On-Campus, Off-Campus, Greek Spaces, and Host-Houses
From dorms to houses, singles to quads, fraternities, sororities, and everything in between, Dartmouth students have a whole variety of living options to experiment with. My own time here has hardly been spent living in any consistent layout; I've lived in dorms of different sizes, a Greek house, and even off-campus, and so if I can offer any specific takeaway up-front, it's that Dartmouth's housing situation is incredibly unique and has differed wildly from my expectations in an extraordinarily pleasant way.
My freshman year, I lived in the River Cluster, a group of two freshman dorms that is a little distanced from the center of campus, but all the while, being in such close proximity to so many other first-year students made it an incredible bonding experience. During these first few terms, I actually lived in a single, meaning I didn't have one of those purportedly-essential freshman roommates. Whereas some of my peers expressed concerns over this, especially considering the transition to college is a tough one to do alone, Dartmouth's system of what we call freshman floors made it hardly a necessity. I became really close with all of my neighbors just from hanging out in the common room and doing homework together on the basement blackboard, and so eventually, I even ended up opting to live with two of those neighbors my sophomore year.
The next fall, I moved into a two-room triple in Mass Row—the dorms situated just behind the admissions building—which was an entirely new experience for me. Never before had I shared a room with a roommate, never mind two, and given that I had a good housing number, I could have easily chosen to live in a single again had I wanted to. My intent was to experiment with my living style, and I ended up loving it; I became super close with both of my roommates and really enjoyed the extra company. For the spring, though, I had different plans: spending a term abroad in France, I lived with a host family in a small house on the edges of Toulouse. While that can hardly be considered a campus living arrangement, it was probably the coolest housing-related experience I've had throughout my time at Dartmouth, but that ought to be discussed separately.
Next came my sophomore summer, for which five of my friends and I opted to live off-campus in a house passed down to us by more senior members of the Mountaineering Club. Truly, living in a full house off-campus was by far my favorite layout; having a full kitchen to ourselves, my own bathroom, and my own room with a full bed, it hardly felt like I was even living away from home. Plus, it was a wonderful space to hang out with friends, and even just bond with my housemates around the kitchen table, something that I hope to repeat my senior year.
Now, I live in a two-room double in my fraternity, which certainly has been the most unique experience of what I've tried so far. While it's still early in the term, it's been wonderful (and sometimes dangerous) always having someone to talk to, and also just seeing some of my best friends in the hallway every morning. Still, there are many more options and living spaces than what I've detailed here; between on and off-campus apartments, Living-Learning Communities, and other interest houses (like perhaps the Sustainable Living Center), everybody can easily tailor their experience to their interests and desires, and I think that's why my experience has been so positive.