10 Things I H8 About Roble

I have a tragicomical number of more important things to do and write, but guess who has: a temper/had enough?


  • I was not careful in writing this. The points are scattered and it is objectively not good writing, but sometimes even a poor sketch is worth it.
  • Most of these are probably unique to this particular instantiation of Roble and my particular, individual experience.

The short version:

  • I resent a lot of things that I think are obvious matters of consideration and decency that shouldn’t be my job to beg for.
  • (1) is what prompted this: I didn’t move out of my parents’ home to go look for another set of guardians. Especially as a senior, I desperately neither want nor need that.
  • (10) is my biggest, most general grievance: I deeply resent ever having to opt-out of anything, but that’s how residential communities at Stanford work.

(1) The idea of an RF is a silly one.

The Roble lobby is very well-trafficked, especially during the day as people are going to/from classes. You knock, someone lets you in. If that’s a serious security flaw, than it deserves more serious address than some feeble “don’t let people you don’t know into the building!” As it stands, that’s just part of how Stanford residences work: you should probably assume your room door is the only thing between The Outside and your belongings.

I accidentally left my ID card in my room and came back to retrieve it in time to head out for class. One of the Residential Fellows literally sat in the conference room, annoyed, listening to me knock on the front doors, waiting for someone else to open the door as they always do. After someone let me in on their way out, I was summoned to the room where he remained, seated, and angrily scolded, in short:

“What exactly happened there?”
“Oh, I left my card in my room.”
He grimaced here.
“Banging on the door doesn’t help. If you’re locked out, contact your RA.”

No, you didn’t help. You chose to be annoyed for 5 minutes instead of opening the door that was 3 meters away from the room you were in. I resent: the condescension, the tone of chastisement, and the use of the verb “banging,” which implies my using something other than my knuckles like a normal human being.

Moreover, I was stunned by the fundamental misconception of how a Stanford dorm works.

a) At 11 AM, RAs are also students with classes, jobs, and lives. Do you expect me to text an RA to come back from their lectures and workshops and shifts and rehearsals and practices and seminars? Do you expect me to wait the 2 hours until they do?
b) Emailing the dorm list and all its hundreds of residents is incredibly obnoxious and intrusive. See (3).
c) Literally the most considerate action available was to knock to ask someone who was already in the area to help. Speechless.*

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: there is literally nothing on this Earth — in this life, the previous, or the next — that I hate or will ever hate more than being reprimanded. Everything I do can 100% be traced back to me not wanting to hear any form of “you should’ve” or “why didn’t” from any other human vessel. It’s excruciatingly important to me to get things right, least of all to avoid correction, and I respond poorly to corrections delivered in the tone of “you must not care.” I care about everything. Probably enough that it has health consequences. Shortening my lifespan through anger and stress? Good riddance. I have mixed feelings about my flesh prison anyway.

This is all on top of a shirking non-handling of a miserable residential experience I’ll elaborate upon in (9).

I don’t want and I don’t need parent-figure stand-ins. God, I should’ve just tried to draw into a Row house, 1-room doubles be damned. Advice for underclassmen: if you want your own space, any weird pseudofamily structure of a dorm is probably worth it for the single. But if you think you bristle at authority as much as I do, just avoid it all.

ur n0t my dAD.

*Not true. I had a lot of words that I said very loudly. You might even say “yelled.” Doors were slammed. My desk may or may not have been broken.**
**Now, do I have anger issues? Maybe. 1) We’ll deal with them once they start inhibiting my everyday life (again). 2) Whether or not my reactions are proportional has no bearing on whether their stimulus warranted a reaction.

(2) The idea of a 4-class dorm is a bad one.

Freshman dorms can be good environments, where all residents are more or less at the same stage of familiarity with the institution, academic/professional direction, awareness in regards to their drinking/substance limits, etc.

Upperclassmen dorms are usually quieter, and that’s fine, too.

Roble needs to make up its mind about what it wants to be. 4-class dorms are less than the sum of their parts. I don’t want to go to Rinc. I want to go to sleep.

(3) [roble-chat] is a little portal to hell, and I hate it.

It’s like sitting through a bad open-mic stand-up set, in slow motion. Dorm chat lists are filled with people desperate to perform unfunniness for unwilling audience members, and I would very much like to see them restricted to logistical arrangements/requests.

“DAHA ski goggles for snow trip?” I do! Come by after 5 and I’ll gladly lend them to you for the weekend.

No, what I want to scalpel from my memory is garbage like:

The matter at hand was a sustainable-showering competition. Cool, thanks.

(4) I resent how the entrances/exits are designed, and I hate them.

Everyone knows everyone uses the emergency exits as normal exits; the alarms are disabled. Why can’t they be just turned into entrances, as well? It’s this incomprehensible indecisiveness. Look, if you’re going to decriminalize, you might as well legalize.

(5) Dorm kitchenettes are cesspools of uncleanliness and human sin, and I hate them.

Isn’t it great to have these rotting tableaus to demonstrate how little cleaning staff are respected?

(6) Dorm pianos are a bad idea, or maybe their placement is bad, or maybe the design of the spaces they’re in is bad. And I hate them.

This is a bigger complaint I have with the unbelievable scarcity of good music practice spaces on this campus, but @Stanford: a room does not a practice room make. Putting an upright in one of the basement rooms and calling it a practice room doesn’t mean I suddenly can’t hear it from the computer cluster.

As someone who plays a couple instruments, I completely understand that practice is messy, loud, and can sound bad. You’re in the process of building something. The crudeness, the vulnerability — how delicate and wondrous! But I violently don’t want to hear it. Not “River Flows,” not your emotional acoustic reimagining of “Closer.” Not at 1 AM, or 6. I don’t. And I can’t imagine more than like, 3 people, extra-ultimate-mega-maximum, do.

I want you to be able to play to your heart’s content, but this dorm’s first function should be to be a resting space. Two of the few uniformities of every dorm on campus is that we are provided with beds and desks, which should illustrate what these places are meant for. See (7).

(7) Everything is audible everywhere always.

Why are there such large gaps between the floors and our room doors? Why am I able to hear conversations going on in one of the inner rooms of the 3-room quad across the hallway? Why can I hear the pregame happening in the other wing? Why is it my responsibility to cope with the noise, rather than for the noise to not be here in the first place?

(What’s worse than hearing your neighbors and their significant others plunging various things into each other’s various body parts? Hearing freshmen performatively squeal and grunt their way through these sessions! What’s worse than overhearing someone flirt unsuccessfully? Hearing a freshman bombing! What’s worse than listening to someone brag about blacking out? Hearing a freshman glorify their literally life-threatening choices! What’s a girl to even do with all this second-hand pre-emptive mortification?!?)

But wait! Silly Som-Mai! There are Quiet Hours!

Aside from the fact that these are regularly ignored, when they inevitably are, it becomes the responsibility of the intruded-upon party to go prostrate themselves and request respect from the intruders, or at the very least, to go ask a staff member to do so. Respect should be extended in the first place, and I am over begging freshmen to be quiet.

I resent having to ask for quiet. If I had it my way, in an ideal, perfect world, no one would socialize in a dorm. It would be a large sleeping pod, with smaller sleeping cells. Just a beehive of rest and silence.

Talk! Have fun! Listen to music! Make art! Build beautiful friendships! I enjoy such activities, too! Just elsewhere!

A fact that I’m so frustrated is as underappreciated as it is: there’s nowhere else you can go to sleep (at any time in the day, but especially at night), except outside or the 24-hour study room, which are both pathetic to a degree that even I couldn’t masochistically enjoy. But there are so many other places you can go to hang out.

(8) Stop making out in the lobby.

Honestly just so rude. Cuddle somewhere else. I care a negative quantity about your relationship, and I resent you taking up public space to nap, when you literally have University-provided made-for-sleeping-upon furniture available in your rooms.

(9) Was your Cinco de Drinko pregame really worth it?

I don’t even have the energy to detail this saga yet, but fun fact: there was a Cinco de Drinko pregame in the room across from mine. To be clear, this was nothing official, and no one knew it happened except for its participants (to be clear, “participants” were the hosting resident and other folks he invited—the other three residents of that room were not involved) and the residents of neighboring rooms (i.e., hi).

I expressed my discomfort to staff then, but there’s more to my ire than an intentionally distasteful party, though the blatant disrespect there’s pretty incredible on its own. There’s the year’s worth of hypermasculine Madden games I involuntarily overheard, there’s having heard comments about “racks” (couldn’t’ve made this up if I’d tried) and the comparative hotness and bangability of various girls (these guys’ peers, lest you forget) all year, there’s having someone drunkenly trying to get into my room while aggressively blackout, there’s having been drunkenly catcalled upon re-entering my own room (do you see a trend).

It’s made for a year of fun Snapchat content, but there are times I’m really not sure it’s been worth it.

(10) Opt-out culture.

See (7) again. Wow, do I resent having to ask for basic human decency. The audacity. How crazy of me.