NYU Dormitory Confidential!

 Location East 20s
Rent $0 (exchange for work)
Square feet 270 (studio with kitchen in NYU dorm)

Occupant Paul Hughes (resident assistant, 26th Street NYU dorm; graduate student, Higher Education Administration)

Here we are in the dorm. I thought it had that 1960s university populist feel—pale wood furniture, orange doors—but you say it was built in the 1980s. Does anything exciting happen here? Graduate students are focused on their studies. When I was at Stonehill College I had a resident who was throwing things.

The male gaze: Paul Hughes relaxing in his studio
photo: Jay Muhlin
The male gaze: Paul Hughes relaxing in his studio

But that was then. [Yawn] Your résumé said you "ensured a safe and conducive academic living environment for 250 underclassmen." Being a resident assistant is your line of work. So what is an RA's day like? I wake up, make a pot of coffee. I'm a huge Katie Couric fan. But when the sun comes up, the reflection really shines up the room and I can't watch Katie. She's so sincere, and whenever she does a piece, she really has empathy for the people. Then when her husband passed away a few years ago, I felt so bad.

After Katie, I go to work at Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Student Services. Did you see the triangle on my door? If students have issues about coming out, the sticker means there's a safe place to go and talk. What's unique about NYU, it's in the heart of the Village . . .

This dorm is practically in the East River! And it's full of dental students. I heard the Palladium in Union Square is the most luxurious. Living in a dorm is not cheap—a studio like this is $16,000 for two semesters. Though you get free utilities, cable, and furniture, however pale and blond. I saw the students' dorm reviews on the Washington Square News Web site. [I read a few aloud.] One student didn't like her lamp. You must have duties as an RA. I have a key in case someone is locked out. We had an Oscar social. We got snacks and stuff. Students can get discounts to see the shows. I love love live theater. I recently went to see Take Me Out. I found myself laughing out loud. I saw Rent.

I never saw Rent. Now I'm embarrassed to go, so much time has passed. What do you do in your room at night? I like to listen to different types of music. I try to be as open-minded as I can to new things, new foods. I went to a small Catholic liberal arts college. How I ever survived that experience! I was not out then. After graduation I was a volunteer for the Holy Cross Association. It has four pillars we live by—spirit, service, simple lifestyle, community . . .

I see a quote written here on this picture. "As a deep peace filled the empty space between us, he spoke the most healing words I had ever heard . . . " You're studying administration. The word administer comes from ministering. Did you want to be a priest? When I was going into college, I thought becoming a priest was a way to keep from coming out to my family.

How old-fashioned! I also thought about a master's of social work. I have a passion for helping people, finding answers to their life questions. I think I'll always be working with students. They have so much energy and enthusiasm. They keep me motivated and keep me going. I can't imagine a greater population of people. Sometimes when I talk, I ramble. I have to be reined in.

So does anything exciting happen here? I've had friends come and stay and we had a few laughs.

You have some magazines in that green rubber tub. I have a subscription to Men's Health. Then I get the Abercrombie & Fitch catalog. Strictly for the photos. Look. People say it's kind of racy. My favorite of all time was this woman naked on a horse. It was the funniest photo.

 
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