There are so many different residence hall experiences, even on the same campus. New dorms are constantly erected, old ones renovated–for us, freshman room assignments came down to the luck of the draw (unless you applied to live in a program house). I’m no stranger to dormitory living, but here are the major things I have to say about living on campus.
My roommate and I have one of the bigger doubles in the building, but even so, it’s close quarters for two people. However, the room isn’t too close for comfort, we get along exceedingly well, and we’re on different (for the most part) schedules. It also helps that we have two closets of notable size, and there’s plenty of space to store all of our stuff.
The room itself, though, isn’t the most important part of living in a dorm. The overarching mood of our building is welcoming, which is essential as it’s a four-class hall. Living with upperclassmen has more benefits than drawbacks, in my opinion. While it’s sometimes hard to meet other freshmen, it’s much quieter than some of the all-freshmen dorms on campus. Additionally, a lot of the older students are genuinely interested in giving advice, good advice, to freshmen. Sometimes I think it’d be cool to live in a really social dorm (most of the residents here keep to themselves), but I need peace and quiet more often than not. Our building also had its own calendar of orientation events, including midnight pancakes and a Rocky Horror Picture Show viewing, so it was nice to always have something to go to, especially when I didn’t feel like going to another generic ice-breaker-laden event.
The bathroom situation is less than ideal, but I knew that communal bathrooms suck before I got here thanks to experiences at summer intensives. They’re plenty clean (most of the time), but it’s an extremely tight squeeze. I have to wedge myself into most of the stalls, and the showers are really narrow as well. The co-ed dilemma really isn’t a dilemma at all, mostly because I’ve almost never been to the bathroom while somebody else was there. At any given time, there’s only one person in the shower because everyone’s schedule is so different. Even so, sharing the bathroom with the opposite gender really isn’t a problem at all.
All of the dorm’s amenities are very convenient. The kitchenette is right next to our room, laundry is in the basement, and there’s a dining hall downstairs for those lazy nights. The location is also, by far, the best option for freshmen. It’s close to the community center, other dorms, and all of my classes. It’s still a lot of walking, but it’s relatively easy to get anywhere. Since there’s only one elevator, I have a little bit of a hike to get up to my room, but if it’ll help me ward off the Freshman 15, I’ll live with it.
Overall, I like living in a dorm. Friends are just a few steps away, everything you need is within walking distance, and you still have less responsibility than you would have living in a house or apartment. Being around so many of your peers is really cool, but it’s easy to get valuable alone time as well. Plus, how often am I gonna live somewhere that’s directly above hot, ready-to-consume food?