Room 202
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    A room within a room – that’s how rooms 202 and 202A were organized. Room 202, the outer room, evoked warm spring vibes. Red flower wall decals, pink birthday decorations and other cozy, warm-colored furniture welcomed visitors. On the right side of the room, there was another door with the sign “202A.” The door led to room 202A, like the wardrobe that leads to Narnia. This room had an opposite color scheme: a sky-blue moon chair and a blue and green colored guitar wall decal stand out. My roommate, who also happened to be my best friend, lived in room 202, and I lived in room 202A during our senior year of high school. Really, the two rooms were joint spaces occupied by both of us, only separated by a thin wall when we occasionally required privacy.

    Photo by Rachel Oh / North by Northwestern

    The two rooms collectively embody my senior year. They harbor unique and often hilarious memories between me and my roommate. As two girls who liked socializing but were often too lazy to leave our rooms, we mostly stayed in and chatted for hours, sometimes staying up until 4 a.m. The rooms were our safe zones, where all secrets and gossip stayed confidential, where we didn’t have to confront any academic or social pressure.

    Room 202 was also the site of hilarious daily events – including what we still call the “Kit-Kat incident.” Some time during the year, I accidentally popped open a Kit-Kat packet and a chocolate piece fell into the gap between the drawer and the wall. Panicking over a possible bug infestation , I frantically tried to get it out, and miserably failed. I even climbed up and down the drawer to reach my hand inside the gap. For my rescue, my genius partner in crime, my roommate, devised a tool, connecting a wooden chopstick and a USB cable, and successfully dragging the chocolate out. After all the fuss, we just laughed over how ridiculous our struggle was. On Saturday nights, when we had nothing much to do, my roommate would watch Youtube tutorials on various hairstyles and try them on me, since I had longer hair. She’s given me asymmetric crown braids and a bun that was too messy to be called a bun; she’s tried to put eye makeup on me that often ended up a disastrous failure due to my inconvenient monolid. 

    On a serious note, this room also embodied my inner conflicts and contemplations. The carpeted floor soaked my tears after a stress-induced breakdown senior fall. Difficult exams, college rejections and many discouragements weighed on my mind. The walls heard me fighting over the phone with my parents, simply bitching about my hardship and workload, inconsiderate of their concern after the call. Only later would I regret my actions and leave a short text saying sorry to my parents. There were the days I would wrap myself around my blanket and simply not leave the room unless it was necessary – the times I wanted to escape from school and from people, but simply couldn’t. The room reminds me of those rainy days of my life as well.

    At the end of the year, I took a photo of my disorganized, messy room, which I still keep handy on my phone. Once in awhile, I look for it and remember what happened there last year. Whether I’m fond of it or not, even the words “Room 202” conjure nostalgia. It is a significant part of my past, and it will be a permanent part of me.

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