In their own words:from dormitories to houses, apartments

Illini Tower in Champaign is a large scale Private Certified Housing complex. ME Online

Illini Tower in Champaign is a large scale Private Certified Housing complex. ME Online

By Colleen Doggins


Dorm life. Whether you have lived in a dorm in the past, are currently residing in one, or just have friends who have gone through the experience, you know about dorm life.

Still, if you do not fall into any of the above categories, you have at least heard stories about it. If that still does not apply, then continue reading to learn what you have missed out on. Oh, and maybe think about getting out more. That being said, most of you think you know a lot about the dorms, and you are probably right.

Since people sometimes just like to complain, let’s start with the disadvantages. First of all, the dorm rooms are tiny. There are also two, sometimes three, people crammed into one room, making privacy a thing of the past.

Second, there is the dorm food. Enough said. Other disadvantages include noise, sharing a bathroom with a floor, and dealing with a residential adviser.

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    But wait. There are advantages too! Dorms are very social places by nature. And even if the food is questionable, everything is prepared for you. Plus, all you have to clean is your room.

    David Zimmerman, a 20-year-old sophomore in Weston Hall, believes there is an advantage to living in the dorms after freshman year.

    “It was a lot easier than doing an apartment,” he said of his decision.


    With a pleasant odor wafting through the air from a flickering candle and an immaculately clean living room, it would seem that Maggie Dietlin and Kim Crompton were expecting people over at any moment. They were not. This is just what can happen when seven girls live together in a house.

    Meanwhile, down the street is a house of seven boys. This house is testament to the fact that boys live differently than girls. Random odds and ends cluttered the living room of Andy Nugent’s house – remnants of a party they recently threw.

    Living in a house with a bunch of friends has many advantages and many disadvantages.

    Dietlin, a 21-year-old senior in LAS and Crompton, also a 21-year-old senior in LAS, have found great satisfaction in living in a house their senior year of college. A lot of houses like theirs come furnished. They even got extra items like a TV and a grill.

    According to Dietlin and Crompton, a big advantage to living in a house is the amount of space they have. They also like the feeling of seclusion they get living on Oak Street, a place that is a bit further off campus. One bad thing about living in the house is the way that it can suck people in.

    “It’s kind of like a vortex. You never want to leave,” Crompton said.

    Nugent, a 20-year-old sophomore in LAS agrees with the girls that a big advantage of a house is the amount of space available, but lists among the disadvantages the distractions that can lead to a decline in grades, and the long trek to class in the winter.

    Either way, all three love living in their houses.

    “If I would have figured out to live here earlier, I would have,” Dietlin said.

    Greek House

    Christina Gavrilos, sophomore in LAS and president of the Alpha Phi Sorority, knows a lot about sorority living.

    “(The house) feels more homely than a dorm or apartment. It’s a home that you feel welcome in,” she said.

    She likes the provided food and cleaning services, and gets along well with the girls in her house.

    Sharing a bathroom with so many girls isn’t a problem and acts as a great place to chat.

    They have a house mom who is in charge of maintaining order. The girls are not allowed to have parties in their house, cannot have boys upstairs past certain hours, cannot have alcohol, and have to wear shoes or slippers on the first floor.

    Nonetheless, Gavrilos and the other girls do not seem to mind, and admit that the rules are for their own good.

    Fraternities are very different from sororities. Bob Larkin, junior in LAS and member of the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, said a big advantage of living in the house is the feeling of a tight-knit community. Their house is divided up into apartments inside, so they get the experience of living in both.

    A big disadvantage is the tendency for the house to get loud whenever anyone goes out at night. However, Larkin likes the social life.


    For a lot of people, living in the dorms is something that should only happen during freshman year. After their first year, they turn to apartments.

    There are many advantages to living in an apartment in college. They include having much more space than the dorms, being able to make your own food whenever you want, possibly being allowed to own a pet, being able to have friends over and having your own room. One of the biggest advantages is simply the amount of freedom you have.

    Some disadvantages include possibly being off campus without transportation, the competitive apartment market, not having meals prepared for you, cleaning everything yourself, being responsible for bills and loud noises in some areas.

    There is also less room in an apartment than in a house. However, apartments can be just as social as the dorms, if you live in a complex and make many friends.

    Still, some choose to live by themselves. Noel Straney, a 25-year-old graduate student at the Institute of Labor and Industrial Relations at the University, is one such individual.

    “Any freshman should live in a dorm to get the experience,” Straney said of the social atmosphere the dorms provide. “(But) living by yourself in grad school has its advantages… you don’t have to deal with other people and it is quieter.”