From Visitor to Team Member: My Story with the Hive

By: The Hive Team

My story at the Hive starts three years ago, the spring semester of my first year at Scripps College. To this day, I can’t remember who or what introduced me to the Hive, but I remember embarking on the journey from the back halls of Toll to Seventh Street purely enticed by curiosity. I had heard through the grapevine that the Hive was a haven for “arts and crafts,” which appealed to a side of me that had been thoroughly ignored since going to college.

The gray shell of the Hive does not do justice to the vibrancy and warmth that is insulated within. Immediately upon walking in, I was enamored by the eclectic furniture, low lighting, roller-carts FULL of different art supplies, and the wooden walls that create a home-y cabin-like feel. It was such a stark contrast to the sterile classrooms that I am used to, the deafening silence of the library, or the populated cafes around campus. The Hive, for a lack of a better term, had its own vibe. It was a space where people did not have to socially perform because this space seemed to be defined by those who inhabited it, and not pre-disposed to any one activity, kind of sociability, or productivity.

I loved that. I could just exist without being asked “what’s wrong” because of my RBF or quietness. I did not feel pressured to have a purpose while at the Hive, nothing needed to be checked off a to-do list, nothing needed to be produced, and I did not have to really know what I was even going to do there BEFORE getting there. The Hive seemed to be a place where I could just be present. All moving parts in my life could slow down and come in focus again. I could pick and choose what I wanted to address in my life, beyond just school, and run with it. The Hive was more than just a place to foster creativity, it was a space that challenged the hyper-competitive, hyper-academic, hyper-hyperness of what it may mean to be a student, here, at The Claremont Colleges.

This is not a reflection to bash the academic and social culture here at The Claremont Colleges. That can be left for each person to reflect on. But the Hive offered something different, and I really appreciated it.

The Hive offered a space for me to take refuge after an especially traumatic event in my life. I no longer felt myself in my dorm room, yet all spaces outside of my room felt too loud and claustrophobic for me to be at ease. The Hive was my getaway. I did my homework here, I did my studying here, I did some of my eating here, I did my healing here. I was able to be as introspective as I wanted to be without having to justify myself. I was able to translate the complicated bodily and emotional reactions into something tangible. I do not know what it was exactly that made me feel safe at the Hive, I am still trying to figure it out. But I’m grateful that I had a space like this to help me when I did not even know what I needed to begin helping myself.

Two and a half years after my first visit to the Hive, and countless restorative visits in the meantime, I am now proud and happy to say, I am a Hive student worker! Being part of a team that invests so much time, energy, and thought into literally every detail of the space is inspiring.

A team motivated by creativity, community, collective action, and friendship. I am so grateful to be a part of conversations that center around how to make a communal space a personalized experience for each guest of the Hive, how the Hive can be a thought leader in today’s evolving socio-political culture, and how human-centered design (HCD) can be integrated into our everyday lives. What I thought was just some “cozy” feeling of the Hive, was actually an intricate process of trial and error rooted in ideas and concepts of HCD! I have developed a deep interest in the study area since.

Working at the Hive has been one of the most challenging and gratifying experiences of my college career. It has taught me that there are ALWAYS things to learn and unlearn. Being a student for 90% of my life has put up so many boundaries to imaginative thinking that I did not even realize until working at the Hive. I was so deathly afraid of trying something new or doing something without SOME sort of direction for fear of getting it wrong. At the Hive, I’ve learned that there is beauty in diving straight into the unknown, that there is no better time to start something new than the present, and that having empathy toward others and yourself is key.

I am so fortunate to have seen and experienced two sides of the Hive. It’s really a special place that has something to offer everyone. Hopefully you’ll stop by sometime if you haven’t already! There are workshops if you need a reason to stop by. There are comfy couches and relaxing nooks if you need a break from the hullabaloo of campus. And there are arts and crafts if you want to switch hats and explore something new (or tap into an old habit).

Whatever your reason, the Hive is here for you and for everyone. And whenever you’re ready, the Hive team is ready to welcome you in!

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