Normally, walking down 8th Street and Baylor Avenue is difficult due to the heavy traffic of girls flooding in and out of their dorm rushing from event to event, but not this summer. This summer, you were impeded by incoming construction, random road closures and orange cones as Ruth Collins Hall at Baylor University received a well-earned facelift over these past few months. While the layout of the dorm might have a different feel, the walls still hold thousands of memories and secrets from the previous tenants. Ruth Collins Hall is the heart of many Baylor girls, as rooms and halls turn into an inseparable family and community. I, an out-of-state newcomer, was able to take part in this special tradition. Lucky for me, my roommate selected where we lived, and I had no idea what I was getting into.
Picture this: August of 2020, a midwestern family carries boxes upon boxes up three flights of stairs into room 301 while it’s blistering hot outside. I opened my door to find two twin XL beds and a desk made of wood that had to date back to around 1950. Little did I know this stuffy little room would hold not just my most prized possessions but would be filled with countless memories I could never forget.
Moving into your first dorm is scary, especially when you are coming from out of state. How was I supposed to find friends, meet kids, find out what building and room my class was in, while not dying of heatstroke while walking outside in Texas? Thankfully, I was placed in a dorm filled with people who knew this campus like the back of their hand. The girls of Collins were like my own personal tour guides into the new world of Baylor. And that is where my journey with Ruth Collins Hall begins.
Within the first week, I learned what legacy, status and social life in Collins Hall meant. My neighbors had selected their room because it was the same one their grandma had lived in, even the same furniture. And they were just one of many girls who had history with the rooms in the building. I found that odd, but knew it was just one of those Texas things, so I pushed it off to avoid culture shock.
After the first few hours in my dorm and lots of reflection on how I said words due to my accent, a few girls came knocking on my door. Sentiments about each other’s shoes were shared, and we bonded over our love for yellow flowers in our rooms; we became instant friends. And it didn’t stop there. An open-door policy was normal the first week. It felt like summer camp but better. People came and went from door to door, asking names and telling stories of their family legacy among Baylor and within this dorm. It seemed as if everyone’s roots were grown right here in the Collins family tree. It was spectacular to watch over 600 girls be bonded by rather uniquely colored floors and a quirky community bathroom.
Collins was by no means a Ritz Carlton, but what it offered was an immense sense of community and belonging. Without those four walls and tiny closet, I would never have met the people I call my best friends.