Four months after writing this a friend of mine, a new don in Tatham Hall, read it to her new students at their first house meeting during Orientation. Afterwards she came outside and punched me in the arm. "Thanks for making me cry in front of my residents, jerk." Truly, there was no greater compliment she could have given me. —LG
That’s it, folks.
Another year is done. April has sprung up on us like a cobra out of a snake-charmer’s basket, and by the time you read this, that final scramble to finish projects and prepare for exams will have started to calm down. But after eight long (short?) months of papers, classes, homework, and professors, we could all use a nice long, hot summer break—at least from school. Still, as much as I’m looking forward to the summer, this April comes with a bittersweet tang.
For four years I’ve been privileged enough to call Tatham Hall my home. Since my humble beginnings in first year sharing ye old double two-two-three with one “Rabicus”, I’ve roamed the halls of Fugitive House, proud to be a part of McLaughlin’s resident tradition. In second year I tucked myself into room 224, and they haven’t been able to get me out since. But, as always, all good (read: great) things must come to an end. I’m finishing my fourth year, and though I will return to McLaughlin for a victory lap, my time in Tatham Hall has come to an end.
It’ll be strange next year, to come onto campus and not have a ring of keys attached to my hip that allows so much freedom. There won’t be naps between classes, and I won’t be able to zip out of tutorial to print off that assignment I left at home. Rolling out of bed a quarter past ten for a ten-thirty class has also seen its final days. Still, I’m not sad.
This building has left its scar on me, and I’ve left my own on it (see if you can find them all…). But it’s a scar I feel privileged to be given, and proud to wear.
A building, however, is just a collection of bricks, mortar, and furniture; it’s the people inside that breathe life into concrete and give it a voice. I've made friends here that I hope to know forever. I’ve met an assortment of people that range across genders, sexuality, politics, spirituality, and anything else you could think of to make a person “different”. I’ve heard their stories, I’ve helped shape some new ones, and I like to think we’re all the richer for it. My years surrounded by these people have wrought, moulded, and utterly changed me—for the better—from what I was when I stepped onto York campus in 2004.
Tatham Hall has stood for forty years. With roughly two-hundred and seventy beds open for students, a lot of faces have moved through these halls, touched these walls, and made an impact upon it. I’ve only been here for four of them, but I’ve done my best to stand out and be recognized; more importantly, I've tried to give something worthwhile to the community that took me in.
For all I’ve tried to give to the life of Tatham Hall, I think the most important is the impact I've made on the people that will be returning. I watch them and see myself, and my friends, four years ago when it was us moving in. First, we were scared of the upper years, then humbled by their stories. Eventually, we learned to call them friends. Then they graduated, and without realizing it, we became the upper years with wisdom to share—and a whole batch of newbies to share it with. I hope we did the job right because next year, it will be your turn to carry the torch.
So long as I”m part of McLaughlin, I’ll never be too far way from Tatham. And since after graduation I’ll be an alumni of the college, I guess I’ll be holding onto a piece of it forever. I know it’s cheesy, but it’s how I work: that scar I mentioned before, the one Tatham Hall gave to me? It’s right across my heart.
My final advice to those of you that will be Tatham Hallers next year:
Change isn’t always nice, but it happens, and sometimes there’s nothing to be done about it. Still, don’t let them tell you what Tatham Hall should be; show them what it will be. Take the essence, the spirit, of this home and parade it for all to see. Make the concrete come alive with your voices; build your new extended family; and most importantly, carry that torch high! It will burn bright, it will burn hot, and it will keep you warm through for years and more.
Stand tall, Tatham Hall, and be proud. You’ve made some great people in your time, and you’re not done yet.