Left Behind

Editor’s Note: All names of quoted students have been changed upon request. End-of-year packing is never an easy task, as students come face-to-face ...

Sep 19, 2015

Editor’s Note: All names of quoted students have been changed upon request.
End-of-year packing is never an easy task, as students come face-to-face with the full repercussions of their past year’s hoarding. Drying racks that were only used once, schoolbooks that were barely skimmed, big stuffed lions that seemed like a good idea at the time and majestic cacti collections become subject to a harsh selection process where they await one of four outcomes.
These items will be either boxed for next year, suitcased for home, donated or mercilessly thrown away.
However, last year some students felt that this selection process was too cruel, as there was a fixed acceptance cap on the first two categories: boxed items were dictated by the volume and shape of the box, and packed items were limited by airline baggage allowances. Students who believed this cap to be too severe opted to create a fifth outcome: hide items on campus to retrieve next year.
One such student, Ted, found the safe haven for his bed linen in a cabinet in the Arts Center. After vacuum-sealing his mattress cover, pillows and sheets into a bag, he placed it in one of the practice room cabinets, locked the door and took the key back home with him.
“I was thinking of a good place to hide my bedding on campus and I coincidentally found an unused cabinet with a lock in the Arts Center and thought it was perfect,” said Ted.
Ted returned this year with the key in hand, retrieved his belongings and placed the key back in the keyhole. When asked whether he believed his actions were moral, Ted admitted the contrary and added that he would not recommend other students to do so.
“But if they are in desperate need of storage for just one summer, I think it is quite convenient,” he added.
A group of roommates found a hiding place closer to home — in fact, they did not even have to leave their flat. One of them, Perry, explained that he was always told by his father to think about the future, which he associated with looking up to the sky.
“I looked up and found a ceiling for hiding things,” said Perry. “I knew I wanted to keep them for the future and that was a clear sign to use the ceiling.”
The students left a mop, bucket, lemon squeezer and rolling pin inside the ceiling. When they returned after the summer to retrieve these items, the mop and bucket had vanished, while the lemon squeezer and rolling pin were inexplicably in the kitchen’s middle drawer. While Minh was very happy to find and retrieve his lemon squeezer and rolling pin, Perry and Alvin were devastated by the loss of their mop.
“We knocked on the door and asked [the new freshmen living there] if we could just have a look in the ceiling,” said Perry. “Then we opened the lid and sighed.”
Perry promised that the mop will always remain in his heart.
“I have many memories with it,” he said. “Holding it tightly in my hands and furiously mopping the ground. It was like holding a wild camel — you needed to respect the mop in order to control it.”
The freshmen that now inhabit this flat showed some signs of anguish over the incident, but seemed to be coping well.
“I thought the rolling pin came with our scholarship, but Minh took it back,” said Juan, one of the new co-inhabitants of the room.
Whether this raid has actually led to friendship is still in question.
“We thought we could meet new freshmen this way but after I told them I was a Computer Science major they weren't really interested anymore,” said Alvin.
Some of the new freshmen residents are refusing to believe that the disappeared items were as menial as a bucket and mop. They have proposed that the sophomores may have hid something more top-secret.
The responsible sophomores, however, are adamant that they were not storing any other items, and that the freshmen’s suspicions are likely a result of their own protectiveness of their mop.
“We did not want to specify what was hidden, since the mop was very precious to us,” said Perry. “We just said it was ‘stuff,’ so they would think we were hiding something else like a diamond or turtle. We did not want to put too much attention on the mop.”
Other items have shown up in students’ rooms that have yet to be claimed. One freshman, Huang, reported that she found five binders, some lined paper and a 2014/2015 bulletin in her bottom desk drawer.
In our interview over ARC coffee, she admitted that she felt like a spy trying to figure out who had been living in her room before.
“First of all, who needs five two-ring binders, right?” said Huang. “One of the folders had Making Theatre labeled on it, and the bulletin that was left has a really prominent crease on the Economics requirements page. Another clue was all the hair left in the shower drain – that hair filled a full plastic bag, and I don't even want to know what the black jelly-looking buildup was.”
“To the folder-hoarding Econ major who dabbles in Kathakali theatre: clean your shower drain next time,” Huang concluded.
Such stories highlight that last year’s move-out could have gone more smoothly. Depending on the day they left, students either received two plastic boxes from NYUAD Procurement or two larger cardboard boxes from Agility.
Neither of these boxes, however, were large enough to fit long objects like brooms, mops, drying racks, floorboards and spears. Many plants also had to be abandoned, as the boxes could not provide adequate water or sunshine.
Some students have voiced hope that the school can learn from last year’s mistakes and improve storage services this year. Perry is now advocating for increased mop rights.
“I think every mop deserves a better life,” said Perry. “Give mops a chance. Your parents gave you a chance; how would your parents feel if they stored you in a nice ceiling, but then after three months couldn’t find you? Think about it.”
To show support for mop rights, Perry urged students to join him in making #FreedomToMops a trending hashtag.
Kate Melville-Rea is a contributing writer. Email her at
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