We never had air conditioning in our freshman college dorms

I was full of excitement when I entered college so many years ago.

The day of move-in was momentous, and I had my small SUV packed to the brim with my clothes, books, CDs, DVDs, guitars, and everything else I decided to take with me to my new dorm.

Since my school was an hour drive from my mom’s house, I was close enough to home for simple convenience but far enough away to feel some degree of separation. Things fell into place perfectly as I immediately hit it off with my roommate—we both listened to the same music, played the same video games, and shared a love for literature and film. Even dividing up space in the dorm and sharing our bathroom resulted in little if any fuss. But, there was one thing in particular we both noticed right away—there was no air conditioning of any kind in the old building. No central AC and no window or portable units in the rooms. The cold climate dictated necessary central heat, but we still were worried for the warm late-spring period that would mark the end of the second semester. Until then, we would go through autumn and eventually the snowy winter period, much of which is spent at home on holiday break. When we finally got to late spring, the two of us cobbled enough money together to buy a cheap window unit. Although we weren’t technically supposed to have those types of appliances in our rooms because of the amount of electricity they run on, we trudged forward with the plan regardless. Thankfully, we were never caught and our window air conditioner got us through that year and the one that followed before we were eligible to live in the newer dormitory buildings.

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