Hidden Messages Found in Muse Hall

Ten years ago, a student named Laura Coyner left a message hidden underneath a tile in her dorm room, which is now being shared.

Sticky note

Fortunately, the advice that the former RAs left for her reassured her that the job was worthwhile and she could do it.

By Montasia Braxton | mbraxton4@radford.edu

In February 2011, a Residential Assistant (RA) in Muse Hall left a note hidden beneath a broken floor tile in her dorm room.

Laura Waller, now Laura Coyner, left her yahoo email and ended the note with the popular abbreviation “TTYL.”

Back then, Coyner was majoring in interior design and spent her last three years at Radford as a Muse RA. 

[epq-quote align=”align-left”]Coyner said that the next year she realized her friend, Sarah Ryberg, was in the room she’d left her hidden note in.[/epq-quote]

Coyner said that the next year she realized her friend, Sarah Ryberg, was in the room she’d left her hidden note in. The girls, who are still friends today, got together and left another note.

Ryberg was an elementary education major, and she graduated in 2013. 

Sticky note

According to her, the small community helped her feel comfortable enough to step outside of her comfort zone and apply for leadership positions, like being a RA.

“I lived in Muse three out of my four years here,” said Ryberg, “All of my best friends, I met in Muse because it was the biggest place on campus.”

Coyner had similar feelings.

“The whole RA staff was close-knit, we went through a lot together, and we got very close, very fast,” said Coyner.

Ryberg was a bridesmaid at Coyner’s wedding in 2013, and Ryberg was given a plaque for her participation and friendship. 

[epq-quote align=”align-right”]Ryberg was a bridesmaid at Coyner’s wedding in 2013, and Ryberg was given a plaque for her participation and friendship. [/epq-quote]

Now, ten years later, the same floor tile is still being tripped over, and RAs are still leaving notes.

This semester, sophomore nursing major Ashley Nesmith came across the messages when she lifted her bare foot up off the floor, and the entire floor tile was attached to it.

Nesmith immediately read them all and shared the find with the fellow RAs in the 13-story building through a group chat. 

Sticky note

There were six messages in total when she found it.

According to Nesmith, her mom convinced her to leave her own note and “continue on the legacy.” 

She agreed, but she has decided to wait until the end of the semester so she can reflect on her first year as being an RA.

[epq-quote align=”align-left”]According to Nesmith, her mom convinced her to leave her own note and “continue on the legacy.” [/epq-quote]

“I was really confused and happy when I found it,” said Nesmith, “It was something like a national treasure.”

A former Muse Hall RA named James Nugent, who is now a choir teacher at Salem High School, also left a note. 

In his hidden message from March of 2016, he said he was quitting his job as an RA to focus more on his classes, but he still left advice to the future RAs he anticipated would read the note.

“Love your residents, and they’ll love you back,” wrote Nugent, “Stay positive and understand they’re just kids.”

[epq-quote align=”align-right”]Nugent said that he had completely forgotten about the notes underneath the floor tile and that it brought him back to being an RA because he loved the experience.[/epq-quote]

Nugent said that he had completely forgotten about the notes underneath the floor tile and that it brought him back to being an RA because he loved the experience. He said that he loved being that person someone could come to talk to as well as meeting new people and making connections.

“I don’t think we ever expected anyone to ever find it, so the fact that people are leaving notes back is really cool,” said Ryberg.

Nesmith said that at the time she found the notes she was very stressed between being a student and a RA. Fortunately, the advice that the former RAs left for her reassured her that the job was worthwhile and she could do it.

“Sometimes being a RA can be mentally exhausting, but [the notes] really made me feel like I wasn’t the only one,” Nesmith said.

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