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Four Years at the Mount

Sophomore year

Beyond the Dormer

Lydia Olsen
Class of 2016

(5/2014) I moved in this year before everyone else since I was leading a Mountward Bound trip for the incoming freshmen. I picked up my keys at the public safety building and drove over to the Terrace, the oldest building on the campus. Entering through the front door I was immediately confused. The layout was a lot more difficult than my old residence hall, Pangborn, had been. I finally figured out where I was going and made it to my room. On the wooden door were shapes with my roommateís name and mine. I fumbled with the keys and was then finally able to unlock the door. I swung it open and looked at the room that I would live in during my sophomore year of college. My first thought: dormers.

When choosing to live on the fourth floor of the building I didnít give a single thought to the fact that it would mean having my window being a dormer. It was a complete shock when I opened my door to see slanted ceilings and at first I was very disappointed. I had been planning to loft my bed but that idea was clearly no longer an option. I moved some of my stuff up into the room and began rearranging the furniture. The setup that the previous occupants had was very interesting. The first thing I noticed was that they had their two armoires in front of the window. While this made sense because it was hard to fit them anywhere else, it also made it completely impossible to see out the only window. Breaking out into a sweat, I pushed them aside and was amazed to find that I could fit my slightly raised bed in front of the window with about an inch of room to spare. This did, however, mean that I would have the slants of the ceiling protruding on either side of me. I decided it was something I could handle.

I finished moving in the rest of my stuff and started to organize everything and settle into my new home. The last thing I did was make my Twin XL bed. I put down the egg carton foam pad and stretched on my sheets before spreading my blue and white comforter on top. Lastly I put pillowcases onto my pillows and fluffed them up a bit before jumping up into my bed and lying down for a much needed break. I rested for a few minutes before realizing that the blind to the window was still down. I reached over toward the window and pulled the blind down then let it go as it wound itself up. I was speechless.

Outside my window I could see for miles. The mountains in the distance made a perfect backdrop for those little farmhouses and the couple of red barns. Closer by I could see the solar farm and to the left was the ARCC. East campus was divided from the main campus by the highway. On west campus I could see the academic center, the auditorium, Patriot Hall, the library, as well as Delaplaine Fine Arts Center. The rest of Terrace unfolded to my left and to my right was the bell tower of the chapel. All I could do was think of St. Elizabeth Ann Setonís quote from a plaque at the Grotto that reads, "We are halfway up in the sky; the height of our situation is incredible." She could not have been more accurate.

Every morning I wake up to the sunrise shinning in through the crack underneath the blind. I lift the blind up and often put it behind my head, trying to limit the amount of light that gets into the room so as not to wake my sleeping roommate. I watch as the sun breaks the horizon behind the mountains and sends a straight ray of sunlight across the sky. I watch as it rises so quickly that within moments, all that had still been in the darkness of night becomes fully illuminated. Throughout the day I can see people go about their daily routines, rushing to get lunch and make it to class. I can hear the bell tower ring only feet away from me, signaling noon mass. In the evenings I hear the groups of people leaving from dinner and can see people migrate towards the library to get their homework done for the days ahead while I sit in bed using the windowsill as a desk to complete the work that I have. The sun sets, and slowly the sky turns dark as the lights down University Way come on.

Through my window I could watch the trees up close and in the distance change into their fall colors of orange and red and then fall to the ground as winter rolled in. I watched the snow accumulating on the campus and on the surrounding area as it fell softly and often. There were days when I woke up and could no longer see out my window because the snow had built up so high on the roof, but when it began to melt I had the most spectacular view once again. I watched as the workmen repaired the bell tower from the fire that happened over the summer, and I remember hearing it ring from my room for the first time. When the endless winter finally seemed to be ending I was delighted by the sound of birds chirping on the roof and even had a few land close enough that I could have reached out and touched them. From my window I saw as the gardeners put pansies in the flowerpots and cleaned up the garden beds, and I still continue to be speechless at the beauty of the view.

From my window Iíve watched grey storm clouds roll in and take over the sky followed by heavy downpours of rain. From my window Iíve seen the sun magically appear and form a rainbow more perfect than I could have ever imagined. They stretch across the whole sky in an arch that seems to reach the heavens, and I can see it all. In the darkness of night I have seen full moons glowing with orange tints. I have seen more stars than I could ever count. The view from this window is without a doubt painted by the hand of God.

My sophomore year is ending and so is my time living in this dorm room. In a strange way the view I have had this year has made all of the difference. It makes me feel as if I am part of something so much larger than myself. It constantly reminds me of the astonishing beauty in the world and in all of the things that surround us. The view from my window has kept me sane through the hectic parts of the year as I watch the traffic continuously on the highway and realize that I too must keep traveling on down the road in front of me. They say all good things must come to an end, but I will forever remember the sights I have seen. While it saddens me that I will have to give up the view from my window, it excites me that another pair of people will continually move in every year after me and have the opportunity to witness the sheer beauty that lies beyond the dormer.

Read other articles by Lydia Olsen