Those of us studying remotely don’t know all that much about on-campus housing, but we do know one thing: all singles are not created equal. I took it upon myself to interview one man, one myth, one legend who is doing the unthinkable: living in the AD Bullseye all by his lonesome. In his own words, “Living in the Bullseye… is the most beautiful mess I have ever had to deal with.”
Bijan Khaghani was not supposed to live in the Bullseye. Typically, the brothers of Alpha Delta Phi (ADs) decide the three unlucky souls in a kind of informal, “who do you think would survive this” kind of way. As many rising sophomores and juniors rushed in the spring, there was a bounty of boys to choose from. However, when the news came that not all students would return to campus, many of these fellas deferred. And, there was a threat: some rogue EDMs joked to Bijan that they would nab the coveted Bullseye in the lottery. He only had one choice. He had to take one for the team (his brothers) and live there by himself for the semester.
As he’d been there before, Bijan had many expectations coming in. For example, he thought the room was cleaned between academic years (it is not). “The moment I stepped in,” he said, was “the moment I came back to reality.” He described the trash cans overflowing with beer cans from pre-Covid times, the floor being sticky, and his dad who accompanied him remarking, “You live in a trashhouse.” Of the three beds, one was broken. The desks were all “mushed” in different ways. “If a normal student came to live here… I think they would cry,” said Bijan cheerfully.
The first few nights in his new home were nothing short of a journey. On the first night, Bijan got locked out without his phone or keys. No one else had moved into Old Kenyon yet, so he did what any of us would do… throw rocks at McBride for an hour in the darkness. Needless to say, not much sleep was had that first night.
Though relieved to be let back into the room the following day, Bijan didn’t realize what was yet to come. That night, as he exited his megabed, he found himself standing in several inches of water. For the first time (in any current AD’s knowledge), the Bullseye flooded. The source turned out to be the window; it seems that after all the room has been through, it had finally had enough.
“I feel like every day something breaks,” Bijan said, noting that one of the light fixtures is broken, dangling threateningly from the ceiling. It seemed to be the room’s natural course, given the years of abuse it has endured. Bijan was honored to witness this, however: “I’m lucky enough to be a part of that journey that the Bullseye is going through.” Despite the “trashhouse” vibes that his father described on move-in day, Bijan is “reluctant to ever have to change.”
However, as many students on-campus understand, living alone can be an isolating experience. In our interview, Bijan asked me if I was familiar with Frozen (2013). When I said yes (obviously), he replied, “Yeah I relate with Elsa. Y’know. A kingdom of isolation.” And it looks like he’s the queen.
When I asked Bijan what he wanted the campus to know about his experience, he paused for a moment. “I want them to know… you have a friend in the Bullseye.” Though the room certainly has a reputation of where “people do no good things,” Bijan maintained that he is “a good person,” and that though the Bullseye will not be home to any parties this semester, that he enjoys putting on light shows for those in South Quad.
Ultimately, the Bullseye is more than just a party space for Bijan. It’s where he found many of his friends and was accepted wholeheartedly for who he was. It is a reminder of the community he made at Kenyon, even though many of the upperclassmen ADs are currently off campus. However, the space means something to more than just the ADs; “ADs are not owed the space,” Bijan acknowledged, “We have it because of things that exist… I believe we could still be the ADs without it.” And right now, many of the ADs are without it. But never fear, Bijan will be the dilapidated room’s guardian until we all return, someday.