Former students take on college dorms


For many students matriculating into the college of their choice, dorm life is imminent. While the prospect of sharing space with a roommate and living in a residence hall with their peers excites most students, many feel nervous. They are unsure about whether they will like their roommate or their dorm, and if they will like residential life at all.

   As Eastern students have gone on to attend Ivy League universities and state schools alike, many went into the process of choosing a dorm with a general idea of what they wanted in their living space. Some had specific stipulations in mind, while others simply looked for a dorm that offered a strong sense of community and an accessible social sphere.

   Primo Davis, a 2018 Eastern graduate and freshman at Montclair State University, explained that he mainly searched for non-communal bathrooms.

   “I’d rather share a bathroom with my suitemates than with the entire floor. It’s the difference between sharing with three people or twenty.”

     Hayley Beluch, a freshman at Kenyon College and a 2018 Eastern graduate, didn’t know what to look for when choosing a dorm. She realized that of all the things she should have been worried about when moving into college, dorm preference should not have been one of them.

  “Since Kenyon is so small, I knew the college would work to put people where they belonged,” she explained. “Maybe I was being too blindly trustful, but it worked out for me.  I love my dorm.”

   Meanwhile, Ashwin Ramesh, a 2017 Eastern graduate and sophomore at the University of California, Berkeley, said his main concern was having enough space and the amenities the dorm offered. He offered advice to students who may be struggling with finding a dorm that’s the right fit for them.

   “If making friends is something you may traditionally struggle a bit with, then I would definitely recommend going for a traditional dorm setup,” Ramesh said. “Normal dorms are super conducive to people meeting each other and becoming friends, whereas with suites, it’s a lot more on you as a person to reach out to others and seek out ways to make friends through clubs and classes.”

   Davis said that his best tip would be to find a roommate that is easy to get along with.

   “You’re stuck with them for an entire year. I’ve changed roommates already and I’ve been here a month,” he recalled.

   Beluch said her best advice would be not to stress out about it too much.

   “It’s all about figuring out the features that are most attractive to you and prioritizing them,” she added.

   While it can be hard to adjust to life without parents and the idea of having to become independent, it can be even harder on students to make friends with peers who live in their dorms. Horror stories of horrible roommates can become real-life nightmares for many, and students cross their fingers, hoping that they find friendly faces on their floors.

   Crystal Osuji, a 2018 Eastern graduate and freshman at Temple University, said she found it hard to make friends with people simply by just living in the dorms. She also recalled that it wasn’t easy to adjust to a new lifestyle in close quarters with others.

   “Adjusting to dorm life was kind of hard, you have to realize a lot of people are raised differently than you, so a lot of people do different things than you would do normally,” Osuji explained.

   Ramesh, who chose suite-style boarding, explained that making friends was a bit tough at first.

   “People were a lot more closed off in their space than traditional dorm floors where seemingly everyone has their door open. I still met a bunch of great people, it was just a little tougher to do so,” he said.

   Beluch, meanwhile, had a better experience than she could have imagined in making friends with people in her dorm. She explained that Kenyon has each student fill out a personality questionnaire, and pair them with dorms that match their personalities. Hayley was placed in Gund Hall, known to many as the “miscellaneous nerd dorm” — and she couldn’t be happier with where she ended up.

   “At first, a lot of us were timid, but now Upper Gund is known campus wide as a cult,” she said. “Our camaraderie is insane…I’m super lucky.  I was thrown into this dorm, and because of it, I’ve made a bunch of friends that are always there for me. A lot of the other dorms are super close, but we’ve earned the reputation as the closest knit dorm this campus has.”

   Although college admissions season can be stressful, finding a roommate and a living arrangement that is right for every unique student shouldn’t be. Options are not limited to dorm life, as many students make off-campus living arrangements and even commute to and from school as a more cost-effective solution to housing. Regardless of what decisions students make, with growing up and going to college comes a newfound sense of independence. And while adjusting to that new lifestyle may be scary at first, students who choose dorms should not be worried in the least.

    “The biggest thing is to just respect other people’s spaces and to learn what kind of environments best suit your productivity and well-being,” Ramesh said. “As time goes on and you start to figure that out, dorm life will be a breeze and a ton of fun.”