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My roommate Daphna in front of French!

As quickly as these past 10 weeks have gone by, I already find myself at the conclusion of my freshman fall term. I now have my own experiences that I can use to answer my prior worries. Especially those relating to housing. I remember seeing "French Hall" on my housing assignment in late July, and not knowing what to expect. I even searched online to find as much information as possible on what the dorm might be like. Whether this serves as that "research" for you, or you're simply curious about what first-year dorms are like, I can't wait to share my experience.  

French Hall is one of three first-year dorms in the West House community, alongside Judge Hall and Richardson Hall. But, only French and Judge are in the River Cluster. As you may guess, these dorms are closest to the Connecticut River, separating Dartmouth's campus from Vermont. It's not uncommon to refer to one of these dorms as just "the River." And sure, it's far from the Green. That is, if you consider a 10-minute walk far. But its residents (myself included) love it nonetheless!

Met up with some floormates at the Homecoming bonfire!
Met up with some floormates at the Homecoming bonfire!

The common rooms in each dorm provide a perfect place to socialize. That is true for the River as well. After my long journey down Tuck Drive, I'm greeted by friendly faces as I enter my dorm. The common rooms are right next to the main entrance. Regardless of the time of day, people are always hanging out there. And they're not shy to invite me to the conversation. 

There's one aspect about my dorm that I can't neglect—the distance. Dartmouth is a very walkable campus, but living in the River often adds 5-10 minutes to my commute. Many of my floormates get bikes to avoid this. But I love the long walk! Sometimes I might even join a floormate during my walk. You'd be surprised how much I've learned about my neighbors in this time. It's also the perfect time to call hometown friends and family. 

Our last visit to the River before leaving for Winterim; I already miss it :(
Our last visit to the river before leaving for Winterim; I already miss it :(

And as far as the actual Connecticut River goes? The water gets a lot of love from the River Cluster. We're just minutes away from the water, and we definitely take advantage of it. My friends and I made frequent visits throughout the term. We loved swimming, or just hanging out on the dock. Good vibes all around. Of course, the whole campus enjoys the river (when warm enough). But now we finally have the proximity in our favor! I would be very wrong to say that my friends don't love their own dorms. But I can't help but think that the distance of the River fosters a special sense of community. "West House, best house!"

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