BY COLE McNANNA // APRIL 9, 2016 //
While our culture has a tendency to obsess over “who’s first,” very little attention is paid to who is last.
Just four days ago, the housing selection kicked off for the fall 2016 semester, and the highly anticipated excel spreadsheet was gratifyingly projected onto the hanging screen in the Dr. Eleanor Meyerhoff Katz Gymnasium.
Community Director Tom Sawicki manned the microphone and organized the masses into lines according to the oh-so-coveted lottery numbers.
Ah yes, the fateful Lottery Number. The random number given to students (who pay their housing deposit on time) that is the deciding factor as to whether you’ll be close to your friends, or classes, in the coming year.
Those with the lowest numbers ensure that they will be getting the best selection, and those in the middle are left in limbo; until the time comes for them to condense into a line to see what’s still available.
Roommates can help each other out, and the higher-numbered roommate can ride the coattails of their more fortunate roommate and avoid being separated. However, as the lottery numbers continued to increase, the number of students did not match that pace.
With many of the upperclassmen housing having already been selected, current sophomore Alex Paul from Brooklyn, New York stepped into line a little bit before 9 p.m. to find he was left with very limited options.
His assigned pick, #330, was not the last registered number, but he was surely the last junior participant – for, as far as the eyes could see, hordes of freshmen accounted for the gymnasium’s remaining population.
The line had constantly been filling up and quieting down since the night had begun, but Paul was last one to join the line and he settled for a room with a random roommate in White House on the South Side of campus.
Not only was he the last rising junior to pick, he is one of the oldest in the class – having already turned 21. Being a transfer student-athlete on the basketball team, Paul was placed in State House for this past academic year.
“It was unfortunate this year because I’m a transfer and they put me in State House… I’m 21, and they put me in State House,” Paul said in disbelief, after it was all said and done. “I’m gonna be 22 next year and I feel like if you’re older you should have that housing [on the south side].”
Paul added that “it was unfortunate this year…I can’t say that I’m happy, I just wish I got up there…What are the odds?”
One positive out of Paul’s situation was that he was not the absolute final person to select their housing. That distinct privilege belongs to 18 year-old freshman Anthony Nolasco, hailing from Beverley, Mass.
Nolasco, also a student-athlete on the football team, joined the line over two hours after his older teammate to see even fewer options.
The gymnasium had now seen hundreds of students select their housing for next year and Nolasco’s pick (#377) was the final one of the night — much to the jubilation of the Residence Life staff who had been carrying out the selection process for the duration of the two-day period.
Nolasco, who currently resides in Lombard Hall, saw plenty of rooms that he wanted to live in. He said he had originally hoped to live in 886 Brush Hill Road. Nolasco said he wanted that location because he likes the building, and all of his friends will be living there.
Instead, he had to accept a room in State House, (coincidentally, the same room number as his room this past year) where he will be “all alone. No friends. Stuck with freshmen.”
“It was very bad, seeing everything disappear and getting your hopes up for a room and it’s gone,” Nolasco said, snapping his fingers. He went on to say that, “You get to slowly watch everyone take the room that you wanted.”
Despite drawing the shortest straw possible, Nolasco did find solace in the Residence Life staff who were “very nice” in handling the culmination of an exhausting two-night, fast-paced marathon Lottery Draft.
These two young men now hold the distinct honor in being the 2016 Housing Lottery Selection’s equivalent of the NFL Draft’s Mr. Irrelevant.
They can only get better numbers next year, right?