It was 3 am. I was snug in bed and had finally fallen into a deep sleep, which, for a semi-insomniac, is a big accomplishment. Then, the fire alarm went off. So dreary, still half asleep and practically blind (because I wasn’t wearing my contacts), I uprooted myself from my bed and tried to grab a few things before facing the thirty degree Maine weather. I managed to grab my room key and a pullover sweater.
I live in Foss, which is a chem-free dorm (an alcohol and substance free building), so not many fire alarms get pulled here, because there aren’t half as many drunken people around to pull them. So, you could probably imagine how surprised I was to hear the alarm go off, especially since the only other case we had was a drill that security ran because our dorm wasn’t getting enough practice evacuating the building. So I darted outside, only to realize that I had forgotten my shoes. Boy were those twenty minutes some of the chilliest in my life.
Afterwards, because I couldn’t fall asleep again, I started thinking. I realized that fire alarms are just one of the little annoyances of college that first years just have to get used to through experience. Sure I was a little startled at first, especially after one of the hotels my family and I stayed at a couple years back for vacation caught ablaze at a similar hour. But still, in college, fire alarms are more common of an experience than in hotels. Getting used to living with a roommate is another of the annoyances that you learn to love through experience too, in college. Some others include being sick without having a family member around to bring you crackers or ginger ale, or having a different lunch time every day instead of a set period as in high school. Still, these annoyances have their pluses. In fact, I am happy to report that because of my first real fire alarm experience, I met a few people outside that night whom I hadn’t even known lived in my dorm!