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Freshman dorms: friend or foe?

By Megan Clark, Contributing Writer

Freshman year can be a culture shock. You are leaving your past 18 years behind you to begin the best four years of your life. You are used to your parents cooking for you, having a car to get you from one place to another and most importantly, you are not used to having to share a bathroom or dorm room with random people whom you have never met.

As a freshman, you have a few options for housing. The University of New Hampshire has four dorms on campus that are dedicated entirely to freshmen — Alexander Hall, Williamson Hall, Christensen Hall and Richardson House.

Most freshmen live in these dorms, but almost every dorm on campus houses freshmen. Of course, though, Williamson and Christensen are the most popular housing choice for freshmen due to the fact that all of the residents are experiencing the same events as each other.

Freshman Cassie Magro, a resident of Christensen Hall, believes that there are many pros and cons to living in a freshman dorm.

“I like that, in a freshman dorm, everyone is open to being friends because no one has made them yet. And everyone is in the same boat as opposed to being a mixture of grades, so everyone hangs out together rather than in groups,” Magro explained. “The one bad part about living in Christensen is that the bathrooms are gross; I go to another building to shower because they are so much cleaner.”

Living in a freshman dorm definitely makes it easier for freshmen to transition into the college lifestyle, like being able to live with people who are experiencing the same situations as you. Although this is very important and is a useful amenity, there are some great benefits to living in a mixed building. Freshman Amanda Stowers, who lives in Peterson Hall (SERC B), admits that she loves living in a mixed building.

“One of the best parts about living in a SERC is that we are able to learn from the upperclassmen who have already been through everything that we are experiencing for the first time,” Stowers said. “Also, I love that the SERCs are more relaxed and quiet compared to some of the other dorms – something that definitely makes it easier to concentrate or relax when I need to.

“The only thing that I don’t like about living in a mixed building as a freshman, is that nobody keeps their door open because the upperclassmen already have their friend groups, so it’s harder for freshmen to make friends,” Stowers explained.

The SERCs are the Southeast Residential Communities in The Timbers, composed of three buildings. Apart from the majority of the dorm rooms in the SERCs being suites, these buildings also have air conditioning and newer facilities compared to other dorms on campus.

Sophomore Josh Andrews, who also lives in Peterson Hall, lived in Christensen Hall last year. He said he loved having the experience of living in a freshman dorm but appreciates the “hotel feel” of a SERC.

“Living in a freshman dorm gave me a truly incredible first-year experience,” Andrews said. “Everybody in the building felt the same way and we were all sort of lost but excited to be in college and ready to meet new people. The best part was being able to make new connections and share the anxiety of being in an entirely new environment.”

Andrews could attest to both the benefits and the downsides to living in a freshman dorm.

“Although I loved my freshman experience in Christensen, SERC B has much better facilities compared to the freshman dorms,” Andrews said.

Whether you live in a freshman dorm or not, you are bound to have both a good and a bad side to living where you are. In Williamson and Christensen, you are living with everyone who is battling the same hurdles as you, but if you live in mixed dorms you have older students to reach out to for advice. Wherever you are, though, make the most of it.

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