I was simultaneously excited and incredibly, incredibly nervous about living in a dorm.
Excited about living the “college experience” of roomates! dorms! communal bathrooms! (not as horrible as they’re made out to be, in my opinion) and terrified that I would a) get a roommate who wasn’t matched well to me, b) have a weird floor or c) that the communal bathrooms would indeed be as horrifying as I thought and I would be scarred forever.
Thankfully, none of the above happened. Instead, I got a wonderful roommate who I have come to consider a sister, a kind, Zootopia-loving RA (who is my next-door neighbor) named Rebecca, and fantastic floor mates who give me cough syrup and tea when I'm sick.
At Barnard, we have a program called “First-Year Focus” which is essentially when your RA plans events and activities to help your floor bond throughout orientation and the rest of the year. On my floor, we have “Tea Time” every Sunday night at 9:30 where Rebecca opens her door to us for an hour….or an hour and a half...and gives us snacks and tea. It’s one of my favorite things my floor does--I get to meet and get to know people I run into in the bathroom but don’t know very well, see their adorable pajamas (I get a lot of compliments on my porcupine slippers), and eat cookies.
In addition to Tea Time, we’ve gone to yoga at Yoga to the People (only seven blocks away!) and gotten milkshakes, had breakfast-for-dinner, and various other activities. These have all helped to bring my floor closer together and to create a sense of community, something that helps make the college transition far easier.
My floor experience isn’t unique either; my friends on other floors have just as amazing RAs and floor mates. It feels like a Barnard Thing, where RAs are people who genuinely want to be there for you at any time. (Like that time the lid to my laundry soap broke and Rebecca and I brainstormed DIY laundry soap lid ideas at 10PM on a Sunday night.) RAs help to create a sense of home on your floor, and I’ve found that my floor (shoutout to Sulz/Reid 4) is nothing but wonderful.
Let me know if you have questions!