University Housing and dorms not just for underclassmen, RAs

After a year of floor activities, exploring the dining hall and getting used to carrying their keys and i-card everywhere, most students are ready to make the move out of University Housing and into an apartment. While it’s not uncommon for sophomores to come back for another year of bunk beds and community bathrooms, there are also some students who come back to University Housing as upperclassmen.

Karen Li, junior in LAS, has lived in the Illinois Street Residence Halls (ISR) since her freshman year. She chose to stay at ISR because she leads a small group Bible study for the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship.

“(I wanted) to reach out to freshmen and other new students who live there. There’s a good community (at ISR),” she said.

Although Li sometimes feels like “a creepy old junior,” she said she loves living in the dorms because she is able to meet new people and hang out with her friends.

Ashley Zamora, junior in LAS and third-year resident of University Housing, agrees with Li about living near her friends.

Students tend to be more social in the residence halls, especially with Resident Advisors planning events as often as they can. It can be easier to make friends in the dorms than in apartments, which often have a more private atmosphere.

Max McKittrick, junior in Engineering, said that the real reason he didn’t try looking for an apartment was due to the hassle of finding one.

“(It is) really laziness,” he said. “I’m more or less apathetic to where I’m living, as long as I have friends nearby. When I heard that there would be at least a couple other juniors I know… on my floor this year, I didn’t try very hard to live in an apartment or see who was living in one.”

Although there are social benefits to living in the halls, some students choose to move out because they feel too old to be living in a residence hall. However, Zamora never felt that way about her living arrangement.

“I never feel awkward because I tend to see (the younger residents) as just regular students, regardless of their age,” she said. “I get the whole ‘immaturity claim,’ but honestly, people are immature at any age, so I don’t see that as a valid complaint. I also have friends of all ages, so I just see it as living near my friends.”

McKittrick agrees and doesn’t treat the freshmen who live around him any differently than he would treat upperclassmen.

“Aside from knowing nothing about how hard their classes are and complaining about dorm food occasionally, they aren’t so different from me,” McKittrick said.

Some upperclassmen choose to stay with University Housing because they become RAs, study abroad for a semester, or have a University-sponsored job that requires students to live in a residence hall.

“This year (I chose to live in a dorm) because it’s easier to just cancel my contract than try to find a sublease person, because I’m studying abroad in Costa Rica next semester,” Zamora said. “Also, my desk clerk job required me to live in-hall for the first year.”

Although it has its benefits, some students do eventually opt out of living in the dorms, and as McKittrick puts it, sometimes only because living in an apartment allows you to lounge around in your underwear.

_Melissa can be reached at [email protected]_