No doubt I live in one of the quietest residence halls on campus, with about 20 people per floor and less than 80 of us in the entire building. Seneca Hall, also known as Writers House, is generally calm and hushed, but behind suite doors hums creative energy.
The building is home to poets, slam poets, novelists, short story writers, essayists and more. Some have had books published or their poetry featured in magazines, others perform poetry every Wednesday night at Muddy Waters Coffee House. I knew when I applied to Writers House that I would be signing up for a crazy creative experience, but I had no idea how immensely powerful all that creative energy stuffed into one small dorm could be.
There is rarely a day where my fellow “Senecans” don’t inspire me with their creativity. When listening to or reading the creative works of my floor mates, I am in awe of their sheer literary genius and passion. Seneca also offers opportunities for developing writing skills with 80 critique partners close at hand, all well-versed in the craft, and “Write Ins” where we all sit together and free write.
Surprisingly, Writers House is as much about writing music as it is about the creative writing process. An overwhelming majority of residents compose music or play multiple instruments. On any given day I can hear the banjo, piano, guitar, ukulele, oboe and more. The music varies from Billy Joel to Beethoven to songs improvised on the spot.
One of the things I have grown to treasure about Seneca is the friendly but calm atmosphere. Since Seneca is suite style, the rooms are fairly private and much of the socializing happens out in the hall or in one of the lounges. People socialize in small, close-knit groups. I’ve always preferred more personal gatherings to large, rowdy parties where I don’t know anyone. Many of the people in Seneca seem to feel the same way. People will stop in to say hello if you’re studying in a lounge or in the in-house library, but there is no overwhelming pressure to be social.
This isn’t to say Senecans never have fun even if we’re more laid-back, or to say that we just stay in our rooms. With house teas, “Assocksination,” movie nights and karaoke, plenty of us get out. There are Nerf gunfights in the hallways and people playing “Super Smash Bros.” until 4 a.m. in the lounge. Groups of musicians in the building get together and practice songs and I have stayed up playing “League of Legends,” “Castle Crashers” and Connect Four with floor mates.
I have found living in Seneca to be such an incredible experience because no matter who you are or how introverted you may be, there is a place for you in the small, close community. Senecans are all connected by our love of the literary arts, but what I have truly grown to adore about the house is its atmosphere.