My New/Old Dorm

So I’ve been back at school for less than a week – I moved in on Saturday – and have really enjoyed noticing all the differences between the dorm I lived in last year and the one I’m in this year. I do kind of miss my old dorm, and the people who lived there with me even more so, but I’m trying to look on the bright side by focusing on exploring my new dorm.

I mean… I laughed when I typed “my new dorm,” because I’m actually living in the oldest dorm on campus: It’s one hundred and two years old, whereas my previous dorm was built in the sixties. The style of architecture is a lot different – this building is prettier both inside and our – and the floor plan is so different, too! My previous dorm didn’t have wings, but this one does.

I’ve spent the past few days multitasking: Wandering around the building, discovering student lounges and study spaces I didn’t even know existed, and trying to open doors that turn out to be locked while listening to The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton. (I’m trying to get a head start on the semester by doing some of my assigned reading early while I still have the time and motivation.)

I absolutely loved being in the honors dorm last year, but there are so many cool things in this building as well: Massive lounges, an sizable exercise room, a courtyard (!!!) with tons of trees (!!!)  and picnic tables (!!!), and even a baby grand piano.

I’ve always adored boarding school stories and I have to say that that’s one of my favorite parts of college so far. I mean, obviously there are many other things I love about being here, but I’m going to be honest and say that I always thought it would be SO COOL to live at school. Well, now I do – and since I live in an older, bigger dorm this year, it means it’s even easier to pretend that I’m actually at Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters or Hogwarts or something. WHICH IS THE DREAM, OBVIOUSLY.

Other than that, one big difference I’ve noticed is that all my neighbors in this wing, and almost all of them on this floor, are girls. The honors dorm is coed, and so is this one, but the key difference is that there are definitely all-girl or all-boy sections of each floor. That’ll take some getting used to.

I do like that everyone on my floor is older. I’m in the Hawks Up LLC (short for Living-Learning Community), which is for returning students who would like to continue living in the dorms. So everyone is at least a sophomore – and very relaxed. There’s none of that freshman year anxiety. Even if they’ve never lived in this particular building before, or even if they’d never been inside it prior to moving in, they know how things are at college and it’s just so much less awkward than it was last year when no one knew what they were doing.

The one thing that will take some getting used to is that the bathrooms are locked and I need to bring my room key if I want to get in. You have no idea how many times I’ve gone over there and stared at the door before realizing OH MY GOD WHERE IS MY KEY I NEED MY KEY TO PEE. #thestruggleisreal

Have you ever lived in a cool old dorm? I love history, so I think it’ll be fun to live here and learn more about the building as the year goes on, and I’d love to hear where you’ve lived in the past. If you have creepy and/or gross stories about the dorm, that’s even better… supposedly the third floor is haunted and I’m just like WELL THAT’S GOING TO MAKE HALLOWEEN FUN I CAN ALREADY THINK OF 3059712059715 PRANKS TO PULL THEN.


About nevillegirl

Elizabeth. University of Iowa class of 2019. Triple majoring in English & Creative Writing, Journalism, and Gender, Women's, & Sexuality Studies. Twenty-one-year-old daydreamer, introvert, voracious reader, aspiring writer, and lesbian. Passionate about feminism, mental health, comic books, and cats.
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5 Responses to My New/Old Dorm

  1. Miriam Joy says:

    My college is reasonably new by Cambridge standards, which means it’s Victorian rather than 14th century 😉 So when it comes to living in old buildings, I am all too familiar with the high ceilings and disgruntled radiators. That said, my house is about the same age, so I’m used to it. (I guess it’s not very remarkable in Britain, haha.)

    I’m actually going to be living in a slightly different block this year — it was built in the 90s and I’ll effectively be in a tiny two-person flat. I’ll have a smaller room with a view of the bike sheds instead of the garden like last year, but on the plus side, I won’t get poisoned because I share a kitchen with fourteen people, so there are advantages. It’ll be the closest I get to having a roommate and I’m nervous as I have no idea who I’ll be living with and what they’ll be like.

    Oh, and as for the room key thing, we didn’t need them for bathrooms but our rooms locked automatically, as did the kitchen. The number of times I locked myself out and had to walk to the other end of college in my pyjamas to get a spare key was ridiculous, I swear down.

  2. Haha the minute I read the part about it being so cool to live at school, I instantly thought of Hogwarts and then, lo and behold, you mentioned it in the next sentence.

    I attended a boarding school from k-12 but I lived like 20 minutes away so there was no real point in living there. But I did manage to convince my mother to let me live there for the last two weeks before school started one year to help get all the new international students settled in. It was everything I thought it would be and more. I loved having a massive bulletin board I could pin stuff up on, I loved walking to the dining hall every morning and just chowing down on waffles and pancakes and scrambled eggs and then taking a chocolate muffin to go (SO YUMMY), and I loved having all these really cool people just down the hall from me.

    As I start looking at grad schools, I am definitely looking abroad so I can have that dorm experience, but I don’t want to get locked out of the bathroom . . . That just sounds terrifying, especially at 3am with a full bladder. Looking forward to more of your posts about your college experiences 🙂 🙂

    • nevillegirl says:

      Right?! It’s so great to have all my friends so close by. 🙂

      Ahhh, I didn’t know it was even possible to live in a dorm during grad school? What schools are you looking at where that’s a thing?

  3. Mom says:


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