Bored? Check what’s in your ceilings

Freshmen Weijia Zhang (left) and Yihong Wang study in their Maple Hall room.

Natasha Bazika

Freshmen Weijia Zhang (left) and Yihong Wang study in their Maple Hall room.

Catherine Dawson, Contributing Writer

Being a freshman and moving into college can be an experience.

The University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown orientation leaders have a whole week of events planned for the freshmen to become acquainted with fellow students and the campus.

But what do the students do when they have time to themselves?

One answer is check their dorm room ceilings. It is common at UPJ for freshmen to check their ceilings for time capsules – items or notes left by former occupants.

When freshmen get to Johnstown, word is somehow spread that everyone should check their ceilings to see whether past residents left anything.

The objects they find include notes, alcohol bottles and drug paraphernalia.

Freshmen Ricardo Mendez, Kayla Stallworth and Latasha Jenkins of Laurel Hall checked Stallworth’s and Jenkins’ ceiling.

Mendez said he was in Stallworth’s and Jenkins’ room when they decided to take a look. Mendez climbed on Stallworth’s bed and lifted a ceiling tile.

“At first, we didn’t see (anything.) (Mendez) was lifting up the (ceiling tile) and was about to put it back down when I (said), ‘Wait, what’s that?’” Stallworth said.

Mendez pulled the objects down.

“I found three glass alcohol bottles, a bowl and a pipe,” Mendez said.

A bowl is a glass pipe that can be used to smoke marijuana. Mendez said he was shocked that everything was still up there from past years.

His explanation for people leaving things in the ceiling had to do with getting in trouble. He said that perhaps past residents didn’t want to be caught throwing away empty alcohol bottles.

Mendez said that people may have put objects like what he found in the ceiling to avoid getting in trouble with resident assistants.

He told the resident assistant on duty that night, junior Andrew Downey, about what he found to avoid getting in trouble for having come across illegal objects.

Downey said he had explained the protocol for a situation like this.

“Don’t touch it. Call the (Area Coordinator). Call campus police.”

When campus police arrive, they remove the paraphernalia. No charges or reprimands are placed because the police have no way of knowing who put the items there.

Sophomore Julia Adams, Living/Learning Center resident, said she is friends with someone who she said had placed objects in the ceiling of his freshman dorm room.

“He put something in the ceiling just to get a laugh out of it and to leave something for the freshmen to have something to look forward to.

It’s become like a time capsule.

You leave something in the ceiling so that people next year can see what you did, like how your year went and then, when it’s time, they can leave something about their year for next year’s freshmen,” Adams said.

Adams did not leave anything in her ceiling, but said she wishes she would have. She said that it would not have been alcohol bottles or any type of illegal object, but a note.

The note could include advice on ways of staying out of trouble or even ways to find humor, Adams said.