I live in Scales. “Sketchy Scales,” as you may have heard it called. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s on Lakeside, neighbor to both Mary Walker and Waterbury. Don’t bother to stop by, though. It’s not much to see, unless you’re into bad architecture and poorly-kept landscaping.
My freshman year I applied to live in Johnson. I guess I didn’t get my paperwork in quickly enough, because somehow my roommate and I got stuck in Scales. A far cry from Johnson, for sure. I had never heard of Scales before I had been assigned to live there. After I got the email confirming my living arrangements, I remember remarking to my roommate online that, based on the glimpse I got of it on my tour, it seemed like it’d be nice enough. Boy, did I have no idea what I was in for.
Freshman year I not only lived in Scales, I lived on the third floor of Scales, which was, and is, unquestionably the worst floor of Scales. After a year of living adjacent to drug dealers, running up and down four flights of stairs to do my laundry in washers and dryers that broke every other week, using a bathroom that looked like it could never be cleansed of its filth, no matter how many times it was cleaned every week and being treated to a view of a giant pine tree directly outside my window every time I walked into my room, I was ready to leave Scales. I had grand dreams of Funnelle or Riggs, and I was too much of a naïve freshman to listen to the warnings that I got from upperclassmen about how unrealistic my plans were.
I was devastated when my housing lottery number came up: my only choices outside of Scales were Waterbury and Cayuga, and I knew that neither of those dorms was better than Scales. So, my roommate and I ended up on the first floor of Scales for our sophomore year.
When we finally accepted our fate, there was nothing we could do but start looking up. We wouldn’t have to walk up and down so many stairs every day, we realized. We’d have a view of the lake instead of darkness, pine needles and the occasional squirrel. The kitchen was right downstairs, the desk was right down the hall—we’d only have to walk thirty feet or so to get our lockout key, rent the vacuum or get our popcorn, Easy Mac or Campbell’s soup microwaved. Best of all, a dozen of our friends were moving to or already lived on the first floor. The silver lining went on for miles.
Now that I’ve lived almost a full semester of this year in Scales, I can say with confidence that I’ll be sad to leave after my sophomore year is over. I haven’t become delusional in an attempt to escape my tragic reality, I swear. I still know that Scales is one of the worst dorms on campus. The stairwells look like they haven’t been cleaned in a decade, we’re as far away from Lakeside Dining Hall as you can be while still living on Lakeside, there’s duct tape on our window screens that doesn’t actually keep any bugs out (my roommate woke up with a weird bug in her hair one time and she’s never been the same), the front door is extremely delayed in opening after you scan your ID—I could go on. But as dirty and broken and inconvenient as Scales can be, it has something that most dorms do not: a family.
I know I’ll still see all the friends I’ve made in Scales long after I’ve left, but I’ll treasure my last semester there all the same. After all, it won’t be the same Scales I know when they’re gone. Because of them, Scales is my home here at Oswego. So, a big thank you from me to the residents of Scales who make up the big, weird, happy family that makes Scales worth living in. You know who you are.