The dorms are a time in your life where you will share a small cubicle with a stranger, a bathroom with dozens of other strangers and never have any privacy. Ever. All of your things will either be tiny, or messy. You will constantly live in chaos and it will be very exciting. You have the freedom of no parents, but the anxieties of being alone. But you're never alone; you're constantly in the company of hundreds or thousands of your peers. You either get used to it right away, or you never do.
Staying in the dorms my first year was the best choice I could have made. Everyone is your same situation - just wanting to make friends! Though they are very small and cramped, they allow for a lot of sociability, and in my opinion they help you learn to be a lot more flexible.
I'm so glad I've tried living in the dorms at the University of Washington. Everyone here is quite friendly and the food isn't all that bad at McMahon Hall (one of the dorm residence halls). There are nice facilities such as convenience stores (open until 1am! for late night snacking) and exercise rooms which can help you relax. Study rooms and music practice rooms are there for those who want to do some focusing. And there are even janitors to clean your bathrooms for you!
Not bad. On-campus housing and the corresponding food plans are convenient. Some prefer certain residence halls to others; freshmen usually end up in the two-person or three-person dorms, sophomores may end up in a "cluster" living situation (double rooms with an additional shared living space), upper classmen often opt for other housing options, though many stay on campus as well.
Oh the dorms...how they make me reminisce (even though I still live in one now...). First of all, if you are a freshmen do NOT live in McMahon Hall like I did. Wow, big mistake. McMahon is built differently than your average dorm hall, because it has "clusters". Inside of one big room there are separate rooms that each have two beds, desks, etc. You live in the same space as 8-10 girls, who all share a living room and bathroom. Not bad right? As a sophomore currently living here, I would say no. But as a Freshman I realized the only people living in McMahon are upper class students and their friends. Mostly sophomores and juniors pick clusters with their friends and then if they have an odd amount of people a freshman gets thrown in. I felt extremely awkward in my cluster, where I didn't talk to anyone and had nothing in common with my roommate. Reflecting back, I wish I would have switched to the all freshman hall Lander on the other side of campus. Lander only houses freshman, meaning its a little loud and wild, but hey everyone there is eager to make friends. In Lander you live on a floor where everyone props their door open and meets new people. But in McMahon, they have fire doors so the front doors to your cluster must be closed at all times. This means you can make zero friends living on your floor unless you want to go around knocking on doors to meet new people. Clearly, I was not cool with that.
RA's in McMahon have been pretty nice. They schedule a lot of planned events to get to know people and what not. That's one thing in college to look forward to: ICE BREAKERS. Yikes. These events can be pretty weird since everyone is awkwardly shuffling around trying to meet people. But hey free food, I'm in.
I decided to live in McMahon this year in a single room in a cluster with a few of my friends. So far, it has been a good experience. I love being able to walk 10 steps and climb into my friends bed to watch TV or do some homework. It feels so much less isolating then last year where everyone avoided eye contact in the bathroom.
Let's not forget, both Terry and McMahon are equipped with their own cafeteria's and convenient stores (unlike all the other dorm halls). You buy a food plan when you sign up for your dorm hall. And boy, do you feel rich when you have one! You just pick out all the food you want and hand them your pretty purple Husky card and like magic you seemingly get the goods for free. Except it's not free since you already paid for the food plan but you know what I mean.
So in conclusion, freshman stay with other freshman who actually want to talk to you and get to know you in Terry or the brand new Poplar building that wasn't around when I was a freshman, gr! But as a sophomore chose a location with some of your new friends to give your new building a more cozy, exciting environment.
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