Learning to Love the Quad

After spending one year as a resident of Kirkland House, Larissa M. Jennings '01 decided that it was time for a change.

So she transferred--to the Quad.

Across the Yard yesterday morning, many first-years sent to Cabot, Currier and Pforzheimer cried and shook their fists at the elusive housing gods.

But take heart, first-years: There is life in the Quad. Some people, like Jennings, even choose it.

Students at the River are quick to criticize Quad life as inconvenient and isolated. Yet residents defend their home. They tell first-years that it's not that far, that they won't lose touch with your friends, and that the Quad's atmosphere is hard to beat.

And a select number of students, like Jennings, even decide to leave their River Houses in order to relocate to the Quad.

"I really do love the Quad," says Jennings, who now lives in Cabot House. "I feel like I can say that truthfully because I did live on the River."

Former Lowell House resident Chris A. Amar '01, who now lives in Cabot House, agrees.

"I switched from the River to the Quad for two reasons: because people in the Quad seem to have more House spirit and because it is the perfect way to get some distance and perspective on your life," he writes in an e-mail message.

" I love the walk back, and the sense leaving my stress down by the River," he added.

It hasn't always been this way. Before randomization, a substantial number of students chose to live up Garden Street.

But in recent years, first-year despair over the prospect of Quad life has become an annual ritual.

Currier House Master William A. Graham Jr., a professor of religion and Islamic studies, says the dread associated with the Quad has intensified in the past five to eight years.

"A substantial portion come here with preconceived ideas," he says. "The Quad gets its share of people who don't want to be here because they think it's in Canada or something. But by December most have discovered its advantages."

Almost a year after she burst into tears over her housing assignment, Carrie L. Shuchart '02 reclines comfortably in her single room in Cabot House, extolling the virtues of her home.