Okay, I couldn’t wait on this one — this week, I write my love letter to Mertz Residence Hall.
I’m a pretty sentimental person, so naturally, I’ve already started to reflect on my time at Loyola in the first few days of senior year. One of my fondest memories is living in Mertz Hall as a first-year. The well-known high-rise towers over the rest of campus and has housed thousands of students through the decades.
It often surprises other students when I tell them I listed Mertz as my first choice for places to live as a first-year. Some of my fellow Phoenix staffers who didn’t live in Mertz have already given me grief about this column and how much I love the old-school residence hall.
But here’s why it was my preference: when I toured Mertz as a high school senior, the guides showed us a 17th-floor southeast corner room with views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. I was sold. When I signed up for Mertz, I assumed I’d be getting a room of the same caliber.
But I ended up in a fourth-floor northwest corner room with a view of the Campion Residence Hall dumpsters.
I like to joke about how it has quirks and its exterior looks like a prison, but I’m grateful I lived there — a lot of the friendships formed within those walls still stand today. You know who you are.
It’s hard to believe it was three years ago this month when I pulled into the driveway behind Mertz to unload all my belongings and start a new chapter in Chicago.
That first night, my parents left me in my dorm room to get everything set up. My roommate, who soon became a close friend of mine, wasn’t set to arrive until the next morning. I unloaded all my belongings, and remember the nervousness I felt about my new life far from home — 1,003 miles to be exact.
But that nervousness was soon gone after living in room 422 for a few days. I kept my door propped open the first week I lived there, and it was one of the best decisions I could’ve made — first-years, take notes for when you finally get to move into Loyola post-COVID. One of the first days, I distinctly remember one of my good friends — a stranger at the time — running through the open door to jump on my bed.
Before I knew it, I immersed myself in the late nights in friends’ dorm rooms, writing papers — but goofing off with friends more than working — in the fourth-floor study area, toughing it out in the community bathrooms and the hard trek up four flights of stairs with a full backpack after a long day of classes. For the non-Mertz dwellers, those living on the lower floors were shamed for riding the elevators because it would increase wait times for those on higher floors.
Mertz was the perfect place for me to start my tenure as a Loyola student. It taught me that sometimes the best places to live are those with the most character and the greatest social opportunities.
Mertz made me feel at home in no time — and no, I definitely didn’t shed a tear the night before I moved out.
While Mertz may be empty this year due to COVID-19, The Phoenix is still working hard to get you the coverage you need.
This week, find stories in news about how Loyola hired contract tracers and extra nurses to help with COVID-19 and a guide to living in your first Chicago apartment. In opinion, a letter to first-years across the country.
In A&E and sports, a playlist from The Phoenix’s staff and thoughts from dedicated Rambler fans on the postponement of fall sports.