Learning Dub Love: Theme Houses and Self Development | St. Lawrence University

Learning Dub Love: Theme Houses and Self Development

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

When giving tours to prospective students, there is one tour spot that always makes me smile more than the others. “Right over there, yup, that little blue house is where I live!” Stopping at the crossroad of the Enchanted Forest walkway and right in the middle between ODY and Herring-Cole, I get to share with students what Theme Houses do for the St. Lawrence community. Ever since my own summer tour back in 2015, I was enamored by the idea of a living-learning community that focused on issues that mattered to me. Maybe it was the only child in me taking hold, but I was determined to make good use of my first year scoping out the options that Theme Houses offered to find a community that enabled me to become the best version of myself. The Dub certainly did the trick.

After being accepted into the Women’s Resource Center, nicknamed “The Dub”, for my sophomore fall, I was looking forward to being part of something bigger than myself that I had chosen to join. The Dub is a space that I believed had the potential to be an opportunity for those of any gender to receive empowerment and health resources, and I was looking forward to being a catalyst for this progression. Looking back on it now as a junior, I can’t say it was good all the time. I can’t say I didn’t grow frustrated or weary. But, when you get to pick the community you live in, something about the difficult moments is not entirely the same as when you are alone. When the college world I lived in seemed too daunting to handle, here are three ways my theme house helped me survive.

  1. Reviving my passions: The Dub aims to educate and have conversations about issues that are difficult and taboo; catcalling, sexual assault, campus culture, and the underlying intersections that affect our day-to-day lives like sexual orientation and race, etc. No matter the topic, the people I live with are fervent about raising their own understandings of these topics and engaging with them critically. Being around this energy made me want to be better, for both them and for our campus, and translating this over to my academics made all the difference in genuinely caring about the school work I was doing instead of dreading it.
  2. Asking for help: Being a person who loves to please others, I say yes to tasks and projects more often than I should. While being a member of a theme house, I experienced difficulties and learned when I need to ask for help with things. I have 10 other people to fall back on if I would only let myself. Whether or not it was house events, school projects, work shifts or a rehearsal, I learned the power of voicing my concerns and vulnerabilities and having them be supported and understood. People are more often than not happy to help you in a sticky situation, but you do have to ask first.
  3. Being comfortable with being uncomfortable: Dealing with difficult teachers, awkward interactions, saying the wrong thing, these things happen to everyone. I used to be a person who would analyze and critique any mistake I made, obsessing over how the moment could have been different and condemning myself for my mess-ups. But it happened as it did, and I couldn’t do much to change that. Being part of a theme house taught me to be comfortable with ambiguity; how an event might go, how someone might interpret what you say, if you are going to perform exactly as you plan. I don’t mean this in that you shouldn’t care about the outcome of such things, quite the opposite. You should care, and you should do your best to be prepared on all ways that you can, and one of those is being comfortable with things going differently than you planned. The world wouldn’t be any better off if mistakes weren’t made, and neither would you!

Theme houses can be a vibrant, and exciting part of a students St. Lawrence experience, and whether you resonate with community service, outdoor explorations, cultural awareness, language, arts, or advocacy, you may learn more about yourself than you previously knew, and I am pretty grateful for that. #DubLove