Before coming to Rochester, one of my primary worries was living in a dorm with a roommate for the first time. Before college, I had never shared a room. I didn’t know how I was going to interact with someone I didn’t know very well or how we would get used to each other’s (weird) habits. Would she stay up until 5 am every night? Would she talk too much? Would we get along? Besides worrying about my roommate, I wondered what it would be like to use a communal bathroom or have a resident advisor (RA).
Finding a roommate
I like to say that I got really lucky with my roommate. You don’t have to try to find a roommate ahead of time—some say it’s better if you just let the University pick a roommate for you. But for me, I am so thankful that I found my roommate. Hailey and I started talking via Facebook about this time last spring. She seemed nice and bubbly, so I reached out and we talked a handful of times about our interests and hometowns.
What they don’t tell you about the roommate process is that it is essentially blind dating, but then you skip to the part where you move in together. It can be slightly awkward getting to know some random person for the first time. Especially when you’re coming from a town where everyone knows each other and you haven’t had to make a new friend since elementary school. You have to embrace the awkwardness of the situation and recognize that the other person is nervous and uncertain, too.
In April, Hailey and I both happened to be attending the same admitted students day and we decided that this was a perfect time to meet in person! We spent some of the day together going to social events and I was able to meet Hailey’s mom. We even got to watch some guys throwing pies at each other on Wilson Quad. Overall, it was a positive experience and we decided that we definitely wanted to live together next year.
Deciding where to live
But then how do you decide where to live? Well, for freshmen there are two options. You can either live in Susan B. Anthony Hall or the Quad. At Rochester, freshmen are very loyal to where they live (picture Gryffindors vs. Slytherins) so you must choose carefully.
Susan B. Anthony, or Sue B, has a lot of perks. It has a dining hall on the ground floor called Danforth and a convenience store called Hillside where you can buy snacks and other things you may need, like over-the-counter medications, etc. Sue B is set up with four wings: Hollister, Morgan, Gannett, and Gates. At the center of the floor where the halls meet, there are two lounges. At the top of Sue B is a space called the solarium (which is air-conditioned) that has a pool table, a piano, and some space to hang out and do homework.
The Quad has some perks too. It’s divided into four buildings called Tiernan, Lovejoy, Hoeing, and Gilbert. The buildings look a lot more like your typical residential hall. The rooms are a little bit bigger than the rooms in Sue B and the Quad is closer to Eastman Quad (aka the Academic Quad) and Wilson Commons (which is a perk in the cold winter months).
All of freshman housing has an RA, a D’lion, and a Freshman Fellow for each hall. Your RA serves as a liaison between the Office of Residential Life and the residents. They are there for support through any problems you may have, but they are also there to keep everyone in line. They want everyone on the hall to do their best to get along and respect each other, the building, and the University.
Your D’lion is there for social support. They are like the mom you can go to when classes are stressful or you had a fight with your friends. Your Freshman Fellow is especially helpful during that first week of Orientation. During Orientation, you will register for classes for the first time, which is a pretty stressful process. They guide you through the process to make sure that you registered correctly and they do their best to help you get the classes you want.
There are pros and cons to every residence, and no matter where you end up you may have to walk to a different hall just to go to the bathroom. The important thing to remember about freshman housing is that you have to make your room your own. Make it a space you want to come back to at the end of the day. Also, keep in mind that everyone is also looking to keep the peace. Do your best to respect your roommate and make sure they respect you.
While I had many worries about freshman housing, it turned out to be a very positive experience for me! Hailey and I are even planning on living together next year, so you never know what’s going to happen!