As an RA, I feel it is my duty to own a couch. If personal experience is any indication, providing additional seating in a dorm room is a surefire way to successfully create the #communal #warm #welcoming vibe that all RAs seem to do so well.

Yesterday, one of my lovely co-RAs and I drove to Ikea to purchase the slightly small, slightly wiry piece of furniture I found online that appeared to be comfortable enough to lounge upon but perhaps not quite comfortable enough to sleep on… As we began our short drive up to East Palo Alto, we chatted about our summers, our room decor visions, and our course selections for the fall quarter. Clearly, the conversation began at a relatively typical, surface-level starting point. However, it didn’t take long to arrive at a much more fruitful discussion, primarily surrounding the merits of journaling/blogging as a tool to facilitate self-reflection. (The topic was originally prompted by an apparent mutual interest in the class English 91: Creative Nonfiction.)

My co-staff explained to me how he personally uses writing as a mechanism to help him better understand his daily thoughts, specifically as they relate to the interactions he has throughout the day. For example, he explained how writing about a run-in with a coworker or a conversation with his boss helped him unpack the dynamics of the relationships at play during his summer internship at Microsoft, and how doing so furthermore aided in his understanding of his role in the workplace.

As we effortlessly glided onto the onramp for Highway 101, he and I discussed how certain classes we had taken in the past– English 91 for him, Phil 2: Introduction to Moral Philosophy for me– had well trained us to synthesize our thought processes in succinct, effective ways that made us better writers and sharper thinkers. We also discussed the shortcomings of these courses and how certain key elements of writing, such as tone and voice, often go unaddressed in factual writing instruction.


A moment in time— two 20 year old kids, beaming down the highway on their way to buy the cheapest couch for sale at Ikea, color: bright yellow; Discover weekly playlist bumping from the car speakers at a volume just loud enough so that only young ears don’t have to strain to hear the other talk; sunshine pouring in the sunroof and beating down hot on our legs; lane lines passing, voices exchanging, neurons pulsing.

I could not help but let out a small smile. Quivering, biting at the corners.

Oh, small talk that starts out about the weather and fades brightly into the colors of broader topics, such as the meaning of life.

Oh, dinner conversations that accidentally last three hours because you just can’t stop unpacking the nuances of her argument (and she looks so beautiful in dimmed lighting…)

Oh, late night debates we keep pursuing because we’re young and curious and we can sleep when we’re dead.

Oh, hallway conversations that begin with a question about the homework and end with an eager introduction to a stranger’s truest intellectual passion.

Oh, jokes requiring wit, discussions requiring attention, debates requiring thought, hallways requiring minds.

Oh, college. How I have missed you so.

We pulled into the parking structure, drove around in zig zags for ten minutes looking for a spot, and finally made our way into the absolute zoo that is Ikea on Labor Day– only to find that the yellow, wiry couch I had come for was out of stock at this particular location. It’s okay, though, because I still got to buy hella pillows, a new batch of couches will be in on Wednesday, and in the meantime I was reminded just why there’s just no place like home. 🙂


Life update:

  • I moved out of my summer housing in Suites to my single in Cedro this weekend! My room is decked OUT, ngl. Pictures coming soon– I’m just waiting on a tapestry (and a couch, duh.)
  • Today was the first day of RA training, and it felt devilishly patronizing, in my humble opinion. (Probably had something to do with the excessive kindergarten-esque dancing.)
  • Unrelated: I find it SO frustrating that it is technically grammatically incorrect to end sentences in prepositions. To do so just feels so natural in speech, and I feel like if it comes that naturally to us, we should be able to use it in writing. RT if u agree!


P.S. Thought-provoking questions aren’t always necessarily birthed from small talk around here. Just now while in the midst of writing this post, Allan popped his head up from his laptop and asked me out of nowhere, “What’s your biggest fear?”

Written by Catherine Goetze

Catherine Goetze Find me on social media! Facebook: Twitter: @catherinegoetze Instagram: @catherinegoetze SnapChat: @catherinegoetze Contact me:


  1. Love this post. Side question: you mentioned you drove to Ikea….does one of you have a car, or did you use a Zipcar? (2020 here trying to figure out how things work – thanks!)


  2. I loved reading this! 🙂 I love how you bolded some words, the seemingly small things in college life that are ironically so defining and meaningful, that come together to represent your college experience. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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