10 Places at American University to Cry Your Heart Out

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Normally, when you’re stressed or frustrated or upset to the point of tears, you can just retreat to your room to cry. Unfortunately, when it comes to living in a dorm, that’s not always possible. But college students are nothing if not resourceful, so we find our workarounds.

Check out these 10 places at American University that will let you cry your finals fears away.

1. Your room

Lily Coltoff

The obvious choice. Your room at college is your own private space. It’s nowhere near the same as your room at home, but at least you have a bed to lay on and a pillow to bury your face in. The only problems are thin walls and roommates. The thin walls of Anderson (and basically every other residence hall) don’t absorb much sound. My next door neighbor and best friend heard me every time I sneezed. The other issue is roommates. Love them or hate them, chances are you don’t always want them around when you’re crying. “I’d usually just stay in my dorm unless my roommate was there. Then I’d go hide somewhere,” said freshman Kelly Thompson.

2. A friend’s room

Lily Coltoff

It’s still a room—maybe not your own, but it’s a room—and chances are you feel pretty comfortable there. From experience, I can say that this one is much better if you’re in search of comfort, but then again, I was also crying from roommate drama… That aside, a friend’s room can be a really great place if you need to let it all out but also need some support. Hugs help, my dears. Hugs really do help.

3. The bathroom

You have the privacy of the stalls, where no one will question the sounds they hear. You can use the sink to rinse your face afterwards. You have the shower, where no one will see and probably no one will hear. “I encounter most people crying in the bathroom,” freshman Zak Marsh said.

4. Study lounge

Lily Coltoff

The lounges in residence halls are either always super busy or completely empty—there is no in between. Regardless, they’re there for you to hang out and do work. And with socialization and academics always comes drama. When you’re up until 3 a.m. writing your essay, you’ll probably end up crying there.

5. Kay Chapel

“No one will judge you for crying in Kay,” said sophomore Jackson Pincus. It’s sacred, beautiful and normally almost entirely empty. It’s a good place to sit and reflect, and if you’re religious, a good place to pray. Plus, there’s literally always some type of food in Kay. Downstairs there’s a Keurig that makes hot chocolate. So if worst comes to worst you can cuddle on a couch in the lounge and chill.

6. The Amphitheater

The Amphitheater at American University

Jarryd Delaney

“I like to go to the Amphitheatre because no one is ever there,” said freshman Katie Aylesworth. A sad but true fact, considering that the Amphitheatre is gorgeous, but helpful all the same for those who like to find a quiet place to sit and reflect in peace. It’s more public than other places. Tucked away off of main campus, it makes it a nice, more secluded spot to cry those ugly tears.

7. The Library

Lily Coltoff

Come on, really? This is the obvious choice. In the words of sophomore Will Peters, “Oh, please. The library.” It’s a place of work, and therefore a place of pain. Whether it’s someone stressing over not being able to find the book they’re looking for among the one million plus volumes on campus or a late-night essay writer struggling to get to that five-page minimum cap, there’s bound to be some tears.

8. The fountain outside of Kreeger

It’s not a well-known or popular spot, which makes it all that much better for when you need some time to yourself. “I like to go there when it’s warm,” Marsh says, “The moving water hides my sobs, and it’s hidden from Main Campus.” You can also hit up the fountain at Katzen and the Koi Pond by Roper, but only late at night.

9. The Quad

American University Quad

Lily Coltoff

During the day, and especially when the weather is nice, the quad is bustling. But once night falls, it looks abandoned. “I [like to] go on a walk at night around the quad,” says Peters. “It’s dark, so people can’t see I’m actually crying, and walking itself is a very calming activity for me.” As someone who loves both crying in peace and pacing around a lot, I can vouch for this method.

10. Pretty much anywhere and everywhere

I’ve cried in so many places on campus. I’ve cried in ASAC, the POD, AU Central, the lecture rooms in Ward, in Starbucks. I’ve cried while waiting for the shuttle, while walking back to campus, while coming back from meetings. I’ve even cried in virtual spaces, like while making my schedule or picking housing. But in the end, it’s all worth it. Crying is good for you—it’s healthy. It’s sign of strength and I wouldn’t have it any other way. But should you face extreme emotional distress, remember that people at Counseling Center, the Wellness Center and the Kay Spiritual Life Center can talk to you about whatever you’re going through and get you the help you need.

Lily is a sophomore Communication Studies major/Public Health minor at American University D.C. She is passionate about reading, science, foreign languages, dogs, and the Oxford comma. Yes, she is 4’4” and no, she is not growing any taller – thank you very much for asking.

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