Living in a dorm with no AC

Courtesy of Caitlin Tran

“How are you not dying of heat? I can barely breathe in here.”

“I don’t know; this is the best it has felt all week. I even felt a little chilly today.”

“You have grown too accustomed to this heat. I am genuinely worried about you.”

This was the conversation that took place as my friend, a visitor from out of town, stepped out of the elevator and onto the eighth floor of Pardee Tower. She could barely handle the humid, overbearing heat, but I felt fine. I guess you could say my tolerance for heat has changed since starting college and so has my appreciation for hand fans and, of the course the thing I want the most, air conditioning.

After surviving my first month as a college freshman I have learned a lot: breakfast is extremely hard to make time for when you have an 8am class, you can make it to Parkside Dining Hall in ten minutes if you speed walk, and the library is the only quiet workplace where one can get their work done. However, the most important lesson I have learned: the importance of air conditioning- or therefore the lack of air conditioning.

Yes, I understand some might say I am being dramatic or the heat is not that bad, but have they ever lived on the top floor of a building with no air conditioning in Los Angeles during September? Probably not, probably not. The heat did not only affect me in the trivial sense, but emotionally and mentally. I can handle it being physically hot or cold, but not when it starts taking a toll on me.

The week of September 26th to October 2nd was one of the hardest because not only did I have two midterms, but also I could not sleep and I felt ill every time I was in my dorm. Along with the stress of studying, I was waking up every night at 4am or 5am gasping for air and profusely sweating. And it was not only me who felt that way, but also my roommate and my whole floor. It made school miserable and unbearable, and I honestly did not know if I was going to mentally make it through the week.

I started to slowly unravel. Midterms were too much, being away from home was too much, and the lack of sleep was too much. It was all too much, and all I wanted to do was go home. But Saturday came- and it was gameday- and I finally realized that I not only survived my midterms, but the heat, too. My midterms went well even though I was dehydrated and sleep deprived. I realized that I can survive college and my dorm on the eighth floor – even as the heat rises.

So, all in all, I’m not saying the heat is okay- because it is not and I miss my air conditioned home, but I learned a lot about myself. College is one big test comprised of minuscule aspects such as surviving our southern California heat or making it to your classes on time. Yes, the heat sucked -and still sucks- but I will get through it and college as well.

To the people out there that have air conditioners: treasure it and appreciate it because you will never know when you will really need it. I guess for now you will just see me in the library more and my dorm less. But, is that a really a bad thing? Oh, and I can’t wait for cooler temperatures, I truly can’t.