The Roommate Report: AnneKatherine Johnson ’27, Mabel Linck ’27, Maddy Walsh ’27

In the debut of her new column, “The Roommate Report,” Assistant Features Editor June Dorsch ’27 interviews three freshman roommates about their experience living together in Charles Pratt.

One of my favorite parts of the Features section is our recurring articles where a writer interviews someone on campus — Student Squared, Thoughts on Theses, Fresh Faculty, and Staff Spotlight. I get to find out about the people on campus and their experiences with academics, community, and more. One thing that is an integral part of my time at Amherst that is not captured in these amazing articles, however, is the roommate experience (shoutout to my roommate Anna Primozic ’27!). That is the goal of this new column. I will interview roommates in a variety of housing situations — randomly assigned first-years, roommates in theme housing, suitemates in the Greenways — and learn about their experiences living together.

For the debut, I interviewed three first-year roommates in their Charles Pratt triple: AnneKatherine Johnson ’27, Mabel Linck ’27, and Maddy Walsh ’27. This interview has been condensed for clarity.

June Dorsch: What was your first interaction with each other? Was it online? Was it the first day of school?

Maddy Walsh: [AnneKatherine] emailed us.

JD: What did you email them?

AnneKatherine Johnson: It was an introduction of myself, my phone number, Instagram. Just saying hey.

Mabel Linck: Yeah. And then we made a group chat, texting for a bit.

JD: Did it feel awkward to text strangers?

ML: I don’t want to say yeah, but yeah.

MW: Well, I tried to put names to faces because I saw [AnneKatherine’s] Instagram. But [Mabel] I looked up and found that photo from high school.

ML: Great.

JD: What were your first impressions of each other when you met each other in person?

AJ: It was hectic that first day trying to shove nine people in[to] this room. Not easy with bags and moving furniture.

MW: I just think I got a really different impression because all of our parents were here.

ML: Yeah, no, I remember everyone’s parents better than everyone else.

MW: [Mabel’s] dad came up and said hello. I was sitting on my bed and he was like, “Hello, bed.”

ML: Maybe he forgot your name. He definitely doesn’t know your name now.

JD: And because I know you guys, I know that you did a lot of moving around of the furniture. How did that work?

ML: It was very stressful. There was this one very helpful guy … I just remember he was the one who was helping us move everything around. And we had our beds arranged in bunk beds and we didn’t want that. So he was taking everything apart. He was getting different furniture and moving everything around for us. But it was definitely very hectic. And stressful.

AJ: Inform the greater populace that triples are a real thing … No one’s like, “Hey, you could end up in a triple.” …  you go online and look at information about Amherst and triples, it looks like there are things that you can do that you can’t do.

ML: Yeah. We were very much under the impression that we were able to loft the beds and put our desks underneath, which is not true at all. Like you can’t do that anywhere.

MW: You have to assert yourself. You have to because we were insistent on getting the bunk beds removed.

ML: Yeah, they did not want to do that.

JD: Do you like your room?

AJ, ML, MW: Yeah…

JD: That didn’t seem very certain.

AJ: It’s quite nice. Although when you shove three different desks and dressers then your space gets tight. As you see, the only open space is the center of the floor. Because every other wall has these objects that you can’t take out.

MW: I like how spacious it is. If you want to pace.

AJ: That is true. Especially compared to the other triple we have a lot more open space and we can lay on the floor.

MW: [The one-room double] just feels so claustrophobic.

ML: And also we’re able to have a lot of people over here as well. Like everyone could sit on the floor and that sort of thing.

MW: Like a cult. I also like the decor here. I didn’t have any decor when we first came and they were eating it up.

JD: What are the difficulties of living in a triple?

ML: Sleep schedules?

AJ: Yeah.

MW: For sure.

JD: Do you guys have different sleep schedules?

ML: I don’t know. I think it was different last semester. It [varies] semester to semester. I do a lot of STEM classes which are earlier and [AnneKatherine’s] got the Spanish class which is earlier. But most of [Maddy’s] classes are pretty late.

AJ: Last semester I’d be the last one up and then the last one to sleep as well. But this semester I’m up pretty early, at least Mondays and Wednesdays. So I will say sleep schedules are pretty different. And with a door that’s really loud, when I come in when they’re sleeping I try to ease my way out the door or something.

MW: I’ve never woken up from that though.

AJ: Oh, I’m so glad.

ML: You’re a heavy sleeper then.

MW: Well, obviously I woke up because of my coughing fits.

ML: I feel like that’s the other thing — sickness.

MW: I’ve had a cough since Oct. 28 so I’ve been terrorizing them.

ML: It’s not contagious, thank god. Anymore. But, yeah, if one of us gets sick, everyone gets sick.

AJ: In terms of literal closets, there’s only two and they’re three of us. And that goes for all triples.

MW: I don’t know if you can include this in your article but on the tours, they say that there’s only doubles in [Charles Pratt].

JD: They like to show off Pratt as the “cool dorm.” Do you think it's the best dorm of the first-year ones?

ML: It depends on what the best [means]. It’s the prettiest.

MW: I think the common room[s] of James or Stearns is just as nice.

AJ: Yeah, I don’t mind James or Stearns common room[s]. I like the vibes in there.

MW: Also, sometimes it’s really, really dirty in here after a weekend.

ML: Yeah, it’s hard, especially when you live on first-floor Pratt. You can’t go to the bathroom without being perceived … If I was like fourth floor James you just go across the hall to your bathroom. No one’s ever there.

AJ: Or even third-floor Pratt. If you talk to them it’s a completely different vibe.

MW: I don’t believe [third-floor Pratt] exists.

JD: Is the construction bad?

AJ: Oh my god. It’s an issue. I need them to ramp it back because I want that finished.

MW: It was [bad] last semester. Like every weekend at 8 a.m. *proceeds to make the sound of a bulldozer*

ML: Seven probably. Yeah. Construction work hours are like seven to three.

AJ: Honestly, it was the beeping was worse. because they all roll up at like 6 a.m. and just be like Beep!

MW: I think our dorm has issues though. Whatever the temperature is outside, we have inside and we can hear everything.

ML: I think our windows are just bad. But the other funny thing about this room is that people think that they can come down the street and go down that way, but they can’t. So I’ll see at least like 20 people a day pull in and then have to back out. I saw someone get stuck over there once at two in the morning. And then they were stuck over the curb, revving their engines off the dumpster [lid]. They put it under their car, ran it over, and then put it back on [the dumpster]. So now it’s all [messed] up.

AJ: We both just woke up and stared out the window for like 20 minutes.

JD: How did you decide to decorate the space? Did you do it collaboratively or individually?

AJ: We lean towards cooler tones. But aside from that though we each have our third [of the room] that we put things on.

ML: I think we had texted in the summer and been like, “What kind of vibe are we going for here?” I think we said nature. So I think that came through.

JD: Can you walk me through the design [of the room] a little bit?

AJ: Sure. This is my corner. I have [photos of] all my family and friends. I have some music-inspired decorations as well. This plant I bought after I moved in at the local farmer’s market.

Plants and pictures decorate Johnson’s corner of the room. Photo courtesy of June Dorsch ’27.

MW: Shop local.

AJ: This is my desk. It’s a small desk. It doesn’t really fit a whole lot. I don’t really use it to study. I just study [at] other places.

ML: I’m next … When I was originally going for room decor I was literally looking at medieval dorm decor on Pinterest.

MW: You kind of did that.

ML: I kind of achieved what I was aiming for … My grandmother gave me this pillow that is a life-size replica of my cat. My plants, lights. My desk — I’m the only one who got a big desk. That’s the other thing about our room … all of our furniture is mismatched. Like I didn’t get a disconnectable dresser so I couldn’t put it under my bed.

MW: But you deserve a big desk for having no [wall behind the head of the bed].

ML: I do have no headboard. So my pillows do fall off sometimes.

AJ: It was interesting trying to find space for beds.

ML: We were going to put it [on a wall]. But then I don’t have a window. So I don’t know. It’s kind of a trade-off. But I ended up making a little nook under my bed instead.

JD: Do you go under there?

ML: Yeah. Just sit there. And watch [Instagram] reels.

MW: When I came here, this [poster] was the only thing I had. So [everything else] I’ve accumulated. For some reason, I thought [AnneKatherine and Mabel] weren’t going to let me put up any decor. Because we were texting about rules and I was like, “Oh, so that means I can’t bring anything.” And my parents were like, “Maddy, your side of the room looks horrible. Your roommates are going to think you’re a weirdo.” So, we drove to Walmart and I bought a bunch of fake plants that I have there. The rest of this I have borrowed, taken from my Goya book. A lot of this is Goya. So the rest of these are collages. Mabel made me those snowflakes as a Secret Santa gift. They’re really cute. My mom got me those lights from Walmart. Oh, that’s a potato print I made. I don’t know. The rest of this is really borrowed from people who wanted me to have them.

JD: Are there some objects that you particularly love here?

MW: Okay, for Christmas. Mabel made me this wooden soup bowl. Have you watched Wooden Soup Bowl Girl ASMR?

One of the less traditional objects found in this Charles Pratt triple is a wooden soup bowl. Photo courtesy of June Dorsch ’27.

JD: No. Wait, I want to see this.

MW: Yes. So she hand-carved me this spoon. This is my most meaningful object because if you're stressed, you’ve just got to use this. Okay, you put the [beads] in the soup bowl. Then you take this spoon. *moves the beads around with the spoon* You just have to let yourself be tamed by this. It’s like a mini-Zen Garden and you’re supposed to put water in it but I have not yet done that. It’s so soothing. Thank you, Mabel. Honorable mention: Eva [Shimkus ’27] got me a salt lamp and I love that salt lamp. Everyone’s licked it.

ML: I’m a trinket hoarder. So there’s a lot to choose from. My freshman seminar was “Investigating Objects” and for our final project, we had to make a terracotta sculpture. So it’s a little message in a bottle. It’s sitting unceremoniously on my dresser.

A terracotta “message in a bottle” sculpture from Linck’s first-year seminar also adorns the room. Photo courtesy of June Dorsch ’27.

AJ: Yeah, I’m not that creative. So, probably just … the two picture frames. They’re just because they’re important people to me. My nice little reminder.

JD: So sweet. How would you describe your relationship?

MW: I hate them! No.

ML: We all get along pretty well.

AJ: We live well together.

MW: It could have been really terrible and it wasn’t.

ML: Yeah, I was nervous about it being horrific.

MW: Wow.

ML: No! Before we knew each other. It’s a pretty amicable situation.

MW: We know a lot of similar people. So it’s kind of nice.

JD: Do you think you would have been friends if you hadn’t lived together?

ML: I don’t know.

MW: I don’t think I would have met otherwise.

AJ: Maybe, because of recent developments, possibly? Because our circles are more Venn diagram now.

MW: If we didn’t live here, do you think you would’ve hung out [in] Pratt?

ML: Because I feel like this building has made our friendship groups happen.

AJ: Halfway through last semester I started hanging out here more. But I don’t think I would come [and] sit in Pratt if I didn’t live here. Unless I had friends who lived in Pratt.

MW: I don’t know. I don’t think we would have met otherwise. Just in terms of we all do very different things. Maybe I would have thought you were cool. But I feel like that’s like a lot of my friendships. I wouldn’t have met you unless we did this one niche thing together.

JD: Do you have pet peeves?

ML: With each other?

JD: Yeah.

MW: Airing of grievances. Probably my coughing.

ML: Yes.

AJ: I feel bad for last semester. I’d come in at 10:30 [p.m.] to grab something and then go back out and I wouldn’t realize like y’all were asleep so I’d barge in. And so I felt really bad about that. But now, y’all are up a little later.

MW: No. I’ve never noticed that.

ML: I’m numb to it. Probably just the coughing.

JD: Okay, lightning round. I’m just going to say things and you’re going to say who it is. Okay. Who’s the neatest?

MW: I think we’re all at the same level. I’m gonna be real.

ML: We’re all very neat.

AJ: Or it’s all confined to our spaces. Like my desk could probably be neater.

MW: Tie.

ML: We’re already failing at this.

JD: Who takes out the trash more?

MW: I’ve taken it out a couple times. Mabel! Also, they should note where to put the trash. They didn’t tell us.

AJ: You put it in the [trash] room.

MW: Until like a week ago we were going outside.

JD: Oh no. That’s dedication honestly.

MW: [It was] really Mabel.

ML: Sometimes I would take [it] to Seeley-Mudd.*everyone bursts out laughing*

MW: You thought that was our trash [room]?

ML: Next question.

JD: Who has the best style?

AJ: Mabel or Maddy.

MW: No. I was going to say you.

ML: Yeah. People have spoken.

MW: Majority rules.

JD: And who sleeps the most?

MW: Probably me this semester.

JD: Do you guys plan on living together next year?

AJ: No.

MW: We’re all living in different theme houses.

JD: What houses?

MW: Marsh [Arts House].

ML: [Spanish Language House in] Newport.

AJ: Sylvia Rivera [Community].  

JD: Okay, and final question: what’s the best thing about being roommates with each other?

AJ: Best thing? Seeing how creative y’all are. You do some really impressive things.

ML: I really enjoy the people that you hang out with.

AJ: Yeah, I second that. You’ll have some fun people over.

ML: I just enjoy taking part sometimes.

AJ: Being friends by association.

MW: We had a Five Nights of Freddy’s thing on the door. We appreciated it but everyone loved it.

ML: Collaborative decor.

MW: Or the Calico Critters shrine. Everyone loves it.

ML: [The lights in the shrine] used to turn on at 11 p.m. but now they don’t anymore. Now they are dead.

MW: It’s our gift to everyone.