2C - The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Fall 2003
Dorm Sweet Dorm
Kick zig back in the 12 X 12 closet you now cal/home
it's August and move-in day, and you've just set up
everything that you own into one half of a tiny
room. Mom hugged you goodbye for the hundredth
time and dad slipped some extra By Mal
cash into your pocket and you
stood curbside in front of your For t
new home as your parents pulled
away in the empty car that only a few hours ago barely
had enough room for the steering wheel. As the family
car that was your ride to school each morning disap-
peared around the corner, you were left standing alone
with your yellow M-card and that first smack of reality
hit. It wasn't subtle and it wasn't nice. All that was run-
ning through your head was "What in the hell am I sup-
posed to do now?"
One year later, freshmen can see that their first year
most likely entailed a lot of confusion and separation
adjustments. But don't sweat it; everyone has been
there. Maybe everyone wasn't hit with that reality
route to this kid's friend's frat house for a party in a
group of 40 of your new best friends.
But, in their defense, a group this large is usually
y Deyoe necessary for a bunch of peo-
ple whose only definite direc-
e Daily tional point of reference is
"the Rock." Granted, for fresh-
man who are new to the area, or people who just lack
all sense of direction, the rock seems to be the greatest
So, you passed the rock, made it to the frat that's name
is delta something, or possibly sigma, or was it beta?
You probably weren't sure, because after one day at col-
lege you had yet to have mastered the Greek alphabet.
Looking back, the parties were just one big blur of
faces and names that you'll never really remember,
except for when months later you walked down State
Street and found yourself doing a double take of some
random girl and thought to yourself, "Hey, I think I par-
tied with her during Welcome Week."
When the nights were over, it was
back to the dorm. This process was
probably not one that you are faced
alone. The situation may have been
good or it may have been bad, but
nothing in the years of home life,
that you had left behind, prepared
you for ... the college roommate.
Maybe he snored, smelled or
hoarded food from the dining hall
under his bed, but either way he was
yours until the end of the year.
"I think that you should be able to
switch (roommates) at the semester,"
suggested LSA freshman Alisa See-
wald. Although she admits that she
got lucky in the whole roommate
selection process and, despite a rough
beginning, they get along really well
now. "We didn't talk for the first
three weeks, I just didn't like her, but now I can't even
"The beginning was just hard" agreed Seewald and
roommate Jenny Gastwirth, an LSA freshman. Their
friend Sarah Kramer added "I think I went a straight
month with no friends."
But this quest for friendship is often the leading fac-
tor in why most girls said that they decided to go
through that annual week of "parties" called rush. How-
ever, according to LSA freshman Rebecca Tobin, while
"Rush (in the end) is effective, it is not enjoyable."
"It was overwhelming" said Gastwirth, who then
agreed that in the end, the process does seem to work.
Plus, knowing once you were in a house and had a
place to the live next year, it relieved a lot of stress.
At this point in the year, most freshmen are still
unsure of some of their friend's last names, let alone
whether or not they are sane enough to share an apart-
ment with them for a year.
LSA freshman Josh Beckett admitted to his friend
Bryan Cooley, an LSA freshman, that he did not know
what his last name was until just last month, and they have
known each other all year. The consensus among most was
that the housing situation was definitely one that should be
addressed to a greater degree during orientation.
Orientation, that two-and-a-half day trip that posed
as a way for freshman to get a feel of college life, "Is
not accurate at all. It is a quick glimpse of college life,
but has nothing to do with academics at all," said LSA
freshman Chase Howland.
"I definitely did not know what to expect, but it is
not easier than I thought," stated- Beckett as he dis-
cussed how he perceived college courses would be after
Despite the fact that most freshmen admitted to get-
ting stressed out over classes, many still claimed to
sleep through a majority of those classes, either in their
own beds or in the lecture halls themselves.
Apart from the stresses of adjusting to roommates
and college classes, one of the biggest concerns among
freshmen seems to be the dorm food.
"First semester was a tease, the food
has gotten way worse," said Cooley.
When asked if he liked eating in
the dorm, Howland replied "I don't
enjoythe food, but I enjoy eating
with the boys." This ongoing battle
with the University may be one that
the students will never win, along
with the struggle to feel comfortable
using the communal bathrooms.
"This one kid on my hall won't
even walk into his room wearing his
shower shoes. He takes them off in
the hall," said Tobin. Yet, another
freshman, who shall remain anony-
mous, claimed that he would have no
problem using his toothbrush if it fell
on the bathroom floor, just as long as
it didn't land bristle side down.
While freshman may differ on the rules of hygiene,
there seems to be no debate on the video front. Walk
into any dorm room on this college campus and you're
about 99% (please note that this statistic may not have
been accurately computed) guaranteed to find a copy of
at least one or all of the following: "Zoolander" (which
LSA freshman Sarah Kramer admits she doesn't own,
but did steal from someone else.), "The Usual Sus-
pects," "The Shawshank Redemption" and "Fight
Club" (because even when beaten to a bloody pulp,
Brad Pitt still looks good). And would a late night
showing of one of these be complete without your
favorite late night treat, which for Beckett, Cooley and
LSA freshman Brian Harrington is Jimmy John's.
It has been a long time since that moment when your
parents drove away and you were left standing on your
own. Looking back, Gastwirth says that she and the girls
' on her hall in Markley have "All grown up together."
Soon it will be time to pack up everything in your
tiny room that over the past months has taken on a
whole new meaning of home, and not to mention a
whole new odor (probably from that piece of pepperoni
that fell in the crack between your desk and your dress-
er that was always just a little bit too far to reach).
You'll say goodbye to your roommate - that is if
you are still speaking at this point - and then you'll be
back on your way home. But don't worry, you will be
back next fall (even if you're failing, because the Uni-
versity is cool enough to give you a stab at three
semesters before they kick you out).
check in the same way (maybe your dad only gave you
a pat on the back), but more or less it was there.
If you were among the lucky ones, you already knew
at least one person. Maybe they came from your home-
town, or you-had bonded during orientation or they are
your cousin's boyfriend's ex-babysitter's son from his
Who knows how you knew them, but this person, at
least for the first few moments, was your best friend.
Well, that was of course until you found your self en
mates spoil college
By Jeff Dickerson
Daily Arts Editor
They are by your side all the time whether you want
them to be or not. They eat your food, they use your stuff
and they take up your space. They can be your best friend
or your worst enemy. They are roommates.
Some students choose to room with friends from high
school or back home, but most University students begin
their college careers with complete strangers sharing a tiny
room with them.
Once in a rare while, roommates get along and become
good friends (or even more miraculous, stay friends), but
most living arrangements turn out to be nightmares.
"I had a roommate who smelled really bad.," said Lin-
coln Gillett, an LSA senior, "So I ended up putting a box
fan in the window during the winter even though it was
freezing, just to get his stench out." His bad experience
seems quite tame compared to the horror stories of other
LSA junior Al Bryant was one of the privileged few who
had a good roommate experience, but his neighbors down
the hall were not so lucky. "I was one of those lucky guys
who in a one in a thousand chance ended up having a per-
fect roommate. But a few doors down from me, two room-
mates had a really harsh relationship." He added, "They had
signs on their front door with a picture that would describe
how much they hated each other that day. It would range
from Bill Clinton to Osama bin Laden." The torrid relation-
ship was more complicated than just a few deragotory signs
for their hall to see.
Res. hall rooms outfitted
with electronic door locks
Time to draw a white line down the middle of the room?
Bryant said, "One day one of the guys put a bowl of
Ramen noodles in the microwave for about a half hour
so that the odor would piss off his roommate. The
microwave ended up smoking and set off the fire
alarm. South Quad had to be evacuated and it was
damn cold. I would bet South Quad set the record for
number of fire alarms last year."
In order to avoid any possible problems that might
arise with a roommate, students often opt to live with
someone they have known for a long time. But that
doesn't always work out. Kinesiology senior Matt Brady
said, "Don't ever room with one of your friends from
home because your friendship will end. You'll end up
hating each other."
Brady's experiences with bad roommates were not restrict-
ed to one person. "My freshman year was even worse," he
stated, "If your roommate never talks, never leaves the room
and never makes any attempt at human interaction, then it's
time to fill out the form to switch roommates."
By Elizabeth Anderson
Electronic locks on residence hal
rooms, which since December have
. iweonvenienced some residents of East
Quad Residence Hall and given others
a feeling of greater safety, are spread-
ing across campus.
The new locks, now being installed
in Alice Lloyd Residence Hall, auto-
matically lock closed doors in an
attempt to counter thefts and break-ins.
Hotel-like key cards and individualized
codes provide entry to residence hal]
rooms and bathrooms.
"Students are receiving a second
card, which only works in their room
doors;' said Alan Levy, director of Uni-
versity Housing public affairs. East
Quad is serving as a test of the locks'
implementation and usefulness, he said.
Art freshman Geoff Silverstein said
he thinks the new locks are excessive
but useful. "I think it's a slight incon-
venience. It seems kind of ridiculous
... like we're living in a hotel," he
said. "The upped security in general
is good because I know there have
Levy said student safety was the
most important factor in the develop-
ment of the locks.
"The University made a commit-
ment to do this after a series of home
invasions took place (in the residence
halls)," he said. "We want as much
deterrence as possible."
_ x In addtion to the locks, video
cameras in East Quad and South
1 Quad residence halls have also been
installed to help prevent crime.
>t The video cameras "are used as a
S deterrent and investigative tool,"
- said Ian Steinman, director of Uni-
versity Housing security and associ-
ate director of the Department of
DPS spokeswoman Diane Brown
said another crime deterrence meas-
ure taken is the 24-hour controlled
1 access of the residence hall entrances.
Since last winter, all residence N
hall entrances, including front k
entrances and loading docks, are
- locked all day and night.
;t East Quad residents and other stu-
dents mainly reacted to the inconven-
iences of carrying around an extra card
and being locked out more often.
e "We've received varying responses.
Many students are pleased the Univer-
sity is taking their safety responsibly,"
I Steinman said security has the ability
to track which cards have been used in
each lock. "If there's a problem or a
crime, we'd be able to determine who ...
attempted to access the room," he said.
East Quad resident Ruthie Freeman
said she was unaware of a crime prob-
lem prior to the locks' installation.
"I never felt unsafe. I guess it's prob-
ably safer. ... It takes the human falli-
ew door locks at East Quad require a card
ey and a code to gain entrance to rooms.
bility component out," Freeman, an
RC freshman, said. "The general feel-
ing I get is that it's an inconvenience.
There's a kid in my hall who just never
shuts his door now."
Alice Lloyd resident Patrick McIn-
tyre argued that students are responsi-
ble for locking their doors. Leaving
them unlocked "puts your own room at
risk and your things at risk;' McIntyre,
an LSA freshman, said. "The Univer-
sity should wait to see if the keeping
the front doors locked works before
spending money on other measures."
In response to student comments,
Brown said community safety is the
University's highest concern. Crime
"puts the whole community at risk,"
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