Bassett’s Got Assetts

I won’t lie. When I first got my housing assignment saying I’d live in the Bassett dorm, I immediately thought of one TikTok that I saw describing the place as a prison. While scrolling on the app during my senior year of high school, I thought to myself, “Geez. If I get into Duke, I don’t want to live there.” Fast forward to now, I’m comfortably snuggling myself into bed, finding myself in impromptu dance parties in friends’ rooms, and shouting my favorite people’s names as I see them across the hall.

I’m Ben, a first-year student and @DukeStudents intern. While the first impressions of my current home weren’t the greatest, I assure you it’s the most “homey” a home can get.

3 students pose for a picture on a dorm couch.

I’ve met some of my closest friends through Bassett and the Exploration of Genetics and Genomics FOCUS cluster housed in it. The close proximity of not only living around each other but also sharing classes with one another has really allowed me to get to know people more meaningfully. Icebreakers with each other felt natural (as opposed to the infamous “where are you from? What dorm do you live in? Major?”) thanks to the disadvantages of the dorm giving us all something to share in common and laugh about straight off the bat. The consensus that the people are really what makes Bassett stand out is pretty evident through some current residents’ words. From “sucky dorms but the community is great” to “an inverse correlation between the quality of building and quality of the community,” one can see that we don’t care if the shower curtains don’t close all the way… as long as we have each other.

I never would have seen myself having such a great time with the people in my dorm when I first thought of college life. I imagined myself going out often with those from other dorms (which I assure you I do) and being holed up in the library alone until 2 AM (Lilly has become my second home, so this too has held up its truth), but hanging out with my neighbors two doors down from me? I didn’t think neighbors could be so close with one another until I was proved wrong by my friends screaming and hugging me to welcome me back from Fall break.

BeReal photo: one student takes a selfie while 5 other students pose in a group.

Some of my best college memories have come from Bassett. The study sessions in the common room that turn into fun story times, a spontaneous game of volleyball the night before we had presentations to share in class, and singing and dancing in the bathrooms all put together scenes and images that I’m sure will make me somewhat less hesitant to say “college was a movieeeee.”

Bassett isn’t just a dorm or a home. And it’s definitely not a prison. It’s a family. One in which the people love and support one another, drive each other crazy, and never cease to make us smile.

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