A few weeks in, and I’ve only had one nightmare about all of my new housemates despising me.
But on more of a relevant note, my name is Samantha Colombo… Or, most refer to me simply as Sam. As of recent, I am a senior majoring in Environmental Studies and minoring in Women and Gender Studies. I’m both shocked and relieved that I have managed to make it to senior year in one piece, but here I am. Now, I want to take some space in this post to give a little background on myself, as well as reflect on 1. my initial fears coming into this project and 2. how I feel it has been going so far.
Most of my life growing up, I was clueless about both the environment and the many issues revolving around it. I spent some time in nature, but would much rather curl up by my PlayStation playing Spyro than read or help my parents with their gardening and yard work. I think my first step into the world of sustainability was when I made the decision to become a vegetarian in 6th or 7th grade from exposure to Peta2 volunteers at the concerts and music festivals I would go to, and I’ve been vegetarian ever since.
Even so, I’ve come an incredibly long way since middle school. Fast-forward to now, you have a plant-obsessed vegan sustainability house member, former two year e-board member of the Environmental Campus Outreach club at Albright, former and present activist. From this description it may seem like I have nothing to worry about moving into the house, but much like most college students raised in capitalist America, I’ve got plenty of work to do.
My biggest fears coming into the house had to do with showers and air conditioning. Although I had shortened my showers from 40-60 minute showers freshman year to a much less drastic average 15 minute shower, I knew I was going to have to sacrifice my precious shower time even more. Additionally, I just love being freezing when I sleep. I love blasting the air and becoming an immobile blanket creature. As you can imagine, that probably is not one of my most sustainable behaviors. I realized that too, which made me nervous when the time to move in got closer. Other than that, I was mostly excited to learn ways to further my desire to learn a sustainable lifestyle.
Now it’s almost October and I’ve been here for a month learning the ropes. Much to my surprise, I still get to use air conditioning like your average person. I have been more mindful than I may have been otherwise, but lately it has been cool enough to just have the window open for my ideal amount of sleep chilliness. As for showering… it has been a challenge. From my first shower in the house, I learned that there was a lovely little timer that turns the water to the lowest water pressure setting after five minutes. Basically my shower options are learn how to shower within five minutes, leave the shower at five minutes with conditioner still in my hair, or stand in the shower for 10 minutes longer trying to wash out the rest of my conditioner with what seems like the lowest water pressure in the world. Currently I’ve been striving for the first option, but I’m not quite there yet. I shower around three times a week, but since I skip most days I have a big job to do the days I actually decide to shower, so I’ve resorted to applying my shampoo to my hair pre-shower. This way, the second I get in I can immediately wet and lather my ridiculously knotty and long hair which saves a bit of time. I have faith that one day I’ll master this task, but it gets more difficult the cooler it gets outside. I’ll keep you updated on that!
So far, I’ve found learning about composting the most fascinating. I would help my dad compost at home over the summer, but composting at the sustainability house is so much more legit. I’m sure I will have a lot to show my dad next time I make my way home to New Jersey. Otherwise, I’ve been having a great time getting to know the lovely people in the house, discussing our personal goals and desires with one another, and planning ahead for what should pan out to be an eventful year.
Also I am happy to report that, as far as I can tell, my housemates do not despise me outside of my one nightmare
Until next time,