As a freshman myself, I have to admit that moving into the dorms was a terrifying experience. So many housing options! How are you supposed to find a roommate? Are toasters allowed? As a freshly minted blogger for the Office of Admissions, it’s my job to educate the masses on the perks on University Housing. Or at least tell you you’re not allowed to bring your own toaster.
1. First thing’s first: are you living on campus or off? If you are living off-campus as a freshman, this means that you are living with your immediate or extended family. Off campus will save you money and guarantee that you’ll eat three square meals a day. Living on campus means a little more freedom, a little less rules, and a lot of new experiences (Ever wondered what it’s like to share a bathroom with fifteen people? Wonder no more, friend. Wonder no more.
2. If you’re living on campus you have three equally awesome options: Watterson Towers, Hewett/Manchester, and Tri Towers.
3. Hewett/Manchester is close to the Quad and filled with themed living communities: perfect if you’re looking to live on a floor with students in a similar major. It’s also just a short walk from the Bone Student Center and Watterson Dining Commons.
4. Watterson Towers is the behemoth of the residence halls, standing tall with a whopping twenty-five floors. It’s set up as fancy suite-style living, and any resident will tell you it provides one of the most quintessential living experiences on campus. Plus, it’s connected to the Watterson Dining Commons, so rain or shine you’ll always have quick access to food.
5. Tri Towers is a little further from the Quad, beloved by athletes for its close proximity to the Horton Field House and Redbird Arena. Non-athletes appreciate it for it’s top-notch Marketplace at Linkins dining center: the Mongolian Grill is a life-changing experience.
6. Remember the important housing dates and deadlines! In mid-May you’ll receive a letter that includes your date for housing selection. When the time comes you’ll be able to declare your room and roommate preference. That information can be found on the University Housing website as well as your Welcome2ISU account.
7. Next, get yourself a roommate! I met mine on Illinois State Uversity App on Facebook and we’ve had nothing but good times since moving in together. Seriously, this collage doesn’t lie. (Okay, there’s one harrowing picture in the corner…in our defense, that was taken post-Zumba.)
8. Finding a roommate can be a tricky thing, but University Housing has your back. There’s a roommate profile for you to fill out that will match you with someone if you want to go random, but plenty of ISU newbies are taking to Facebook to find someone to live with. Through the Groups at Illinois State School’s App on Facebook, you can post your own virtual “roommate wanted” ad telling the community what kind of BuzzFeed articles make you laugh and what weird hours your keep. After that, you just wait for the fish (birds…Redbirds, perhaps?) to start biting.
9. Once you’ve found your roommate/soulmate, meet them safely at a ISU-sponsored event! With tons of open house days, Redbird Receptions, and even Preview, there are so many opportunities to meet your future roomie while surrounded by smiling Illinois State staff. Check out a calendar of events here!
1 10. Now, for the crucial stuff: coordinate who will bring what. Whether you’re into color-coordination or have totally different tastes, someone has to bring the mini fridge. A list of dorm room basics is available on the University Housing website, so make sure to tweet it to your future roommate and get to The Container Store.
11. Now, the moment arrives: move in and have fun! Bond with your roommate with all kinds of fun Welcome Week activities or just grab coffee at Einstein’s Bros. Bagels If you’re lucky, your roommate might even end up working at Einstein’s! (Hi Jess! Sliced and toasted, please!
12. Make sure to make your room your own! Own a life-sized cutout of Harry Styles? Bring that sucker in!* Have a passion for the holidays? Hang up Christmas lights! Think Subway wrappers make good wallpaper? Paper! Those! Walls!
(*Of course, check with your roommate first. Waking up to a Harry Styles cutout can make for a wild surprise or a terrifying morning.)
13. From one freshman to another: keep your keys and ID on you at all times. They’re expensive to replace and it’s not worth the hassle. Remember where your KIDs are, kids.
14. Get involved! With floor meetings, residence hall government, and all kinds of committees and registered student organizations you’ll always find something to do. If you’re not digging anything the school has to offer, you can take steps to start your own club!
15. Finally, and most importantly: enjoy University Housing because it’s really great. Like, really great.