Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Dorm Life


Hey guys, I am Ava Morris and I am another one of the summer guides residing in Charlottesville this summer to give you all insight on the University of Virginia. I am originally from Richmond, Virginia which is about an hour away from Charlottesville. While Richmond is relatively close to Charlottesville, I rarely find myself at home. I have found my place at UVA and have begun to consider it my second home. I am a rising second year and will be applying to the McIntire School of Commerce this year while also minoring in sociology. I definitely enjoy my classes and the wide variety of courses at the university but I also enjoy the programs that one can join outside of the classroom. I am a part of the Football Marketing Team (Fill the Hill), Virginia Ambassadors, I volunteer through Madison House, and the Resident Advisor Program. There are so many groups to get involved in at the university that truly anyone can find their niche. 

There are many events and programs around grounds that assist students in finding their community. One of these adaptations would be the first year living experience or “dorm life.” As a resident advisor, I have come to love and appreciate the aspect of “dorm life,” and the memorable experiences that students receive from living on grounds their first year. I decided to become a resident advisor and extend my residency in dorms because I had an amazing first year living experience. The individuals who I now consider my best friends all lived in the same dorm with me which initiated our friendship and helped it grow stronger. I was able to go next door or down the hall whenever I was hungry to find someone to go to the dining hall with me. My resident advisor also planned various programs which helped me get to know my hall mates better while also strengthening the bond within the hall. She planned hot tub movie nights, s’mores on the quad, hall dinners, and ornament making before finals. Besides planning amazing events, my resident advisor was also available for advice on classes or just to have a friendly conversation but overall she made the transition from high school to college easy and enjoyable. After having a great experience living in in dorms, I decided to become a resident advisor so I could create the same experience for other incoming first years.

As an incoming first year, you will live in one of three different living areas: old dorms, new dorms, or "new-new" dorms. The university is currently in the process of knocking down our suite style dorms, which university students refer to as new dorms, and building brand new hall style dorms, which university students refer to as "new-new" dorms. In the upcoming years, there will no longer be suite-style dorms on campus and all first year dorms will be hall style. Currently, old dorms and new-new dorms are hall style while new dorms are suite style. The dorm assignment process is random which means that as an incoming student you cannot choose the area that you want to live in instead it is assigned to you. Even though you cannot choose the living area, you can still choose your roommate if you would like to. If you ask UVA students which living area is the best, they will probably answer with whatever area they lived in their first year. There is a great sense of pride and camaraderie within each housing area, and as a result, some lighthearted competition between the two. I lived in old dorms as a first year and even though they are the oldest dorms on campus, I was able to still find a lot of charm in them. I enjoyed having the quad outside of my window and being able to hear the university singing groups participate in “dorm sing” without leaving my room. I also enjoyed being in the center of grounds which allowed me to have about a ten minute walk or less to any place on grounds.

Once you receive your room assignment, you will probably go into a mad rush to find your roommate on Facebook and begin to buy all of the necessary items for your dorm. But all of the fun starts once you move into your dorm. The first week in the dorm is when the resident advisors will plan a ton of programs to help you meet your hall mates and other first year students. They will take you to see the hypnotist Tom Deluca, plan hall dinners, help you find your classes, and take you to your orientation events. Once you become accustomed to your new living environment and meet other members of the student body, you can begin to find the perks of dorm life on your own. As a second year student, I will definitely miss living in dorms and being able to run up a flight of stairs and jump on my best friends bed. I will also enjoy having 39 other dinner date candidates on one floor. Living in dorms as a first year student is definitely one of the most memorable experiences to have at the university and I am thrilled that I have the opportunity to make the experience as much fun for others as my RA did for me.


1 comment:

  1. A large part of adjusting to college life is being surrounded by new faces. Moving away from family and friends can be a frightening thought. You are not alone, though. Most of the people you will meet for the first time during your dorm life experience will be in a similar situation. Embrace this new setting. College is a great place to meet the people who will become some of your best friends for many years to come.