Soon-to-be grad looks back on five years living in dorms

Tyree Boyd-Pates moved from Los Angeles to Bakersfield to attend CSUB five years ago and has lived in the dorms his entire time in college.

As I look forward to getting my diploma next month, I can say my time here has been unique. I’m one of two students graduating this June who has lived in the dorms our entire time at CSUB. Unlike most of the student population which commutes and lives off campus, I am completely submersed at CSUB. Here is where I eat, sleep and call almost home. Because I live here, I get the opportunity to attend a lot of Division I athletics events, see nocturnal kit foxes frolic and play at night, and study in the most random of places. (Ever seen the movie “Night at the Museum?” That’s what studying in Science I is like after everyone else has gone home.) Throughout my years at CSUB, I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed myself nearly as much had I not lived in the dorms.

I can recall as if it were yesterday as a freshman moving onto Lorien’s second floor. I was so nervous. I was new to Bakersfield with no family here, and was worried about being on my own for the first time. However, soon my nervousness dissipated when I met my roommate and other freshmen in the dorms and I saw that living in the dorms was a blast! We had so many fun study sessions, game nights, and dance offs. I definitely knew I would look forward to the following years.

During my sophomore year, my room became an advising area for young friends who came by for advice and counseling. My junior year, I shared a room with a roommate who was 10 years older than me. At the time, he was going for a master’s degree and advised me that research was just as important as eating and sleeping. So, when it came to making a decision to live in the dorms for my final two years (yes, I’ve been on the five year plan), it was easy. How could I leave?

Residence halls are integral to university life wherever you go. CSUB’s are no exception. Here, each of the six buildings is named after famous places from J.R.R Tolkien’s trilogy novel “The Lord of the Rings” which was published in 1954-55 and was a cultural phenomenon when CSUB opened its doors in 1970. In addition to Lorien, I’ve lived in Rohan and Numenor. There are also Rivendell, Entwood and Dobry.

Though the residential complex at CSUB is smaller compared to other universities like in Fresno and Sacramento, here you’ll still make bonds with individuals who are experiencing college for the first time (80% are freshmen) and students who are coming to CSUB from out of the area (including athletes and international students). The dorms accommodate close to 300 students each year from varying backgrounds. Students come from as near as down the street as to as far as France and Japan! The dorms are an epicenter of culture and diversity.

Personally, my experiences in the dorms have given me greater understanding of culture and respect for others’ ideas and experiences. The dorms have countless events throughout the year that bring solidarity with the residents. There are open and candid forums for discussion on matters of social justice. The dining staff even holds cooking contests to see who can make the best dish. I remember once I came in first place for my orange and honey barbecue sauce chicken wing recipe!

As I prepare for graduate school, most likely a master’s in African American studies at Temple University in Philadelphia, I look forward to living somewhere new. If the graduate dorms are anything like my experience at CSUB, then I can’t wait to move in!

— Tyree Boyd-Pates, ’12, BA Communications, CSUB Public Affairs Intern