Antônio Jorge Medeiros Batista Silva
A Survival Guide to First-Year Housing!
When moving into campus, all first-year students are automatically assigned to a house. To be honest, these work in a very similar way to the Hogwarts housing system. As a proud Hufflepuff, my experience with Dartmouth's housing has been almost as good as Newt Scamander's. Being a member of Allen House, I have found home in my dorm and real friendship in my housemates.
Your house - at least in your first-year - directly translates into what cluster of dorms you will live in. For example, Allen House freshmen are all concentrated in the Choates Road cluster. East Wheelock, School, North, West, and South Park houses all have different dorms spread across campus. Besides the Choates, the main clusters of buildings where students live on their freshman year are McLaughling, Wheeler, East Wheelock, the Fayes (officially Fayerweather), and the River.
Other residential options can be found in Living and Learning Communities (LLCs) and Greek spaces - such as fraternities and sororities, none of which are available for freshmen. Starting your sophomore year, students interested in doing so can rush to get in a Greek house or apply to be considered for an LLC.
The good thing about first-year housing is that, though it may seem limiting, you actually have many options. For example, before arriving, Dartmouth sent out a form for us to elect whether we would like to have a roommate, and if so, how many; what time we usually go to bed and wake up; if we usually study in the room, etc. This is all to make sure that your room assignment is something you are comfortable with.
Personally, coming from a boarding school, I learnt to appreciate sharing my personal space with someone. I also chose to have a roommate because it would help me with the stress of arriving at a college I knew no one. My roommate became an instant friend of mine, and the idea of sharing so much with someone made me much more comfortable immersing myself in this completely new environment. However, I know this experience differs for everyone, and it is really incredible the effort Dartmouth puts into accommodating all our students' needs.
Arriving at a new environment can be scary - and I completely understand it, trust me. It took me a while to figure out how I would fit into certain spaces. However, during New Student Orientation, I got the perfect advice from a friend. She told me I had to "lean into Dartmouth's chaotic energy." Once I started embracing the uniqueness of Dartmouth - the late-night conversations in the common rooms, the walks around Occom pond, and the line dance choreos we are taught our first week here - I started seeing this place like home.
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