The Open Door Policy

Does anyone else ever find themselves waking up in the middle of the night with an idea in their head? A blog post that you think might be good enough to actually sit down and write about. But it’s, like, three in the morning… who’s awake enough to write anything at that point, no matter the subject.

That happened to me the other night. I’m not sure if I was having a dream or what… so I really don’t know what brought all of this to mind. But I decided the best way to remind myself was to put “open door policy” as a reminder in my phone.

Now, I can’t be 100% sure on this, but I’m fairly certain that “open door policy” refers to something I miss from the college years. There’s a lot that I miss from the college years. But I really don’t think about college all that much these days. Because, if we’re being honest, it was 20 years ago.

And, just like that, I’m old.

Anyway, for those unaware, I attend a tiny little school called Bluefield College. I say tiny because the college, at the time (and maybe still today) was smaller than my high school. We’re talking fewer students and a smaller geographic area. But that’s not really important. What is important to know is that Bluefield is affiliated with the Baptist Church. So a lot of the rules that were in place fell back on a moral code of conduct that the church would approve of.

I’m not saying it was necessarily a bad thing. Definitely not as restrictive as I’ve heard Liberty University can be. And it was way easier than a place like a Bob Jones University, where I’m pretty sure you can’t make eye contact with the opposite sex without risking expulsion. Does that place still exist?

Anyway, when it came to visiting dorm rooms, we had what were called Open House hours. Those hours began at some point in the late afternoon and carried on until 10:00pm. There were three dormitories in those days. One was all women. One was all men. And the third, a co-ed dorm, was a Motel 6 looking building with dorm rooms that opened up to the outside, rather than having interior hallways with security doors that allowed access. Everyone had student ID cards with the magnetic strip on the back that you would swipe to get into the dorms. Obviously, the guys cards would get them into the guys’ dorm and the girls’ cards would get them into the girls’ dorm.

For my first four years (yes, I had a super senior year), I lived in Rish Hall, the men’s dorm. During open house hours, if you had a female guest coming to visit, they would arrive in the lobby and call your room to let you know they were there. At that point, the gentleman would go to the lobby and escort the young lady inside. Oh, after they signed into the log book. Gotta keep track of who’s coming and going.

Once a girl was safely escorted to a boy’s dorm room, they could hang out there as long as Open House hours were still in effect. The caveat was that the door had to remain open the entire time she was there. Of course, the rules were the same in the ladies’ dorm, Cruise Hall.

I didn’t date much in college, but I had a lot of girl friends who would come and hang out in my room. I don’t want to claim I was popular or anything, but I like to think I had a pretty good size circle of friends. So I didn’t necessarily have a girl coming specifically to my room every night. But I liked to keep my door open during Open House hours, just in case someone wanted to visit.

That’s when I instituted my open door policy. In those days, even outside of Open House hours, if my door was open, anyone was welcome to come in and hang out. I’m not saying I kept my door open for all waking hours. I was just as much an introvert then as I am now, so I still treasured my alone time. But it was nice having the option of having people drop in every now and then.

People would come by and we’d watch TV… we’d put on a movie… we’d play cards or a board game… we’d sit around and talk… or, if the Spirit moved us, we’d study. Those were some good times.

I guess, technically, visiting females were supposed to remain in the rooms of the people that signed them in. But that never stopped anyone from roaming up and down the hallway. Most of the RAs were okay with those sorts of shenanigans. It wasn’t until people abused the policy that they had to be strict about the rules. But that would last a few weeks before things relaxed once more.

During my 5th year, I lived down in the Motel 6 looking building, known at the time as New Hall. Since our doors opened to the outside, the open door policy wasn’t required. I mean, that’s just an invitation for bugs if you’ve gotta keep your door open during those long evenings. Instead, the policy in New Hall was to keep your blinds open. As long as the RA on duty could see into the room, all was well.

I guess during that year, my open door policy became the open blind policy. It meant that my door was unlocked and anyone was free to stroll on in. Pretty sure most people still knocked, though. We weren’t savages.

So, yeah… I do miss those days. I miss living in a place where all of the people I’m closest to live down the hall on the same floor or in the same building or just across a tiny campus. I miss being able to just leave my door open and have people understand that this guy might like a little company. I miss movie nights where we’d pack as many college students as possible into one tiny dorm room while we gathered around my tiny 13″ TV/VCR combo. Most of all, I miss a lot of those friends that I just haven’t seen or spoken to very often in the last 20 years.

2 thoughts on “The Open Door Policy

  1. I miss those days too. It took me until my 2nd year to figure out that bringing a door stop with me to school was the key to meeting people on my floor and shouting at people who walked by. It was a lot of fun.

    Liked by 1 person

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