My roommate, Jo, was the one who actually signed up to host for Scholars Weekend, which meant that the one who loves to know what the plan is—yours truly—had not a clue what was going on for a while. But I was excited anyway. At first the scholars were “the scholars.” Then they became “the kids,” and finally “our kids.” We were the hosts, and naturally it followed that they were to be our children.
What became obvious as the weekend approached was one thing: our air conditioning was not working properly. With the absolutely phenomenal, spring-like weather that had plagued Virginia Beach for a few days, our unit seemed to be as shocked as us. While outside was a beautiful seventy-or-so degrees, our room climbed to eighty.
Jo and I talked about it, griped about it, and forgot about submitting a maintenance request.
When hosting a scholar, make sure the room works before they come.
“You think we should submit a maintenance request?” I asked Jo nonchalantly on Thursday. The scholars were due Friday night.
Friday morning I came back from class to see someone fixing our A/C. What a relief! The side effect was the scent. You’d think dust would be rather odorless, but it’s not. Our dorm was deliciously cold… and smelled awful.
We sprayed body spray in a few key places. Now the room smelled like body spray mixed with dust. So we opened the windows and prayed it would dissipate before our scholar arrived.
Well, whether it did or didn’t, she never said a word about it.
As I waited just outside our door with Jo and my other hallmates who were hosting, I realized how anxious I had become. What if the scholar didn’t like our room? What if she was exhausted, stuck up, and hadn’t brought any bedding or a toothbrush? Seemed like we were all a bit agitated, because we cracked silly jokes and I laughed too hard at every single one.
“I’m so excited for our kids to come,” one of the girls finally remarked cheerily.
“It’s so odd to call them ‘our kids,’” I answered. “We better be careful not to say that in front of them. They’ll think we’re being condescending.”
“Let’s think up a code so we know when they’re actually coming,” Jo suggested. This was after a number of false alarms. “How about, ‘The redcoats are coming! The redcoats are coming’?”
“One if by land, two if by sea!” I exclaimed.
We laughed again.
The scholars were late and we grew anxious. I finally got up and went over to our window, looking out to see if the buses had come yet. I did not expect them, but there they were, three big ones, waiting just outside Foundation’s entrance. My heart jumped and I flew back to the hall shouting, “They’re coming! They’re coming!”
“Maggie, you have to say the code,” Jo exclaimed.
“One if by land, two if by sea!” I blurted, panting from my fifteen-foot sprint.
So we all stood up and held out the paper signs with the scholars’ names on them, pasted big smiles on our faces, and waited.
One girl came down first and we waited hopefully. She said something indistinguishable and turned around, prepared to go back down. Maybe we had scared her.
“It’s fine, if you want to leave,” Jo said jokingly, her voice just loud enough for the girl to hear. “I mean, we don’t mind. But if you wanna come over, I mean, that’s fine, too.”
We were trying not to laugh, and I was hoping she could tell Jo was kidding, and then she started towards us.
“What room are you looking for?” we asked.
“That’s us!” Jo and I screamed, cheering. “Kara?”
And so she arrived, safe and sound.
We had a good time conversing and she was one of the sweetest girls. She and Jo reminisced over how horrid the essay writing was for scholars weekend (Jo had been a scholar the previous year). The night went well and we got a full seven-and-a-half hours of sleep, which was very decent compared to others, who stayed up until one in the morning. We woke at seven and walked down to the lobby with Kara. As we stood there, scholars and their hosts began pouring in from the elevators and the stairs and everywhere else.
“It’s going to be all the scholars and all their hosts in here in a bit,” Kara commented.
I blanched as the elevator doors opened again with another load of girls.
It was soon extremely stuffy and loud and I made the mistake of trying to engage another scholar in a conversation. Many blank stares were exchanged when we paused, unsure if the other had asked a question or not. But very soon the buses arrived to a general huzzah.
“You’re like our proud parents, ready to send your kids off and away,” said Kara as the lobby began to empty.
I remembered what we had said earlier and laughed. “That’s exactly what it’s like! You have no idea.”
“Well, she’s on the bus,” said Jo a few minutes later, looking out the window.
Exactly like proud parents, I reflected.
And so ended our hosting.
Tips for hosts? Make sure your room works. Also, maybe have a code word so you know when they’re coming. After all, you want to give your scholarly kids the best night ever.
Maggie Nelson is a staff writer for the Daily Runner.