Skip to main content

Freshman Dorm Life

Hannah reflects on her worries about her freshman dorm before moving to campus.

Hannah reflects on her worries about her freshman dorm before moving to campus.

What is living in a dorm like?

This summer, I got an email from the Office of Residential Life and Housing at Carleton telling me two things: the names of my roommate and the residential hall that I would be living in. As an incoming freshman, I was worried about so many aspects of living in a dorm. Will my roommate and I get along? What will I need for my room? How will I adjust? Where will I do laundry? Who will my RAs be, and what do they do?

Will my roommate and I get along?

My younger sister and I have shared a room since I can remember, so I wasn’t too worried about having to share a room with someone else. While I have always shared a room, I was worried that my roommate and I wouldn’t be compatible.

At Carleton, your freshman roommate is randomly assigned based on a form you fill out the summer before Fall Term. The Office of Residential Life and Housing provided my roommate’s number and email so that I could contact her after we were matched. My roommate’s name is Grace, and she is from Detroit, MI. We quickly realized that though we came from different states, we both know what Midwest winters are like, and we have a lot in common. The key to rooming with someone is communication! Grace and I get along super well, and so far it has been awesome living with her.

Where will I live?

I live on on the fourth floor of Myers Hall, which is located right next to the Language and Dining Center, or, as Carls call it, the LDC. I have two out of my three classes located in the LDC right now, so the walk isn’t far! 4th Myers is known for having exceptionally large windows, and I have to admit–the view is great.

room view
My view from my desk looks out onto the Mini Bald Spot!

I really enjoy doing homework at my desk because it looks out onto the Mini Bald Spot, a patch of greenery on campus. The one thing I would recommend for a dorm: a fan. The first couple of weeks of the term can be pretty warm, and it was toasty in our room with the sun beaming through the windows.

Aside from large windows, my floor has a study and a kitchen/lounge area that you can cook or hang out in. Though I have not personally made anything yet, most days the aroma of freshly cooked meals drifts down the hall from the kitchen.

Like most dorms on campus, on the first floor there is a main lounge where people like to study or hang out. I particularly like to do my Latin homework in the lounge before class. There is even a piano where people like to show off their musical skills (I can produce a fantastic version of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”).

The laundry room is also on the first floor. Oddly enough, little things like doing my laundry without messing up my clothes was one of my biggest worries! I am happy to say, my laundry came out just fine (although I did FaceTime my mom twice during the process).

Finally, the entrance of my residential hall has so many bike racks! At Carleton there is a substantial biking culture. You can register your bike on campus and park it in front of any building that you need to be in. My bike is usually hung up on the exterior wall of Myers when I am not using it.

bikes at Myers
My bike is the blue on in the middle!

How will I adjust to living in this new space?

I’m going to be honest, the first couple days of sleeping in my hall were a bit rough. It was really hot (bring fans, people!) and there were so many new things happening all at once. Luckily, I had things that helped me get through the stress of transitioning to college.

I brought photos from home and other decorations, so the space felt like mine. I try to keep my room clean and make my bed everyday, so when I come back from a long day of classes and activities there won’t be clutter to stress me out. If you struggle with sleeping, Student Wellness Resources even even has free earplugs or eye masks to help you be well rested for your next day of class.

dorm room
My side of my dorm room, where I now sleep like a rock.

Who can I go to for help if I need it?

Another concern I had about dorm life: What if I don’t know what I’m doing? Who do I go to? The answer is your Residential Advisors (RAs)! My RAs are super helpful, and I always feel comfortable asking them questions about how to be a successful college student. No question is too small or silly; for example, when I first moved in, I had to ask where to take the garbage out. Another time I could not figure out how to get the fridge set up in our dorm. At Carleton, there are people everywhere who are incredibly supportive and willing to help with whatever you need.

floor pic
Most of 4th Myers during New Student Week!

On Sundays, my RAs have study breaks for an hour or so in the lounge. There we have brownies and talk about how our week was. On 4th Myers, my RAs like to have floor dinners as well. Floors have a lot of fun events put together throughout the term so that you can stay connected with the people you live with.

Key Takeaways?

  • Living in a dorm is cool! You get to meet so many new people because they live right next door.
  • Ask for help! There are people available for the smallest questions. Send a quick message to your RAs, and they can connect you to other campus resources as well.
  • Worry less. I spent so much time worrying about things that ended up being awesome.

Hannah is a freshman interested in Political Science and learning as much as she can about whatever she can. Born and raised in Minnesota, she considers herself somewhat of an expert on MN winters. She can’t wait for ice skating on the Bald Spot and Nordic skiing in the Arb, along with exploring all of the other amazing opportunities and activities on campus! When Hannah isn’t in class, she can be found reading, running for the Carleton Track team, watching TikToks, and tutoring with the Northfield Read and Counts Program. Meet the other bloggers!