Dorm life was once described to me as “the best experience you’ll
never want to repeat.” I found that to be mostly true. Though the
dorms get a bad rap, I quickly came to realize that participating
in dorm life can be an enriching experience.
My time living on the fifth floor of Carlton Gibson Hall was one
of genuine comradery, new independence, and many memorable
experiences. Because of my freshman year dorm adventures, I learned
to approach friendships openly, the importance of study buddies, and
how to live without parents (and their credit cards).
Initially, I felt apprehensive about going in without knowing anyone.
From some sly Facebook stalking I learned that my roommate was
from New Hampshire, went to a high school with a name that I couldn’t
pronounce, and worked at a taco restaurant. With the email address of
a pre-teen girl and “glowsticks” listed as one of her interests, I was a
little skeptical about our upcoming nine-month co-habitation. Willing
to give it a chance, and not actually having a choice, I accepted her friend
request. After a few initially awkward messages, I discovered that she
already had a printer, mini-fridge, and coffee maker. Score! I barely had
to bring anything.
Moving in was easier than I thought it would be. I arrived first and
claimed the side with the bigger closet and view of the quad. When
my roommate got there, I found that she was as nice in person as she
was on Facebook. And she brought the fridge. Getting all of our stuff
unpacked only took a few hours, which gave us time to go to lovin’cup
with our families. After my first night in a dorm room, it was time to
say goodbye to my parents and sister. Through the next few days my
roommate and I bonded over our similar sense of style, mutual dislike of
scavenger hunts, and a trip to Target that ended in a two-mile walk back
to campus. Without being forced to spend time with my roommate, I
never would have gotten to know one of my best friends on campus.
As classes began, I met many new people and discovered that there
were some fellow chemistry majors on my floor. It was pretty convenient
when I had a question about the homework and was able to walk twenty
feet to find a study buddy. I also discovered that the guy across the hall
was a computer science major and could help me with all of the computer
issues I would inevitably encounter. After moving eight hours away to
go to a college where I knew no one, I had made some solid friends from
classes, extracurricular activities, and of course, Gibson Five. With this
great support group, my first year of college was definitely a success.
Looking back, there are certain memories of my freshman year that
stick out. One of my favorites was when my roommate and I, in the
spirit of Christmas, decided to make cookies for our floor-mates. Being
without an oven, we found online recipes for microwaveable treats
(which taste better than they sound) and commandeered the dorm
kitchen. Our time estimation skills were less than desirable, so we ended
up cleaning the dishes from our cookie mission at 3 a.m., even though
we had to be up for class in four hours. Though sleep-deprived and a bit
grumpy, it was worth it to see a surprisingly good drawing of the cookie
monster saying “Thanks for the cookies!” on the white board down
the hall. Without parents reminding me to “get to sleep at a reasonable
hour,” I learned how to be responsible for my academic, financial, and
Through late night study sessions, laundry excursions, and reverse
trick-or-treating on Halloween, I got to know the students who lived
on my floor. I had a great time meeting some memorable people who
helped me through classes, boredom, and my lack of a can opener.
Though listening to the guy down the hall sing “Single Ladies” in an
unnatural falsetto at two in the morning did not contribute to an optimal
academic environment, it made for a memory that my floor mates and
I are unlikely to forget. Unless incarcerated, one doesn’t usually find a
community living experience with as much diversity and comradery as
dorm life. Though I’m not sure if I would repeat it, living in the dorms
gave me an abundance of fond memories and learning experiences; I
wouldn’t change it if I could.