Thumbnail graphic by Olivia Abeyta and Kim Jao / North by Northwestern

Norths & Wests is a segment of the NBN Opinion section focusing on displaying opposing opinions on a certain topic. In this article, Life & Style editor Chloe and opinion staff writer Richard discuss the classic Northwestern campus area debate.

Chloe Que: When things go South, look North!

When I first committed to Northwestern and scrolled through those infamous Reddit threads – you know, the ones practically every first-year looked through as a rite of passage – I was convinced that I was a South campus girl through and through. I'm laid-back and a bit reserved, and I wanted a living situation that reflected that vibe for my freshman year.

And you know what? I enjoyed it. South Campus lived up to its reputation. While my dorm floor wasn’t the most social, I met my friends through classes instead, my room was a peaceful retreat, Downtown Evanston was so close, and, let's be real, Allison and Plex were way better than Sargent (and I have to admit, I still stand by that!).

But I was convinced by a friend to select Goodrich House on North Campus this year, and everything just clicked. Even as a Medill student with 90% of my classes still on South Campus, I've surprisingly fallen in love with living North.

First of all, it whipped me into shape. Living South, I averaged a measly 3,000 to 5,000 steps per day. Now, I'm hitting at least 7,000 – which sounds kind of awful in the winter months, but just wait until fall and spring roll around! I’ve never felt myself wanting to live South solely for the convenience.

And for those extra lazy days, the shuttle system along Sheridan Road is a lifesaver. Just download TripShot and you're good to go! You might as well learn how the transport system works anyway.

Moreover, my proximity to SPAC has made me a semi-regular gym-goer and protein smoothie consumer, which I never thought I’d say out loud.

North Campus also has me covered for all my study and snack needs. Mudd is my go-to spot for hitting the books (it is much less ugly than Main and less awkward than Deering), while Lisa's satisfies my cravings — ice cream, somewhat artificial quesadillas and weirdly amazing pre-packaged poke bowls. When I need to venture into the city, the CTA station on Noyes is just a seven-minute walk away. And I know this sounds geographically impossible, but trust me, when you find the right route, Norris is only a 10-minute walk.

But the real magic happens when it's time to decompress. When I want to unwind, guess what? The Lakefill and the rocks are literally steps away. Sitting by the North Area Lawn on the lake and watching the sunset is healing – there’s nothing quite like it.

For the warmer days on campus, North beach is also undeniably superior to South beach. It’s private to only Northwestern students, and it feels that way. Imagine having a beach in your backyard and tell me that alone doesn’t convince you.

However, the true highlight of living North is the tangible and infectious energy. It's lively, social and outgoing – the perfect antidote to the constant stress and pressure of life at NU. On just our first week living North, my friend and I had strangers help us move in and carry our heavy packages up the stairs. Trust me, you don’t have to be ultra social to enjoy a more vibrant atmosphere, I’m certainly not. And don't worry, it's not so distracting that you can’t lock in when you need to.

Still, if I'm being totally transparent, my one and only gripe about living on North Campus is the trek to Downtown Evanston. Back in my freshman year, when I called South Campus home, I was practically a local celebrity downtown. Need a fresh coat of nail polish? I was there at Dazzle. Eyebrows looking a little unruly? I had my go-to, The Threading Spot, on speed dial. Running low on essentials? Target was my second home. And the best part? It was all just a breezy five-minute walk.

Now? It feels like a whole expedition. But in a way, if you’re anything like me, it's been a blessing in disguise; my bank account has never looked better.

My friend said something that convinced me to choose to live North in the end: most off-campus housing for third and fourth years are much closer to South Campus, so chances are you'll have the opportunity to live South either way and have benefits like easy access to Downtown. But living North is practically a once-in-a-lifetime experience. So, to all the incoming students out there grappling with the age-old question of North vs. South, I say this: take a leap of faith, step out of your comfort zone and choose North campus.

Richard Kim: The great North Campus myth

When I received the legendary Lincoln (Schapiro) Hall as my freshman dorm assignment, I was beyond ecstatic. My first year at Northwestern would be spent at the best dorm on campus. I scoffed at those who got assigned to South, because everyone else at Schapiro seemed to as well.

But, after spending my second year in one of the nicest dorms on South Campus, I’ve come to realize some things. To explain this best, I will use the analogy of Manhattan and apply it to NU’s campus.

➤ North Campus is downtown Manhattan, under 14th Street. The craziest stuff happens here and everyone talks about it, but in reality, it’s a little too much action and status games for the average person to keep up with. Most people live here to feel like someone, even though they’re really not.

➤ Plex is all over the place – the center of the island. People live here because they couldn’t get in anywhere else they wanted, North or South. Gotta rent somewhere, right?

➤ South Campus is upper Manhattan, around Central Park. You have your elite rich folks surrounding the tree-filled quad with their big fancy houses. And then, a bunch of easy-going, down-to-earth people everywhere else in the area.

North has higher highs and bigger players. Athletes. Wealthy frats. Schapiro and Kemper. North Campus is also where all the fun happens.

But you, NBN reader, are not a big player. You’re the average person who came here to study, get good grades and get your resume ready to apply for your future career. Sure, you love to fantasize about going hard, but in reality, you’re not the type to get wasted every day. You need stability or you’ll crash and burn.

That’s where South comes in. Because while letting loose is fun and exciting, most of us still need a genuine home to come back to after the party’s over. Let’s do a quick rundown of South’s advantages.

Deering vs. Mudd is up to preference between a sleek modern-style library and a classy Hogwarts-type library, but Norris objectively beats both because it also has restaurants.

And speaking of food, it’s no contest. North has Sargent and Lisa’s. South has Allison, Norris, Fran’s and all of downtown Evanston. Absolute sweep.

In general, the nicest parts of campus (Norris, Lakefill, Bienen area) are all in South.  Yes, North does have the gyms, but the perks of this go down really fast if you’re not an athlete for the school. Have fun waiting for the squat rack.

Closest classes to South? Chill majors: arts and literature. Closest classes to North? Try-hard majors: math and science. The local personalities reflect this.

North is run by frat dudes and corporate wannabes. South is run by sorority girls and arts/entertainment people. Many might prefer to live in the second environment.

You love going out to drink? Or fancy dinners with friends? All the bars and restaurants are in downtown Evanston, right next to South. For campus parties, North wins, but most of those are exclusive.

Basically, if you came to NU as a frat legacy, athlete or ambitious social climber, North is the perfect place for you. If you’re anyone else, then realistically, you’ll probably be happier and make more real friends in South. And if you’re just plain unlucky, have fun in Plex.