Unnati Dass | A room of one's own


Farewell Column | Penn has allowed me to stay cluttered and blur the lines




I’ve always found bedrooms to be an interesting reflection of their inhabitants.

At least, the messy inside of mine reflects the nature of its occupant pretty accurately.

Before packing my entire college existence into cardboard boxes a few days ago, I surveyed the room one final time. Each item brings to mind a different memory and speaks volumes about the place I’ve called home for the last four years.

Upon entering, the first thing you notice is about a million pairs of shoes. A couple of black pumps for Wharton presentations, interviews and internships. Four pairs of boots, a type of shoe I had never owned before coming to Penn because it never gets too cold back home. (Sadly underused) sneakers for the gym. All kinds of heels, most of them purchased last summer while I interned at a fashion company.

The next thing you see are books. Books piled up on my dresser, ranging from abnormal psychology and graphic design to accounting and French. Four years ago, I came to Penn ready to switch out of Wharton and become a philosophy major. Somewhere along the way, I decided business wasn’t so bad after all, and found psychology a lot more interesting than philosophy. An uncoordinated dual degree had never been part of my plan, but it’s definitely brought an interesting mix of professors and perspectives my way.

Posters on the wall give away my penchant for anything European (also, for The Strokes and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). I spent one of the best summers of my life studying abroad in Tours, France. I stayed with the cutest host family on Rue Origet, with whom I had copious amounts of Merlot, cheese and discussions on French identity and film — it was all deliciously cliché. (As cliché as spring breaks in the Caribbean and Mexico.) On ne vit qu’une fois, right?

Tucked away in a corner are random Daily Pennsylvanian issues from the last four years. There’s a cushion with an Adobe design software logo on it and the keys on my desk are attached to a DP bottle opener. Here, you get a hint of where I’ve spent the majority of the last couple of years. It started with joining the design department (because I liked drawing and pretty things). Somehow, I ended up as managing editor during my junior year. Some of my best times at Penn were spent feverishly finishing up infographics, telling the printing plant we were going to be late or just staying up until 5 a.m. with co-editors for no real reason. For two years, a visit to my actual bedroom would have led you straight to the _DP_’s offices. I should wish I was kidding, but as a nostalgic has-been, few places seem more appealing than that office right now.

Cleaning my room hasn’t been much of a priority during college. Because to be messy, to blur the lines, is the privilege that Penn — and my parents — have given me. (Love you, Mom and Dad!)

Everything I’ve learned about life, design, journalism, French, business, psychology — even the rush of skydiving — I can credit to the people I’ve met here. My figurative families have made Penn my home. Friends hailing from Lower Merion to Kuala Lumpur, friends who reminded me to make a wish at 11:11. The ones who made me feel like no one in the world has ever been this close, loved as fiercely, or laughed as hard. To them, to Penn and to the Class of 2012 — it’s hard to say adieu. So for now, I’ll stick with au revoir. Stay messy, talented and fabulous. Cheers.

Unnati Dass, a former managing editor and design editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian, is a College and Wharton senior from New Delhi, India. After graduation she will be working in retail in New York City. Her email address is unnatidass@gmail.com.

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