Room mates. When deciding who I was going to live with, I had a lot of worries. Most people live with someone that they don't know. Well, nowadays people fill out little surveys on the UVA Facebook pages and then people chose each other, but still, they are strangers. There is only so much you can learn of someone through their Facebook profiles. Anyway, what was hard was worrying about what if the person is a complete psycho, an incredibly messy person, an annoying person, a snorer, someone that parties too hard, and the list goes on. I actually chose a good friend from high school to live with. Surely, I am missing a part of the "real ideal college experience" of living with someone I don't know, but there are just some major worries relieved. Everyone in high school was like you guys are going to get so sick of each other, you guys are going to hate each other, that is such a bad idea, but I'd argue that it is very nice to know someone that you can already trust. We have similar styles, tastes, and enjoy the same type of fun. I didn't go into college worrying about some weirdo watching me sleep and stealing my stuff. If we don't end up being friends forever, it won't be because we lived together, but rather because growing apart with people is a natural process that happens. There are so many great people at the university that it is not something to fret about.
Dorm rooms. I am now living in Echols, one of the McCormick Rd. residences, a first-year dorm. It has no air conditioning and yucky plastic tile floors, but I love it to death. My room mate and I get along very well and we love our room. Throw in a nice rug and get a comfy floor, a floor lamp for some nice ambient lighting, and various other things to make it more homey. Wall decorations are definitely a must. If you're worried about the heat, it'll only be a problem for the first month. We haven't turned on our fans in very long, but we just leave the window open. It really isn't all too bad at all. The location of Old Dorms is also really the most ideal place to live at, because it is right among everything. The other first-year dorms are really nice too, although a little bit further from Central Grounds. Some of them are the Alderman Residences, Gooch/Dillard, and Hereford. These have air conditioning (minus some of the Alderman Residences that are going to be renovated) and if I remember correctly they have carpet as well. These suite-style residences are nice, because it's almost as if you had little apartments with a couple of people. There are rooms and then a common area that connects all of them. Suite-mates can become really close friends, but so can hall-mates. Everything is really about how you make out your experience living in any place with any people, as opposed to having to deal with the living arrangements you are assigned with.
I hope that this can relieve at least some worries about living in dorms at the university, because quite frankly, as a first-year you have no choice but to live in them. It's really not a big deal at all, because everywhere you go, you will find great fellow Wahoos. When you come visit, make sure you get a look at some dorms, but remember that you can keep it how you want it (as long as it coincides with the fire code). With it being the Halloween season, I leave you lovely readers with this:
Be safe! =)