let strangers into your room often [because read this post and I’ll tell you].
At UTC, the primary benefit to being the showroom for your complex is that you are awarded half off housing. Which is very, very, very, very, very worth it. Also, you “play an integral part in shaping visitor’s opinions and attitudes toward UTC, Housing and Residence Life, and the Admissions Office,” according to the UTC website. Which is true. And it gives me the warm fuzzies.
Last year, we [and everyone else living on campus] received an email asking for applications for dorms who wanted to be considered for being the showroom for the 2015-2016 school year. My roommates and I all saw the email, liked the idea of it, discussed it, applied, cleaned vigorously, were interviewed, got accepted, and BAM here we are, in the 2015-2016 school year as the Boling Showroom. /endblogpost
Applying was an intimidating process. We scheduled our appointment, and one morning, four very official looking [and very nice] campus people came by and observed our room with more specificity than I thought possible. Clipboards in hand, they went into each room and not very quietly discussed everything inside. We were judged on “cleanliness, smell, uniqueness, organization, layout, style and spirit.” Smell being my favorite qualification and also probably my lowest category on the scorecard. We all sat in the living room, laughing as quietly as possible at the overwhelming awkwardness of it all. I remember they commented on Chloe’s snakeskin from her pet snake, Leo, wanting to know if it was real or not, where it came from, etc. They had a good time guessing which room belonged to which girl. They asked me how I stuck my wooden shelf on the wall. What I told them: command strips. The truth: I put nails in my wall.
Whenever someone cool follows me on instagram, I always scroll back through my account, judging it all as if I was them, to reassure myself that it’s acceptable enough for their eyes. I did the same thing when the tour people left- I walked through my room really slowly, thinking about all the things they might have thought when they looked at it moments before. This part looks really good, I should have swept that corner of the floor before they came, oh no my posters aren’t as straight as I thought, why do I still have a One Direction poster up- I forgot that was still on my door!
A couple of weeks later, we got the email that declared our acceptance! We knew the girls who were the Boling showroom last year, so that same day, we went and interrogated them to see how it would be. They told us so many horror stories- about helicopter parents asking questions about majors, awkward questions from students about life on campus, people on tours asking to eat their food, and coming home to tours in-session that they were entirely unaware of.
Three months into the semester, I haven’t had any of those experiences. I was going to wait to write this blog post until after something horrible and hilarious happens, but then I realized that bottom line, no matter what happens, being showroom will totally be worth it. We’ve only had tours once a week so far (given, its only fall semester, and tours will more than double next semester when more people are seriously looking for a school), but even the scholarship alone that UTC gives showrooms makes it more than worth it.
Being showroom is great- you get to be the cool older kid to all the students who tour, you get to answer incredible questions [e.g. “Is there a shower in each of your rooms?” (?) “How do you share a fridge with three other people?” (??) and “Can I jump on your bed?” (???) [We have had a lot of elementary and middle schoolers tour so far.] and you get half off housing!
Applications for 2016-2017 Showrooms at UTC open Spring semester, so if you’re thinking about applying, do it! I think we’re going to apply to do it again next year.
I’ll write a separate post sometime about our design/decor/how our room looks so you can virtually tour our dorm if you want to.
If you read this whole post I’m amazed. Thanks for reading always.