By Casey Galante, BSA ’12, MARC ’13

For the nine months I lived at Baker Hall on campus, not only did I meet friends whom I am still close with today, but I was able to grow as an individual as I navigated the social and academic challenges of being a student and budding adult. And, oh, how I cherish each and every memory of living in that brick box.

What I noticed and experienced in Baker was an environment that allowed its residents to live, sleep, eat, explore, imagine, squabble, create, celebrate, commiserate and thrive. In was a blank canvas that allowed each of us to start our college experience in whichever format fit our personalities and interests.

Most colleges have dorms like Baker Hall, but I think there is something particularly special about Wentworth students and the collaborative, experiential type of learning we are exposed to in class that transfers over to the way we coexist.

I am an extrovert now and particularly enjoyed Baker Hall’s style of living, but I wasn’t always outgoing. I was shy in high school and came from a close-knit family, and honestly, I didn’t always know how to interact with people that I wasn’t related to. Cohabiting with 63 people on one floor—with communal bathrooms—you’re required to step out of your comfort zone a bit. But this is what college is for, right?
You can find people who accept you and your quirks, and all it takes is stepping outside of your room—unless of course, your room becomes the gathering spot for watching movies, doing  homework, playing video games, talking about nonsense, etc.

Some nights in the common room were spent finishing studio models; some consisted of dance parties and binging on buffalo chicken pizza from Il Mondos. One night, we found a way to bring in a TV to watch the Red Sox win a playoff game, another we built forts out of the furniture, and another we had to work our way around 100 assembled FedEx boxes sent down from our mischievous fifth-floor neighbors. Needless to say, in addition to our rigorous schoolwork, we always found a way to have fun, and unknowingly created a centerpiece for individualism and community, regardless of major, gender or personality.

Now that it’s been 11 years since I moved out of Baker, I realize that what I ultimately got out of that first year was a foundation for a positive college experience at Wentworth.

Casey Galante, BSA ’12, MARC ’12, is a marketing coordinator for Skanska and serves on the board of directors for the Wentworth Alumni Association.