When I'm in New Orleans, I call home a big old room that has a door that I have to throw all my body weight into opening and closing; it has big windows on either side of the room that make it excruciatingly bright in the mornings; there's an a/c but it only has two settings--frigid or hell. The closets are too small and the light above the sink only works intermittently, the carpet has nail polish stains, the refrigerator makes weird noises at night--it's a humble abode. The selling point, however, is its location. My front porch looks out on palm trees and the Bruff quad, squirrels play on the railing (this can be frightening) and bird noises abound year-round (this can be annoying). But overall the pros outweigh the cons.

The other morning I learned a lot more about my home sweet home when I wrenched open my front door for the first time that day and walked right into some girl enumerating the many benefits of living in the Paterson Wellness Dorm.

It took me a minute to register that she was talking about where I lived. Wellness Dorm?* I live in the Wellness Dorm? First, there was nothing well about how I felt at that moment, and my dorm wasn't doing much about it. Second, I realized though after I had had gotten some caffeine in me that she was giving a campus tour.

It was all coming together. The trail of enraptured faces after her could only mean one thing: PROSPIES.

Prospie is short for Prospective Student in the Tulane vernacular--February marks the start of the prospie season. Every weekend campus is flooded with high school seniors trying to make the biggest decision in their lives thus far; they get trotted around campus while tour leaders tout the benefits of going to school in the Big Easy, of which there are many.

Sidenote: the SNL comedian Colin Quinn once said that Tulane students are the smartest kids in the country because we were cunning enough to get our parents to let us go to college in the cauldron of evil. I can't disagree.

I remember when I came to visit Tulane. It was magical. The weather was sunny and warm, the French Quarter reminded me of downtown Disney, there's a tree in the Academic Quad covered in glittering Mardi Gras beads...it's a tough school to tell no. Some do, and some don't. And those who don't will embark on a roller coaster ride of strange food, sultry nights, classrooms that you can hear the streetcar rattle by in, dorm rooms that become safe havens.

I have the opportunity here to go on a clichéd soliloquy of how looking at their little prospie faces shows me just how far I've come, but I'm opposed to that statement because I think progress is subjective and there are many ways to grow. Am I a better person than I was when I came here? More subjectivity, but if it were my call (which it is) I'd say in some ways yes, in some ways no. Do I know more? Well, I know more about some things, but in total knowledge, I'd say definitely not--it's all probably averaged out, I forget far more than I remember. Am I wiser? I mean, sure, but that's still not saying much. Do I have a better idea of what I want out of life and where I'm going? Let's not make jokes here, of course not.

But oh well, that's why I have two years left in the wonderland that is Tulane and New Orleans and college in general. Check back here in a few years, I might be looking at campus tours and going on clichéd soliloquies.

xoxo, Lauren

*Now that I think about it I may have gotten an email about wellness programs, but I don't mix with my dorm community, it's half freshman. I'm above that fray.