Hey neighbor! Dorm life a treat if done just right

Student at Wheatshocker.

Columnist

Life on campus, for many students, is an essential part of the whole college experience. Many incoming students anxiously wait for that first day of living out of the house, but can just as quickly become “home sick.”

With staff help from various dorms and on-campus activities, that sensibility can be diminished and by keeping an active social life other than the computer, which makes college all they make it out to be in movies and TV.

Just for future reference, there are three living facilities on campus— Fairmount Towers, Brennan Hall and Wheatshocker Apartments. Fairmount and Brennan are designed for the more traditional students and incoming freshmen.

“Brennan has a smaller community feel, while Fairmount is larger and has more specialties floors, allowing people with the same interest to live with you,” said Katie Austin, associate director for Residence Life.

Wheatshocker Apartments are designed for students 21 years or older and/or work 30-plus hours. The apartments have more living space, complete with a kitchen. Housing for students with families is also available on campus.

Roommate picking is difficult for freshmen. Austin advised not taking the first obvious choice. “A lot of people pick roommates that were their friends in high school or your best friend and sometimes that backfires on them,” she said.

Austin believes the sense of community in the dorms is a major part of college life. “Living in such close quarters, it always means that something is always going on, so there’s just the chance to pop your head outside your door and see what’s going on in the hall,” she said.

During move-in week, which is the week of Aug. 12, a “Welcome Week” is planned for the residents to mingle and get familiar with their peers and resident assistants, or RAs. Activities include volleyball, a cookout and an ice cream social.

The Sunday before classes start, a meeting on each floor of the halls takes place to review policies and procedures.

One requirement RAs have is taking their residents to two programs. One is an event hosted by the Student Activities Council and the second is a “needs-based program,” such as information on tutors and campus study groups.

Austin said food is the main form of entertainment in the dorms.

“Students come to the cafeteria to get together when we put on programs. Try to provide food and that’s what really gets them to hang out,” she said.

One of the events is Midnight Breakfast, where leadership members on campus cook breakfast from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the Fairmount cafeteria.

“Events like these keep them excited throughout the year,” Austin said.

Each of the lounges has a television, allowing students to gather and watch highly rated programs, such as “Glee.”

Students needing a job can apply for positions in housing halls, including jobs at the security and information desks and as computer lab assistants.

Residents should feel secure, as the halls can only be accessed through the use of their Shocker ID card. Full-time staff members serve the information and security desk every night with members of the Cadet University Police Department walking the halls and parking lot.

“We hope to create a community that looks out for each other,” Austin said.

Safety and sanitary checks are a common occurrence in the halls. A usual rule that is broken involves fire safety, such as the no candles policy.

For residents worrying about curfews, don’t worry, there are none. However, the policy for a guest is they need to be out by 4 a.m., unless they’re registered as overnight guests.

Speaking from her own experiences living in Wichita State’s dorms, Austin’s biggest piece of advice for students is to put yourself out there instead of staying inside your dorm.

“It’s so easy to get in your room and be comfortable and not want to leave or put yourself out of your comfort zone when you’re new,” Austin said.

Following this advice and being willing to be outward rather than inward, there should be no problem in making your college days worth it with fond memories to remember.