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My Dorm Rooms: Freshman Through Senior Year

Zoë gives a rundown of the dorms she has lived in throughout her time at Carleton.

Zoë gives a rundown of the dorms she has lived in throughout her time at Carleton.

I am so happy with the three years of dorm living I’ve had at Carleton. In this post, I will feature the dorms and dorm rooms I lived in from freshman year all the way to senior year. For information specifically regarding room decoration, check out this blog post of mine!

Freshman Year: Goodhue Hall

A college residential hall in a sunny day
Goodhue Hall in the winter.

For my freshman housing placement, ResLife put me in a predominantly underclassmen dorm, Goodhue Hall. Though this dorm gets a lot of grief for the “trek” Goodhue residents must make to and from the center of campus, I think these criticisms are exaggerated! The stroll from Goodhue to class is no more than about 4-7 minutes (depending on your walking pace, of course). And, the dorm is situated right beside the beautiful Lyman Lakes and stunning arboretum. The gorgeous surrounding scenery inspires the joke that Goodhue should actually be called “GoodView.”

My side of the room in our Goodhue double.

Additionally, it is the closest dorm to the Rec Center, and this was a perk I regularly took advantage of. I liked to joke as a freshman that Goodhue residents are positioned to be in the best of shape, given their proximity to the gym and need to walk a few extra minutes in their commute to class.

Overview of Lyman Lakes and Campus
One of the Lyman Lakes. Goodhue Hall overlooks the other Lyman Lake, and is just out of view in this photo.

This first year, I lived with Nikki, my roommate turned amazing friend. I’m a big advocate of the roommate matching system at Carleton, and I feel so fortunate that Nikki and I got paired together. We roomed together again as sophomores, and even went on the same study abroad program! She remains a super close friend to this day. As roommates, we loved to watch movies, make TikToks, grab meals together, and hang out with our mutual friends. We still do these things together.

nikki and zoe
Nikki and me on our study abroad trip, by the Baltic Sea.

Sophomore Year, Fall Term: Nourse Hall

Nourse hall was my dorm for my freshmen year
Nourse Hall.

Nourse Hall is one of the most charming dorms. One of the oldest buildings on campus, it has a lot of character and history. The “Little Nourse Theater” occupies the ground floor of the building, a space where comedy groups, acapella ensembles, and other campus performers entertain. Beyond that, Nourse is known to have a handful of “special” floors that students may elect to live in. The ground floor is the only all-male identifying living space, and the fourth floor is the only all-female identifying living space on campus. The second floor is a “quiet living area” and the third floor is “substance-free.” Other dorms have popular “first year living communities” as well.

Our Nourse room in the midst of move in!
The other side of the room: it was so spacious I had to take two photos!

Nikki and I only lived in Nourse Hall for our fall term of sophomore year because we both studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark during our winter trimester. Through the Carleton Room Draw system, we decided to live in a very spacious room! The ResLife website features descriptions for each of the dorms and housing options on campus, and Nikki and I scoured the room dimensions so we could pick the largest one.

My side of our room. I tried to get creative with the styling of my photo wall.

Our Nourse room was one of my favorite places to live. Besides having lots of floor space, there were two walk-in closets and a little nook with a sliding door (see the above photos for reference). We put our mini fridge in it, along with a comfy chair and some fairy lights. This space was jokingly designated as the “Harry Potter nook.” Both of us would take calls in the nook, and I’d occasionally do homework inside it. We even had an elevated “bay window” that you could sit on!

Sophomore Year, Spring Term: Myers Hall

A picture of Myers, Cassat, and the mini Bald Spot
Myers Hall, the building on the left.

After returning from study abroad, Nikki and I were each randomly assigned a new housing placement for the spring. While we were bummed we couldn’t live together, we were still put on the same floor of Myers Hall. I enjoyed living on the fourth floor of Myers, mostly because of the gigantic windows that overlooked the Mini Bald Spot. I could always look out my window and people watch.

An empty Fourth Myers room
An empty room on the fourth floor of Myers. Check out the huge windows!

Although it wasn’t the most memorable place to live for a term, it was perfectly pleasant and also well located. Like Nourse, James, and Cassat, Myers Hall is situated by the Mini Bald Spot. It is also right next to the Language and Dining Center. I enjoy living on the east side of campus, in part because it is in a residential area and next to my favorite quad.

Because I was only in Myers for a single term, I kept my decorations simple.

Summer 2021: Northfield House

97% of students live on campus all four years. The small exception to the majority are a select group of seniors who elect to live in the Northfield neighborhood. Instead of paying Carleton’s food and housing, they lease from a landlord separate of the college. This is called Northfield Option. I lived in a Northfield Option house the summer between my sophomore and junior year while I was working in admissions.

twins game
Attending a Twins Game in Minneapolis with my summer housemates.

I thoroughly appreciated living in a house among other Northfield residents. My housemates and I were still super close to campus, and right next to downtown Northfield. Although I will not be in a Northfield house for my senior year, I know a handful of peers who will be!

Junior Year: James Hall

James Hall.

James Hall is known as one of the nicest dorms on campus (if not the best!). While juniors don’t typically land in James (it’s mostly populated by seniors), I got lucky and wound up there. Here’s the backstory: because of COVID, my study abroad experience was canceled. Since the program was canceled only after Room Draw took place, I had to ask the ResLife office to place me wherever there was a vacancy.

james double
Lily and I really invested ourselves in room decoration right off the bat.
window sill
Our window sill, always filled with plants, flowers, and succulents.

Thinking that I would likely get put in an underclassman dorm, my expectations for my junior year living arrangement were low. To my great surprise, I was assigned to live in a James suite with three other juniors! The suites in James have a common room, a kitchenette, a private bathroom, and bedrooms. Our suite was a quad—it had two singles and a double.

Lily and me the day we moved out of our room at the end of junior year.

I was placed in the double with Lily, someone who I initially didn’t know well at all. I could not be more thankful for this development. Lily is now one of my closest friends at Carleton, and I’ll be living with her next year as well. From getting regular meals, to skiing together, watching movies, obsessing over the Olympics, bonding over our shared SoAn major, and more, I have absolutely loved getting to know her.

Senior Year: Townhouse

Picture of the student townhouses.
The townhouse row.

While I’m not quite sure what our townhouse will look like inside since I haven’t moved in yet, I’m so excited to see it! Townhouses are typically a living option for seniors. They are campus-owned houses situated in a row on the west side of campus. There are apartment units within each of them. They offer a more independent living option for those who want to live with close friends, cook for themselves (off-board), and reside in a house rather than in a dorm. 

Our townhouse is two floors, with a living room, a kitchen, two bathrooms, a laundry room, two double bedrooms, and one single. The five of us are ecstatic to have house dinners, cook together, brew kombucha, and most importantly, enjoy each other’s company. 

Because of these desirable features, townhouses disappear the fastest in our Room Draw system. Sophomores, juniors, and seniors are all randomly assigned a Housing Lottery Number that determines what priority they have in picking where they want to live. Seniors get first choice, then juniors, then sophomores (freshmen are assigned). Within each class year, the lottery number you have determines how early you can pick your room. The lower the number, the better. Out of an average class size of 500, you usually need a number in the top 40 to get a townhouse. Consult the Room Draw History chart to see what number you typically need to draw into certain living arrangements.

Super excited to live with my close friends.

Be excited for your college housing

Now that I’ve given a rundown of my housing placements from freshman to senior year at Carleton, I hope you gleaned a basic idea of what four years of residential life might look like. Of course, my housing journey looks a lot different from many other Carls. Some decide to live in an Interest house as soon as sophomore year. Others opt to live in a single room after their freshman year. You really can’t go wrong. It all depends on your living preferences, who you want to live with, and a bit of luck!

Launch Dorm Room

Zoë (she/her) is a senior Sociology-Anthropology major from South Bend, Indiana who loves traveling and photography. Her sophomore year, she studied abroad in Denmark and started a personal travel blog. When she’s not giving tours and blogging for admissions, Zoë enjoys frequenting the coffee shops in downtown Northfield, luxuriating in long walks in the glorious Arb, playing the cello, participating in club soccer, doing research with her sociology professor, and scoping out delicious plant-based restaurants and recipes. Meet the other bloggers!