March 7, 2011

A New Place to Call Home: College Dorm Rooms

Filed under: Uncategorized — publicandprivatespace @ 11:37 am

By: Allyson Barham

Graduating from high school and going off to college is something that most people have to be prepared to deal with whether they are ready or not. But once you arrive on that college campus then the real challenge begins having to live in quarters that are most likely smaller than what you are used to, living with other individuals, that you may have not ever met before. As a college student myself I had to endure this same exact challenge at the beginning of my freshman year and the way that college campus have us prepared to deal with these living quarters I don’t believe is nearly on the level that it should be at all.

            In a glance at some of the coolest US college dorms by Jennifer Shipon she starts out talking about how having a bad college dorm life experience can ruin your whole entire college dorm experience that is how important it is. She then goes on and talks about personal opinion of what the top 10 coolest colleges in America are and the factors that they contain that other college usually tend not to include.  Such as dorms with a piano room at Barnard College, decks, balconies and pools at George Washington College, or even gas fireplaces and view of the beach at Pepperdine University. If your college dorm is not more than just a 10 by 8 box where you are cramped in with another roommate/s you are going to be able to find ways that the two of you seem to get into each other’s ways more and more, whereas the special amenities created in dorm rooms mention in this article create something extra to help keep you occupied.

            Yes some college dorms have made a great deal amount of changes but for the most part most college dorms still have a great amount of renovations that could be done to make college students more comfortable in what becomes their own private space for at least a year. In A glance at some of the coolest US college dorms part 3 by Lonnette Harrell she talks about what these changes that are being made to dorms are and how it is affecting students. One of the changes that has been made to some college dorms that should be something changed in all college dorms is having a private bathrooms and kitchens. Yes it is seen as a great money cost to set this in place but having your own kitchen and bathroom gives you a great amount more of private space in your dorm. Plus some of this cost would be lost anyways because by having kitchens and bathrooms in all the dorm rooms’ people would be responsible for cleaning their own kitchen and bathroom, so there would be no need of a cleaning staff that goes around and cleans the floor kitchen and bathroom every single night.

            Creating more private space for dorms is defiantly a major change that needs to be made to improve the college situation for students. In the article 5 Reasons You  Should Not Move into the Dorms by Idalia Benavides, she talks about reason you should not move into the dorms, all of the reasoning’s have to deal with not having enough of your own private space. She talks about never having private space because there will always be roommates or friends around for some reason or another, also how it is noisy a large amount of the time and you can’t control when other people are and aren’t going to be loud. Another issue she brings up is similar to the previous article talking about there being no kitchen and if there is it’s a floor kitchen, that might not be open or clean all the time and also community bathrooms which means that you cannot always guarantee a shower will be open or the bathroom will not be being cleaned when you want to use it. The last issue mentioned basically sums up college dorm rooms, they are too small, unless you have some sort of special room your room will be small and most likely you are going to be paying a great deal for that small room.

            College dorms are generic rooms that are set up not for having the best function for students, but rather to provide students with the bare minimums to have in a living quarter and be able to function. When you go off to college you pay a great deal of money thousand per quarter to live in living conditions that are generally worse than that before college and even some consider to be uncomfortable. Usually with roommates you can find a very comfortable apartment that you can live in on a college campus and the cost are cheaper or very comparable to that of living in a college dorm room. This is most likely why many college campuses require that first year students have to live in the dorm rooms because after the first year of college students tend to move out of the dorms and into other living spaces.

            Colleges need to update the dorm rooms in order to increase the attraction to living in the dorms after your first year or however long the college requires that you have to live in the dorm rooms. If students aren’t as put off of the conditions of living in dorms this would not only benefit the students but also the college. If students are more comfortable and don’t feel that their private space is being invaded as much in the dorms they are going to have an easier time studying and not get stressed out about having their private space invaded. The benefit for the college is that if students enjoy dorm life more, even though it would cost some money from the college’s end, then they would probably be more willing to live their multiple years and the college would have more students paying to living on their campus and they would be making more money from housing. So by changing the living conditions and making college students feel more comfortable where they live it truly benefits everyone.


  1. Katherine Martin

    Overall I think your argument brings up some valid concerns. I live in an apartment, but I am still bothered by the noise level sometimes and I find it hard to work. That being said, no matter where you live there is still a possibility of having noisy roommates or neighbors. Some of the changes mentioned in the article you cited seem a little extravagant. Even though you say it is worth it to make these changes, I wonder if by asking a college to increase the standard of living for students, they will then increase the cost of living for students. If the cost of living on campus is too high and it is required to live on campus, I think that would scare students away. I also think that the large amount of money it would take to make dorm rooms nicer could be used for better things like upgrades in the classrooms. One might also argue that staying in cramped quarters is a good way to meet other students, and a sort of right-of-passage that students go through before the can move into apartments or houses of campus as upper classmen. The changes you mentioned do seem really cool and interesting; however, I am just not sure if they are feasible.

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 9, 2011 @ 10:27 am | Reply

  2. I think the privacy issue is one of the main reasons that upperclassmen move off campus, especially at UC. I live in a dorm, and although I love all my roommates, it’s definitely not a private place and there is always a lot of noise on our floor. Also, I don’t think dorms should be so overpriced. Especially for freshman dorms, with no private bathroom or sleeping area, you could easily find an apartment or house for a fraction of what we pay for housing as freshmen. Even if you are an extravert, being around people all the time can be tiring and stress-inducing. I just recently moved because my original roommate and I did not get along at all. I never really felt at home in our room, because she was there all the time and I purposely avoided going back when I knew she would be there. Like it was mentioned in the article, if there were nicer dorms available at colleges, more students would stay on campus and in the long term, the college itself would benefit.

    Comment by Sarah Williams — March 9, 2011 @ 10:35 am | Reply

  3. By: Kirsten Kipp
    After reading this article I think you have made some good points concerning living space in college dorms. I do not personally live on campus this year in a dorm but I know how small the dorms are and could see how there really is never any private space for the students to go to. This could cause problems with stress levels because the student could feel like they can never get any of their work done and everyone needs some personal space sometimes so this can just add to the already stressful situation. I also agree with you on your argument that colleges should make other amenities for the students to enjoy in outside of their dorm room, such as decks, pools, etc. If the college does this students will more likely want ot live on campus, which could help the college enroll more studnets and make their campus seem better. but on the other hand, I disagree with the noise complaint becuase you can have noise anywhere you go. I live at home and still have to deal with noise problems. My brother or parents are always loud so there really is not much of a difference there. College should improve dorms but some of your points are a little overboard.

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 9, 2011 @ 10:48 am | Reply

  4. By: Andrea Gillis

    I feel that this article does a good job of pointing out the disadvantages of living in the dorms on campus. The dorms are definitely too small for living comfortably. Although, students often spend more time outside of their living space than normal because of this which is a positive most of the time. I currently live in a quad dorm room, so I know all about the hassles that come with it. The main issue that concerns me that was not mentioned in this article is the lack of sleep dorm living causes. Since there are multiple people living in the same room, not everyone will be going to sleep at the same time at night. Some may even have to pull an all nighter and be up all night. When your roommate is awake, they have to have some sort of light on. If people are like me and can’t sleep if any lights are on, this would definitely be a problem.

    Comment by publicandprivatespace — March 9, 2011 @ 11:51 am | Reply

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