HGI isn't prison… It's just where Mr. Liang Lives

For those living under a rock, Lawrenceville commandeered a nearby Hilton Garden Inn, opening its first co-ed dorm in order to encourage social distancing measures.

For those living under a rock, Lawrenceville commandeered a nearby Hilton Garden Inn, opening its first co-ed dorm in order to encourage social distancing measures. A few weeks ago, the House held an introductory meeting where the Heads of House introduced themselves. Mr. Wilder proclaimed that he teaches Dance, Ms. Stock explained her role in athletics, and then Mr. Liang deadpanned, “Hi, I’m Mr. Liang. I just live here. In the hotel.” Sure enough, Mr. Liang does not teach any classes or participate in any Lawrenceville activities besides, you know, living in the hotel. Naturally, this prompts a vital question from Lawrenceville’s new Rumor Regulation Taskforce: What does Mr. Liang do?

The short answer is that Mr. Liang attends law school, but on Zoom, and gets paid to live with a bunch of teenagers in between 10-hour stints at his computer. However, that overview ignores the details of Mr. Liang’s daily class routine, which is reminiscent of the average Lawrenceville student’s. Given his schedule, maybe he really is a III Former.

Each day, while supervising the lobby, Mr. Liang erects a square-shaped, nine-chair barricade around himself. He pushes his chair against the wall and builds a fence of three chairs on each side around him in hopes of communicating, ‘get away from me.’ Because he claims to be in law school, he also printed out a large “IN CLASS” sign and taped it to one of his makeshift borders at the start of the term. Whatever Mr. Liang hoped to achieve, it clearly hasn’t worked. Apparently, Lawrentians read “IN CLASS” as an invitation to intrude.

For example, Associate Editor Grayson Miller ’21 regularly disregards the sign—“he’s definitely the biggest repeat offender,” Mr. Liang confirmed. Beyond interrupting Mr. Liang’s classes, Grayson often attempts to sneak into the Zoom frame, so he can see what’s happening on the computer. Worst of all, he takes his time doing it. Mr. Liang elaborated: “I don’t know why he thinks moving slowly makes it more acceptable…it just means he’s distracting me for a longer period of time.” Unfortunately, as anyone who has been interrupted during virtual consult knows, Grayson isn’t the only culprit, and Mr. Liang’s classmates are often left wondering why he’s gesticulating off-screen instead of participating in his breakout rooms. The poor guy can barely go to a class without someone yelling at him, ignoring his attempts to wave them off, and then yelling at him again.

While his Zoom-class quality might be diminished, HGI introduces other, interdisciplinary elements into Mr. Liang’s law school experience. Recently, he learned that “teenage boys don’t know what a trash bag is” after he ordered the HGI delinquents to put their waste in trash bags before getting rid of it; they responded by dispensing their waste without a trash bag anyways. “They falsely claim that any bag with trash in it is, in fact, a trash bag. Law school did not prepare me for this,” he said. Mr. Liang, developing valuable leadership skills, retaliated by removing the dumpster.

Mr. Liang also underwent experiential leadership training a couple Saturdays ago when he repeatedly implored several students to remain six feet apart through the virtual social distancing dance, during which, yes, people—and by people I mean girls—were unironically dancing. He was only further confused when one of the girls informed him that she was “going to tell [her] therapist” about him, and he managed to maintain a straight, unemotive face while responding “Ok?” He’s learned to answer his charges’ questions efficiently, too, as he dutifully explains the bus schedule and answers the same questions each and every day, only to watch kids miss the shuttle regardless. Mr. Liang might be missing out on law classes, but he’s compensated with indispensable, real-life lessons—like the tendency of teenage girls to trigger ant infestations—at HGI. Oh, and with money.

After so many classes in their bedrooms, Lawrentians are beginning to display the profound physical effects of Zoom. Every day, I’m subjected to seeing eye bags and bad haircuts and questionable fashion choices which scream A) “don’t approach me” and B) “I got way too used to online classes and sweatpants.” Sadly, the same issue appears to plague Mr. Liang. He actually has better fashion sensibilities than most students, and his eye bags aren’t pronounced, but his haircut? It’s the logical end of taking quarantine way too far: A quasi-mullet. Or rather, it was. Thankfully, Mr. Liang chose to visit the barber a week ago. Perhaps the students have something to learn from Mr. Liang as well.

No one really knows how Mr. Liang feels about HGI. Does he like it? Hate it? Is he afraid of the ants, and does he spend half his time frantically killing them with Lysol? We don’t know. It’s true the students get in the way of his classes and, on one occasion, even convinced him to eat a turkey sandwich ill-advisedly slathered in Barbeque sauce. But, they also add so much to his life; they beg him to unlock their rooms, don’t throw out their trash and attract ants, and teach him how to deal with genuine stupidity. So, hopefully, he likes it. And hopefully, he’s not failing law school because of the students, assuming he’s actually attending law school. Poor Mr. Liang. We’re sorry. Kinda.

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