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Two months ago, I received an email from Residential.life@dartmouth.edu with the subject 'Your Housing Information.' It was easily the most exciting moment I've had since I received my acceptance letter. Why? The sacred piece of information enclosed inside will determine where I will be living for the rest of my freshman year (and probably throughout the rest of my time at Dartmouth). With some hesitation, I clicked on the notification and a blue polar bear logo popped up on my screen with the following message:

"Dear Memo, we are excited to welcome you to North Park House!"

North Park House logo
North Park House swag

At that time, I had no idea what North Park House is nor do I know where I'll be physically living. However, worry not. This guide will help you to better understand the intricacies of Dartmouth's freshmen housing and give you a glimpse into our community (I hope).

First off, we have 6 houses: Allen, East Wheelock, North Park, School, South, and West. These are our "home bases"–think Harry Potter but better. The dorms that correspond to each house are scattered throughout campus (it took me about a month to memorize where all of them are). For example, the Fayes (North, Mid, and South Fayerweather) are for students in South House and half of the Choates (Bissell and Cohen) are for students in Allen House. There is also a House Cup competition–again, Harry Potter but even better. For this week specifically, we have an intramural soccer competition (go North Park!). In short, where you end up living will help shape your freshmen experience!

Personally, I think North Park house is the best house. We live in the McLaughlin Cluster which is dubbed 'The Hotel.' First-year students live in Bildner, Rauner, or Berry and these three buildings are interconnected. Most of our rooms are singles or two-room doubles and it's really spacious. By that I mean I can do yoga in my room without my head banging against the wall. On top of that, we have an elevator (yes we do) and 2 common rooms per floor. One of the shared areas has a built-in kitchen and people have baked cookies and pumpkin pie. Yeah, I know. When students are not playing chef, the common room is my designated studying site and a place to enjoy my late-night ramen with friends. To top it off, we have access to a snack bar in Goldstein (upperclassmen dorm), which is right across the street. I make use of my midnight swipe (from my meal plan) and treat myself to two bars of Twix every night.

McLaughlin Common Room
Here's my common room!

Each house has a different personality. Some dorms have more socializing events, while some are more suitable for late-night cramming. Your house serves as your family that you can always lean on. Unlike Hogwarts, your house doesn't define you or who you'll befriend. You'll know people from all over campus and that's the special thing about the Dartmouth community.

On that note, I still think that North Park House is the best house.

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