Dissecting the dorms: the freshman experience

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By Robyn Belt

‘Richmoney’ Richmond.

Just like any student in a junior high lunchroom, Union’s freshman dorms have their own unique stereotypes that have persevered and left their mark on the collective consciousness of the student body.

If you’ll allow me to use the metaphor, I’d like to compare the three major freshman dorms of Davidson, West College, and Richmond to a set of triplets with three distinct personalities. Davidson, or “Davy,” is a little dark, a lot nutty and can’t seem to keep quiet even when it’s well past bedtime. West is the most moderate of the three siblings. He knows how to have a grand old time but can also be uppity because of his close proximity to the kitchen. It is also not beneficial to his ego that West is often referred to as the “attractive” sibling (although, sometimes, there’s that strange smell…). Richmond, or “Richmoney” to friends, is the reserved triplet. Although quiet and accessible, he is more than a little bland with his cinder-block walls and lifeless carpeting.

Yes, I am poking fun, and hopefully in good taste. This metaphor is of course an extended stereotype. Whether or not a freshman or former freshman can relate each “personality” to their own dorm experience depends heavily on class-year and personal interactions in living quarters. However, for the class of 2014, these freshman dorm stereotypes apparently hold a grain of truth.

I asked several residents, each representing their own dorm, to describe Davidson, West and Richmond in a single word as well as whether or not they feel their dorm lives up to its’ campus stereotype.

Alizah Kaplove ‘14 of Davidson described West College as being “friendly” while Richmond is “low-key.” In describing her own residence, Kaplove agrees. “Davidson definitely lives up to its stereotype. The people in Davidson like to work hard but have a great time. It is the place to be for freshman and it is never quiet. There are always people around.”

Leandra Falotico ‘14 of West College echoes Kaplove’s sentiments in referring to her dorm as “awesome,” adding that “Davidson is crazy and Richmond is quiet.”

Richmond resident Rachel Magin ‘14 concedes, “Richmond tends to be quiet. Davidson is the crazy dorm and West is somewhere in the middle.” However, it would appear that mild-child Richmond has taken up a bit of a wild streak. “It’s only getting a little crazier,” Magin says, while fellow Richmond Resident Carla Duval ‘14 adds, “it’s quiet until 1 AM, and then things get a little destructive!” Could it be that “Davy’s” charm has rubbed off on taciturn “Richmoney?”

Through my interviews, I was able to gain a better sense of the truth behind each residence hall stereotype, as well as the freshman class’s general impression on housing. Regardless of which “triplet” we end up with, I came to the conclusion that dorm life at Union promises to be a central hub of social activity, providing a home, a place of study, or even a recluse for those who need it. Davidson, West, and Richmond might be characterized by their respective personalities on campus, but what I’ve come to realize is that the freshman dorm experience is unique to each and every student. After all, who knows what lies in store with the class of 2015?

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