After weeks of anticipation, I can finally rest easy knowing that I won’t be setting up camp in front of the library, making foil dinners and singing campfire songs. Thanks to the arrival of my housing assignment, I can return my tiki torches to Home Depot. But while I would like to say that my heart skipped a beat when I saw the message in my inbox, that I let out a cry of joy/anger when my dorm was revealed to me, or immediately searched for my roommate via Facebook, that was in no way the case.
Granted, my roommate seems nice and I’m content with the dorm we’re in, but for me, none of this was really a surprise. Being a student athlete, I was notified of my roommate while high school was still in session and was told which dorms to request and in which order I should do so. Not that I minded — it definitely was convenient.
Nonetheless, for some of you, this was a much more excitedly awaited event, as was displayed countless times on the Northwestern 2012 Facebook group. With no set date for the assignment’s arrival, incoming freshmen shared their anxieties, at times obsessively, in one of the group’s lengthier discussion posts. But following the intense anticipation — for some at least — the assignment’s final arrival was met with disappointment when the unfortunate realization hit that not everyone could live in the dorms in which we freshmen have been led to believe NU’s social circle is rooted.
Which brings me to the point of this post: while it would be nice to live in the ideal dorm, fit socially and geographically to our specific needs, it would defeat what I have believe is the purpose of college. Part of our experience will be making the adaptations: piling on extra layers and leaving earlier for the longer walk to classes, or dealing with the social life of a smaller (or larger) dorm than desired.
Sure, I understand how many of you feel — after all, having had such a long wait for these assignments, I had begun to imagine what my college experience might be like and naturally centered it around a “life” in Elder (my first “choice”). But as it turns out, my real dorm looks to be quite different than Elder, thus changing my perspective on what this upcoming year may have to offer but leaving me just as excited and eager to see what I am in for this year.
I admit, it’s hard not to imagine oneself living in a buzzing dorm with a dining hall downstairs, in close proximity to all of the campus activities which we will attend with our entire, newly best-befriended dorm floor; after all, it’s what the media tells us that college should be like, and for many of us that has been our only exposure to the experience thus far. But, as was seen in the recent dissemination of our housing assignments, this might not be the case, as many students have complained to the administration or fellow classmates that they were not placed in any of the residences in their top 5.
So, it seems that the challenges that we expected from Northwestern are arriving sooner than expected and in a form other than midterms, papers and whatever else they assign you in college. Frankly, though, this may break many of us “unlucky” ones into the idea that we won’t have as much control over our security as we did in high school. Inevitably we are slowly entering the “real world”, and obviously things will be different. So unless you have the time and/or energy to do battle with the housing department and can handle the anxious anticipation of another period of endless waiting to find out your new residence, I (bluntly) recommend sucking it up and joining me in looking forward to what will still be an exciting freshman year.
That said, let’s take a chance with our housing situations; whether we’re in the “wild and crazy” dorm or the “socially inept” one, let’s work with what we have, and not try to let ourselves get distracted in creating the perfect college mold for our first year. If the upperclassmen speak with any truth, the different sides of Northwestern that we each want to see will reveal themselves to us and (no matter how displeased we are right now) chances are we will be pleasantly surprised.