Sunday, July 31, 2011

Buying Textbooks

Books aren't hard to acquire, but difficult to acquire cheaply. Typically, the more time you spend on looking for books, the cheaper you can get them. If you want to take the easy way out and just get everything from the bookstore, that's completely fine. Just know that you may have to pay a bit more than someone who went online and waited for their books to ship. For us bargain hunters, book buying is a kind of sport that is particularly satisfying. Observe the following conversation between the bargain hunter and the one who takes the easy way out...

It's not that it isn't easy to access books for all of your classes, in fact you can get every single book you need in the Wilson Bookstore. 
The only downside to buying all of your books there is that you don't get the same discounts you can online. The bookstore is convenient, but more expensive. They also rent books as well. Let's talk about different ways of getting books.

Different ways of obtaining books

TIP: Don't buy your books until the first week of class! 
This way, you don't have to worry about moving them from home and you can determine which books you need right away and which you'll need later in the semester. The other upside is that you can check out what other students are offering, as they will often put up flyers by the mailboxes. Additionally, if you decide to change classes you don't have to go through the hassle of returning books.

Renting v. Buying
Some people prefer to rent, some prefer to buy. Personally, I go on a book-by-book basis. Usually I can find books cheaper by buying them, but if it's cheaper to rent then I'll do that. The upside to renting is that it's usually pretty cheap. The downside is that you usually have to ship stuff back yourself. If you're like me and would forget your head if it weren't attached, the late fees for letting a book sit on your desk and make friends with dust mites may not be worth it. The only time I would recommend buying and keeping books is if it's for something that you find interesting/ might potentially major in. The upside to buying the books is that, if you decide not to keep them, you can sell them back at the end of the semester either to the bookstore (which has a table in Lowry for your convenience) or to a website such as There are also student representatives of Belltower Books on campus that will come to you, tell you how much your books are worth, and give you cash on the spot, which is nice.

Another piece of information that a fellow student and bookstore employee pointed out is this:

"Do not rent books for classes that take 2+ semesters, such as chemistry, biology, physics, foreign languages and mathematics. In almost every case, 2 rentals will be way more then used prices + sell back. Also, the bookstore is testing a in-store rental program for newer editions, and our rental prices are about even with sites with Chegg, with the added convenience of the bookstore. Also, the Wilson bookstore has an online rental program at that has roughly equal prices with other online rental sites."

Thanks, Chris Caventer!

Wilson Bookstore
When you go in the bookstore, usually they will have someone there who can help you find all your books for your classes, provided you bring in a copy of your schedule. The textbooks are in their own section at the back of the bookstore and are organized by subject. Professors give the store a list of how many are in their classes, and that's how many books they order. Therefore, with a few exceptions, the bookstore should always have what you need. This is very convenient, however you'll typically pay more at the bookstore than online.

Buying Online
Personally, this is my favorite way of buying books. Not only is it typically cheaper than anywhere else, but you also get them shipped to you, which means actually getting something in your mailbox (quite a joyous event, in my humble opinion). Buying online can take some time, since you typically have to cross reference sites to get the best price, but it's worth it. You also have to consider shipping, since that can bump up the price to what you might pay at the bookstore in some cases, so use Amazon student, or buy several books from the same site to save on shipping. for example will ship your books for free if the order is over $25 (excluding rentals). Don't forget about ebooks for the iPad and other tablets, as they are often even cheaper than hard copies.

The Library
Not many people utilize our library or the public library downtown for textbooks, but I believe it's one of the best ways to acquire books for classes. Granted, you may have to renew throughout the semester, and they don't always have what you need, but it never hurts to look. They usually have smaller books available, since they are more common to find in a library than textbooks. Not too many people are probably storming the public library gates to borrow From Bacon to Kant (which actually happens to be written by our very own Garret Thomson, a philosophy professor), which means that the library might be a good place to look for more obscure books. Again, the library might not always have what you need, but it never hurts to look. 

Behold the Bargain Hunter!

And now for the one and only...

Handy Dandy Step-by-Step Guide!
*Please note, this is more my personal strategy for buying books. It's not perfect I'm sure, and some people prefer to check other sites than the ones listed here, this is just a jumping-off point for those of you who may have no idea what to do.

  1. What books do you need?
    Determine what books you need. To find lists of what you need (and how much the bookstore will charge) you can go to the Wilson Bookstore online here to figure out what books you'll need. You can worry about recommended materials later. If you have a book to buy that is particularly expensive, it never hurts to ask the prof if you have to have the newest addition, since the older editions are less expensive. Make a Word document and put the titles and ISBN numbers of the books you need next to their respective courses. This way, you can copy and paste ISBN numbers directly into wherever you're searching.
  2. Can you get the book for free (or dirt cheap)?
    As freshman, you probably won't know a lot of upperclassmen to bum books off of, but that doesn't mean you can't take a peek on your family's bookshelf or at the local used bookstore. I once found a $17 book for $3 at a local non-profit bookstore, so keep your eyes peeled around your hometown.
  3. How much do they cost? 
    This is where you start the real bargain hunting. Look around online and cross-reference places like Amazon, Chegg,, and to see if it's cheapest to buy, rent, or purchase an eBook. You should check the bookstore's rental and purchase prices as well, because some newer books won't have very vast price ranges and the bookstore might just be more convenient at that point. Once you've found the lowest price, put the link next to the book in to word document, and the price as well. This way, by the end of looking up all of your books you'll know how much you're going to have to shell out in all. 
  4. Purchasing
    Once you know how much your books cost, you need to decide when you want to purchase them. Big books you typically need for the whole semester, but smaller books you may not use until later. Therefore, I would recommend buying books only AFTER receiving the syllabus. If you want to spread out the cost of books, you can buy them as you need them. If you would rather just not worry about it, you can purchase them all at the beginning of the semester. The first week of class you can also ask Profs questions if you can buy an older edition, or if they would be real upset if you shared a book with a friend. This is also a good time to ask how much the recommended materials are needed. 
Well there you have it! If this seems overwhelming, I promise it's really not. I use a more complicated process to buy my books because I can't afford to get everything from the bookstore (my tuition is mostly covered by the government, shout out to Uncle Sam!), but the process can be very easy if you make it that way. For all of the hardcore bargain hunters out there, I wish you luck, and would LOVE for you to comment later on how cheap you were able to purchase your books :) 

Happy booking!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Here it is- the long awaited *drum roll*-------------- roommate post!

It seems the timing is quite appropriate, seeing as how you should be finding out who you'll be stuck with living with any day now. I'm sure the suspense is just killing you. Anywho, here are some things to keep in mind when dealing with roommates. This post just might save you from a conflict some day, or probably only make you EVEN MORE anxious to find out who your roomie will be.

The Summer Before
So let's start with the here and now. Pretty soon, you'll be receiving a letter in the mail (how old school) and probably an email, or maybe a facebook friend invitation, or maybe there will be letters in the sky, but the point is, you'll find out one way or another who exactly your roommate is. After that, your roommate is gonna find ya, they're gonna getcha getcha getcha... on facebook that is. If they're weird and don't do the facebook thing, you may get a call, as they should receive all of your contact info such as name, address, phone number, etc. NOW LET THE FACEBOOK STALKING COMMENCE!

This will be you... just watch.

There are a few things you need to decide/figure out with your roommate before you arrive at school:

1. Who is bringing a fridge/microwave?
You only need one, so save yourselves some time and money and go halfsies on that ish.
2. What kinds of things do you have in common?
3. What things do you NOT have in common?
Knowing the above two can help you foresee any arising conflict. Best roommate advice: BE PROACTIVE and quell conflicts before they happen by being open and honest with each other. It's sounds obvious, but it's easier said than done.

Once You Get There
As soon as you arrive and meet your roommate, you may want to establish some boundaries within the room. Who get's which bed, closet, and desk? Are you going to each have a side of the room, or keep the space communal? Do they mind if Pookie, your giant stuffed panda, is pointing at them while they're sleeping? This is where you might discuss your weird sleeping habits or that you prefer to sleep with all the lights on and the TV blaring (I hope this isn't you, for your roomie's sake).

Meet Pookie.

For some, meeting new people can be scary, especially if you know you're going to be living with that person for the next nine months. 
Upon arrival you will receive a roommate contract from your RA. TAKE THIS CONTRACT SERIOUSLY. It's a great way to establish some ground rules without feeling like you're being over bearing or uptight. Another thing to keep in mind while you're making agreements is to (again) BE HONEST. If lights and noise bother you, say so. Most people don't mind putting in headphones or just using their desk lamp to study if you're trying to sleep, so make things easier on yourself, and your roommate, by being honest about what bothers you and what doesn't.

Things you should make a policy for:

1. Significant others- even if you don't have a boyfriend/girlfriend/beneficial friend upon arrival at Wooster, you may end up running into this situation later in the year. Don't get yourself or your roommate "sexiled" because you didn't establish a policy. What is allowed to happen in the room? Is it okay for you to ask each other to have the room to themselves for a night? By establishing a policy now, you can avoid conflicts later on.

2. Mess- Some of you are clean. Some of you are not. Some of you would be okay with not ever seeing the floor, while others of you organize your sock drawer by length, color, and thickness. Be honest about how messy you are, because your roommate WILL find out before too long. If you are a neat freak and are placed with someone who is rather messy, picking sides to the room and establishing individual spaces could help. Freshman year I found that if my space was clean, I could usually care less what the other side of the room looked like. Decide who is going to take out the trash when, and who is responsible for vacuuming (if you're a no-little-things-on-the-floor type of person, that is). You may also have to dust every once in a while if either of you has allergies, so keep that in mind as well. TIP: The cleaner you keep your room during the year, the easier it will be to clean when you move out.

3. Lights/noise/bedtime policies- You may want to establish how you're going to let each other know that the other is going to sleep so that they don't bring their elephant home to surprise and find you awkwardly laying there sleeping... or not sleeping because the elephant just woke you up. Anyway, sometimes shooting your roomie a quick text to let them know to come in quietly is helpful. You should also say whether lights/noise bothers you when you're sleeping, that way when one of you comes in late they know if they can turn on the light or practice playing the sitar while the other is asleep.

4. Social habits- What do want the social environment of your room to be? Is it a hangout, or a sanctuary? What is allowed to happen in the room in terms of friends? One of you may be a social-go-getter type, while the other may be a study-on-Friday-nights kind of person, so it's important to establish some social rules for the room.

Things to Remember
1. Your roommate does NOT have to be your best friend-
I was besties with my roomie from freshman year, but just remember that because you're roommates doesn't mean you have to be close, just peacefully coexist.

2. You may not end up with the perfect person-
Residence life does a great job of matching up roommates most of the time. However, sometimes things just can't and don't work out. By the end of my freshman year only 3 of the rooms on our hall that were originally established stayed the same, but everyone still ended up happy. Our hall was also not typical. Switches are possible, but Res Life will encourage you to try to work things out before they will let you move rooms. Attempt to solve problems before resorting to a move, and use your RA to help you with issues if need be. That's what they're there for!

If you're generally courteous, you're much less likely to get on each others nerves and the living situation will be much more pleasant for everyone :) What does this mean? Don't leave your things lying in common areas. If you spill something, clean it up. If you come in when the door was shut, keep it shut. Don't touch or use your roomie's things without asking first. These things may seem obvious, but to some people, it's not, and that's typically where conflict stems from as small annoyances build.

In all, I believe that having a roommate is a wonderful thing, and can be quite enjoyable. Sometimes it's nice to have someone around when you're feeling like you're lonely or disconnected from the rest of campus. Occasionally it's nice even to have someone to borrow clothes from, too. Who knows? You might even end up finding your best friend!

I hope you all find out who you're rooming with soon, and happy Facebook stalking!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Bringing Stuff and What to Bring

As the school year gets closer, many of you are probably thinking about what you need to bring. The task of moving your entire life from one place may be daunting, but hopefully this post will be a helpful guide in moving all of your effects from point A to point B!

Don't bring your chicken. They aren't allowed in the res halls, unfortunately :(

Moving from California was a challenge for me. The space I had to move my life was limited to a suitcase, duffel bag and backpack. I also ended up having to stuff a few dresses in my guitar case for padding, but that actually worked out well, because it protected the instrument. If you're coming from out-of-state (or country), I would suggest bringing only the bare essentials (the kind of stuff you would pack for a vacation at a hotel, primarily clothes). Then when you arrive you can simply purchase all the things for your dorm room at Walmart, Kohl's, or one of the other many stores at the North End. The other advantage to buying things once you're already here i that you know how much you can fit into your space.

You will need a lot of stuff, sometimes more than you might realize. The little things that you need around the house won't be available in your room. Things like duct tape, pliers, can openers, paper plates, tissues, staplers, chopsticks, dish soap, sponges, and cleaners won't just be lying around for you to access, like they are at home. It's these little things that you can get as the need arises, but here are a few things I would recommend having around, just in case:
-tool kit, just a basic one will do. You never know when you're going to need a screw driver to unstick a glow star from the ceiling.
-all purpose cleaner
-dish soap
-paper towels (you can also just take these from the bathroom if need be)
-cloth towels of all sizes
-extra toiletries
-storage things! One or two totes will work well to store things you don't use often, and are a lot more durable than boxes. These can be purchased at the Everything Rubbermaid store downtown. Seriously four floors of Rubbermaid. It. Is. Awesome.
-anything for your hobbies (knitting, playing music, throwing a Frisbee around)
-DUCT TAPE, trust me on this one.
-Command strips and hooks to hang sweatshirts, towels, posters, and just about anything else you can think of*.

These are all things you may want to purchase once you arrive, because they're hard to pack or take on a plane. Be sure to check back on the comment section because I'm sure there are things that other people will add.

You will need different clothing for different parts of the year, since the weather changes here. A good idea is to only bring season-appropriate clothing with you to school, and if you end up going home for breaks, you can switch out the clothes you need as the year progresses. Since I only go home for winter break, I have a "winter box" of clothes that I break out once it starts snowing and put away my summer clothes until spring comes again.

You'll probably need one good winter coat that you can wear in below-freezing temperatures, as well as a scarf and some gloves.

Detailed Visual Aid

Clothing is definitely the one thing you should bring from home and not plan on buying here, unless you can't buy heavy coats where you live. For example, clothes are made much thicker here in Ohio than they are in California. Therefore, I waited to buy winter clothing until I arrived in Wooster and could buy something more substantial than a hoodie. You can also hit up Goodwill if you don't feel like spending a ton of money on a winter coat, as they sometimes have very good ones for cheap.

You can't bring a toaster, so don't try. You'll just end up getting it taken away and that won't be any fun.
No toasters allowed, no matter how little and/or brave they are.

You can and should, however have a microwave and fridge. You can definitely live without one, since there's usually one available in your dorm. However in the past I've found it is more convenient to simply have these things in the room so I don't have to wait on someone else to finish before preparing my Easy Mac. Hot pots are great for making things like oatmeal and hot tea, cocoa, or instant coffee as well. BE SURE TO COORDINATE WITH YOUR ROOMMATE to figure out who's bringing what. Because seriously, you don't need two refrigerators.

That about covers it for now. If I think of anything else I'll edit the post as I see fit :)

*A word about Command Strips: Follow the directions carefully!!! If you don't pull STRAIGHT down, it will end poorly for both your hand and the paint on the wall.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Coming to college, you may discover that for some inexplicable reason you are hungry ALL THE TIME. It doesn't happen to everyone, but it did to me for sure. Luckily, there are plenty of on campus dining options for you to choose from that run all sorts of absurd hours of the day! But first, let's talk about the meal plan, because ARCH participants and their parents seemed the most confused by this one.

Here are some helpful definitions you can use to understand food in Wooster!

Flex dollars: This is money that is prepaid (as a part of your tuition) and can be used in Mom's, at Old Main, the Scot Dog cart, or the C-Store  Macleod's. "Flex" can also be used as a substitute for meal swipes in Lowry or at Pop's Sub Stop, however, you have to pay the "real money" equivalent, which can eat up flex pretty quickly. Some people spend flex quickly (having coffee before every class adds up) and some spend it slowly, like the people who only buy milk and a granola bar every once in a while. Flex do NOT roll over, so usually the people who have a ton of extra flex at the end of the semester end up covering the ones that had 100 or so too many iced mochas over the course of their first few months back to school. The meal plan (and flex) resets every semester. So if $450 doesn't sound like enough flex for a year, it's not. It's only for the semester. Budget your flex well, because if not, you may turn into this guy:

Super Mooch to the rescue!!!

Meal Swipes: Commonly referred to simply as "swipes", these handy little things are part of the meal plan that you select at the beginning of the year. These swipes can only be used in Lowry Dining Hall and at Pop's, but sometimes can be used at the Scot Dog cart for special lunches, such as Lunch on the Lawn (LOL).  

CoW Card: This is the physical piece of plastic that lets you into your room, gets you food, and swipe into some buildings after hours, but it also works as a debit card...kinda. TAKE NOTE: ONCE YOU PUT MONEY ON YOU CANNOT WITHDRAW CASH FROM IT! You load it at the bookstore, and have to put at least 5 or 10 (I can't remember which) dollars on it at a time, if using cash, and 25 dollars if you're using a credit or real debit card. The CoW card part of your ID can be used at Drug Mart, the Shack (a restaurant just off campus), and the bookstore. You can also use your CoW to pay for things at any of the dining establishments on campus. It's handy to always keep some money on there, since there are vending machines in all the res halls, and when you REALLY want a soda at midnight, it's handy to have around. 

Now that you know what the different things on the card mean, let's go over where you can eat. 

Lowry: The main dining hall (simply called Lowry, most of the time) is where we usually eat most of our dinners. The only other dinner option is Mom's (or possibly T-Bell, if you're willing to walk), so it's not uncommon to run into friends at dinner. People will often have a group of friends that they text and say "Dinner?". Thus, they have people to eat with, because really, it's more fun that way. EDUCATE TIP: If you are eating dinner with others, and there's that ONE PERSON eating slower than your grandma who falls asleep at dinner, don't leave them all alone, just stay. You might just end up having an awesome conversation.

Mom's: This is your destination for a quiet lunch or late night snack, or if you sleep through dinner and Lowry is closed already. They serve "comfort food" or, in other words, a lot of fried stuff. However, there are some healthier options available as well. Spicy chicken sandwiches, quesadillas, milk shakes, pizza on weekends, and chicken cesar wraps are among some of the favorites in Mom's. 

Pop's Sub Stop: When you're on the go and have a paper to write before class  you want to review your notes on the reading before discussion, it's perfect. It's usually very quick, and conveniently located in the Wired Scot (downstairs in Lowry). For a meal swipe you get a sandwich, drink, and two sides. The sides are usually chips, fruit, yogurt, or cookies. There is one veggie option and one meat sandwich or wrap per day. 

Old Main Café: The stuff at Old Main is a bit pricier, but always good. You'll have to use flex, but sometimes it's worth it, especially if you don't feel like leaving Kauke for lunch on a cold day. There's always really good sweets, as well as healthier options to be found there. 

Scot Dog Cart: Unfortunately the Scot Dog cart is no longer a regular lunch option, it is often brought out for special events. Below is an incredibly accurate illustration.

My artistic interpretation of the Scot Dog cart.

Kittredge Hall: Simply referred to as "Kitt", this dining hall is open for lunch 5 days a week and serves vegetarian meals. The food here is bought from local farmers whenever possible. They have fruit and organic-y stuff available, as well as all sorts of veggies and salad stuff. This is where all the rabbits go to eat... just kidding. They like to hang out in front of Luce Hall.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Let's Talk About the Weather!

Here in Wooster, there are things called SEASONS, something I was completely oblivious to before moving here.  I knew that there was winter, like with snow and stuff, but apparently there's spring, summer, and fall too! Who knew?

Anyway, coming from a place where 60º is "chilly" in the winter, I was rather confused. First the leaves started changing, then they fell off, then white stuff started falling from the sky, then, all of a sudden, when I thought everything was dead, IT ALL GREW BACK. Since many students are out-of-state or international, I thought this post might be helpful to those who have never experienced REAL weather before.
Summer (top left), Fall (top right), Winter (bottom left), and Spring (bottom right)

For average yearly temperatures and stats, go here!

You come to school and everything is still summery. It's hot, and rather humid a lot of the time. Shorts, sun dresses and tanks are still good to wear. None of the freshman dorms are air conditioned, so the first couple of weeks can be brutal, but it's not so bad if you have a good fan. Slowly, the leaves start to change, and it cools down a bit. I love fall because it cools off to a very comfortable temperature, and many days are 60-75 and sunny. Now is the time that the moccasins, jeans, fun boots, and cardigans or light jackets come out. By the end of the semester, fall is usually done and winter starts to move in.

At the very end of fall semester is usually when winter starts to set in. You probably won't have to bring out the real heavy-duty coats before winter break, but this is when pea coats with things layered under them (or just multiple jackets) become helpful. After winter break, winter will be in full swing (duh). While second semester is typically called "spring semester", it really should be called "not-spring semester". It doesn't actually start getting warm enough to shed the winter coat again until March or April.

*disclaimer: Winter 2012 was VERY mild. This is yet another example of Ohio weather.

For the last few weeks of school, just as things get the busiest with finals, choosing housing, and wanting to spend time outside after being cooped up all winter, spring will be in full bloom (literally). Now is the time to start breaking out the sun dresses and flip-flops again. Though, there may still be some days that are chilly. There is also a good deal of rain in the spring, so bring a raincoat and rain boots!

After the school year ends, summer really starts to heat up. The humidity kicks in, and thunderstorms and rain happen ALL THE TIME for a good part of June. Once you hit July, things start to get quite pleasant . I haven't been here for the rest of July and most of August yet, but I hear that's when it is most consistently sunny.

Weather in Ohio is notoriously unpredictable. This is something of what an average day might be like.
Today's forecast: a little bit of everything.

In order to deal with this, I highly recommend dressing in layers, that way you can add and shed clothing as needed. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Residence Hall: Part II

As promised, this is part II of the hall series. This post will tackle the monster known as the DORM ROOM.  There will be a list of things to pack later that will cover anything mentioned in this post.

The Space

         Behold, the sample room.

Each room should include two beds, desks, bookshelves, and dressers. In some cases you may wind up stuck with one bookshelf if there are ones built into the room (like in Bornhuetter). Compton also has some furniture built in. I would recommend NOT bringing your own furniture. If you end up in a small room, there won't be space for it. It's also hard to pack a car with everything you need PLUS Grandma's antique armoire. Many students choose to purchase a futon while here, which is nice to have around when you have guests stay the night, or if people just want to hang out in your room. Walmart usually has pretty good priced futons, but there are other places to get them too. 

Ok, so I know beds are furniture, but they deserve their own section. With a few exceptions, the beds are all loftable, which means that you put additional posts under the ones holding your bed up. So your room can go from this:

Jumping for joy- because there's room!

You can also bunk the beds, or set them up in an L shape like so:
Behold! The most detailed picture EVAR!
If you get creative there are a lot of things you can do with the furniture in the room. REMEMBER that if you loft, you WILL have to climb in and out of bed quite a ways. This can be troublesome for those of us who are less coordinated or tend to get stuck at the top... not that I've ever gotten stuck before or anything.  Anyway, I have trouble climbing anything when I'm fully awake, let alone half-asleep, so I don't loft, personally. Lofted beds are also really hard to make-up since the sheets are so hard to reach (if you're that type of person that makes their bed).  Lofted beds aren't for everyone, but if you need more storage space you can always loft your bed at the lowest rung and use a step-stool to climb into bed... or jump if you're that athletic.

The most useful storage space will be under your bed. Even if you don't want to loft, I would recommend putting your bed up higher than normal just to have the extra space. Don't count on too much closet space, because it probably won't be very much. Besides that, your clothes will usually take up most of the closet, especially if you like to hang up coats and things (or if you're a female). CLEAR plastic tubs are quite useful for storing out-of-season clothes and other items (most of us don't wear our Daisy Dukes and bikinis on top during the winter). After you arrive and you've arranged furniture, take MEASUREMENTS of a space that you think a chest of rolling plastic drawers could fit and go find some to fit there. They are marvelous for storing spare toiletries and things like gloves and hats during the winter, since they are so easily accessible.  Crates also work well for storing things and you can set other things on top of them!

I almost forgot the most important part! You'll want to decorate your room. If you don't it may end up looking like a prison cell. Get creative! Posters are sold in Lowry within the first couple of weeks of school, so it may be good to wait on buying them until you have your room set up. Posters aren't the only way to decorate, though. Flags, construction paper, kites and other things are cheap and can definitely liven up a space. If your lucky, your room could be this cool:
Decorations: Plane kite, curtains, glow stars, construction paper stars and clouds, and various posters. There was also a disco ball at one point.
Some rules and recommendations about rooms:
1) USE COMMAND STRIPS (sold at Drug Mart and Joanne's) TO HANG STUFF. They work exceptionally well, and the hooks are reusable! You just have to make sure to pull straight down, because you WILL get charged if you chip the paint. As a side note, actually read your Room Condition Report (RCR) before you sign it so that you don't get charged for anything the RA (resident assistant) assessing the room may have missed.

2) EXTENSION CORDS ARE DANGEROUS AND NOT ALLOWED! Rumor has it that there once was a fire started by an extension cord once that gutted a floor of Holden (the oldest dorm), so when your RA tells you this, they mean it. Power strips are perfectly allowed and safe because they have the switch on them. Many come with longer cords now, so that's a good option to take.  I would recommend bringing at least one and then purchasing another if you need it.

3) LIGHTS! You'll want 1-2 other sources of light, depending on if . Desk lamps are great for when your roomie is sleeping and you still need to study. Rope lights and Christmas lights are quite decorative and add a nice touch to any room! Just make sure not to connect them to each other, because that would be using it as an extension cord.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Residence (Res) Hall: Part I

There are two parts to this post. In the first, we'll discuss the different freshman residence halls and what they have to offer. I'll try to get some picture up in here, but I make no promises. Part II will discuss the room itself, what's inside, and different configurations of furniture to consider.

The freshman halls are as follows: Bornhuetter (pronounced "born heater", remember?), Bissman, Compton, Douglass, and Wagner. Like everything else on campus, they are named after the generous souls who paid the money to build them.  You will see the name "Gault" on a LOT of things, because, in my humble opinion, the man is an AMAZING philanthropist. Alas, I digress. Onto the res halls!

Bornhuetter Hall (AKA B-hut, Born)

Fun fact: those shutter looking things are ALL GLASS. Don't play kickball in front of this building.

This is the newest freshman hall and is quite nice. It's where I lived freshman year and below is a diagram drawn by moi (with my infinite artist skills) of the building.  You ready for this?

Compared to the other halls, these rooms are probably the biggest (outside of some rooms in Douglass) and are very rectangular. As far as set-up goes, usually just picking a side of the room is the best arrangement, but that's up to you and whoever is lucky enough to be stuck with you to decide :) The two wings are not connected except for at the basement.  Otherwise, you have to go to the first floor and go outside to get between. There are two sides to the building "Beall Side" and "Wayne Side", which refers to which street your room is along. You may get asked which side you live on, and you now know how to properly respond. You're welcome :)

This res hall features lounges at the end of each hallway, which is nice, and what I refer to as "Study Boxes". They stick out from the lounges, and have nice windows looking to the outside of the building. A great place to stalk people as they enter! (Jk... kinda)  The BATHROOMS are quite nice with showers separated by walls and each one has a bathtub and handicap accessible shower in it as well as four-ish stalls (I can't remember the exact number). Here's a bit of what the boxes look like, since you can't see them well on the res life website.

There's a bench in each of those nooks as well.  Each hallway has it's own mini-fridge and microwave, and B-hut also features a multi-purpose room with sound system and projector, as well as a kitchen to use, if you feel so moved. Born also has a parking lot behind it, so IF YOU HAVE A CAR get a pass as EARLY AS POSSIBLE. The north lots usually fill up first, so act fast! The only criticism people seem to have of Born is that it looks a bit like an insane asylum. The lights in the halls are very bright, and the walls are very white as well. We only ever kept half of the lights on in our hall, and it was fine that way.  Despite its hospital-like vibe when empty, as soon as everyone moved in it sprang to life. It also helped that we got lots of posters, because those cinder block walls in the rooms look awfully gloomy without them. On a scale of one to awesome, I would rate B-hut as an awesome, but I am also personally biased, since I lived there. 

Bissman Hall

I would have put a picture of the front of the building, but I'm a space cadet and forgot to take it so here's a lounge!!

Bissman was the home of the Greeks, until last year.  They have since been moved into houses, and Bissman was repainted, carpeted and did some other refurbishments in order to make Bissman much more clean and tidy.  It was in quite a shabby state before, but since the small renovations have happened, it is quite nice. The rooms are the smallest of the freshman dorms and make for a comfortable single person room (single), but a cramped double person room (double).  Mind you, there are smaller rooms that have existed, but it takes some maneuvering to get the right set up.  Bissman features a few Kitchens, which is nice, and a pool table as well. Another feature of Bissman is the parking lot directly behind it. Again, since it's a North lot you'll need to act as quickly as possible to get a spot.

The halls are separated into sections, and each section has it's own bathroom. The BATHROOMS have big showers separated by curtains. Not the most private on campus, but the curtains still do the job. Overall, Bissman is nice, but the rooms are small. Luckily there are plenty of lounges to hang out in, and with some clever lofting, it will feel like home in no time.

Douglass Hall (AKA Douggie)

Conveniently located right off the Quad! 

Douglass Hall was once the home for many upperclassmen, but lucky you! You get to experience it as a first year. Douglass, though old, is quite a nice building. It is a hall-style building, like all the others, and features a very nice lounge on the first floor.  There is a kitchen in the basement, along with a multi-purpose area featuring (get ready for this) A SHUFFLE BOARD COURT! That's right, all of you shuffle board stars that were disappointed by the fact that it isn't an NCAA endorsed sport, now is YOUR TIME to shine!

Like these hot young foxes!

"You see the cutie over there, Gertrud? MMmmM I'd like to shuffle his board!"

This is also sometimes where special lessons for LET'S DANCE! SOCIETY are hosted.  Want to know more about Let's Dance!? Email or comment, because it's basically the best (and only) place on campus to learn how to swing/ballroom dance at college.  <end shameless plug> Douglass also features and interesting attic area, that I haven't been to, but I hear is great for Halloween parties and such.

ANYWHO my experience with the bathrooms in Douglass is limited, being that I was only in there once after having to shower off from this adventure:

Mud sliding (and rolling) behind the PEC

We got clean, so apparently the showers in there work REALLY well. The rooms in Douglass, from what I hear, are a decent size, and there are multiple sizes from triples on down. Any upperclassmen who have more info on Douglass, feel free to comment.

Compton Hall (Classy Compton)

So classy...

Compton was once an all-girls hall for both freshman and upperclassmen females. Now it houses both female and male first year students. It's connected to Kittregde Hall, a dining facility open for lunch 5 days a week, and has many spacious lounges.  There is also a sacred space in Compton for prayer, meditation, or calling home when you don't feel like going outside. Additionally there is a very nice parlor on the first floor.  The BATHROOMS in Compton are quite nice, but do have showers separated by curtains, not walls in most cases.

Wagner Hall (AKA the Schwag Pad)

They got Schwag.

The Schwag Pad is not the nicest first year res hall. However, it is a prime place for first year bonding experiences! You should also be comforted by the fact that Wagner is getting a fresh coat of paint this summer.  It's not actually too bad, most people actually end up liking it. The only complaints are that the lights are super dim (so bring an extra lamp or rope lights if your placed here!) and that it smells a bit funky, but overall the people who live there end up liking it very well. The room size is pretty decent, from what I hear. As I get more information from people who have lived there I will be sure to post it!