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The Graduate Hotel’s Unexpected Guests

The smell of espresso from the coffee shop, Cabin 82, pours into the lobby when you enter the Graduate.

Students fell head over heels for the Graduate when it opened last fall. And there’s lots to love, too.

The outdoor seating on the North Lamar side. The bar right inside the hotel and one on the roof overlooking an incredible rooftop view of the Oxford Square. The numerous tables and couches in the lobby also attract students to this hotel.

The Graduate Hotel has become the hub for all study and hangout sessions for University of Mississippi students in Oxford, Mississippi.

Since the hotel’s opening day in the fall of 2015, the Graduate is now much more than a boutique hotel.

Located on the corner of North Lamar and Jefferson Street, students have been taking advantage of the trendy hotel close to Ole Miss’ campus.

The hotel’s website reads: “Welcome back to the glory days of college life, with a few of the new comforts you probably didn’t have the first time around.”

One Ole Miss freshman who frequents here to cram for exams, get coffee with friends, and meet for study groups helped bring to light why the Graduate has become such a student hotspot.

Dotsie Stevens, 19, studies often at the hotel. Once even staying until sunrise, she reflects on her thoughts of why the hotel was not intended to be a student mecca.

“They’ve opened their doors to us in multiple ways,” said Stevens. “We take over the lobby.”

She talked about her midterms and how the Graduate was her saving grace. Stevens received a protein bar, ‘happy midterms’ notes and a comfortable place to set up camp and study.

She said, “The quirkiness of the lobby shows that quintessential little part of what Faulkner said, ‘to understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi.’ And he meant Oxford.”

The Graduate’s pink floors, assortment of chairs and sofas and tables, eccentric artwork all over the walls and random trinkets everywhere add to the unique atmosphere of the Square hotel.

Not only is the Graduate pretty. It is also welcoming to any and all, including Stevens and her friends.

“Instead of making us feel like a nuisance, we feel part of the community, even though it’s our home for only part of the year and their home for the entire year,” Stevens said.

The hotel has brought so many people to the town. Oxford’s tourism industry has received a great boost since the Graduate’s opening.

Unexpected is how the hotel has been the craze for students.

Sometimes students outnumber guests, and at other times, at any hour of the day or week, they form a subculture within a hotel lobby, Dotsie Stevens included.

She never thought the management would allow them to encamp like this.

“I think that, really, the students saw this welcoming and inviting lobby, and just decided to set up and stay,” Stevens said.

Anne-Watkins Tyson is a journalism student at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. For questions or comments, email callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com.

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