At the end of freshman year I packed up my bags and moved back home for the summer. I wasn’t sad to see East Quad fade into the distance, primarily because I knew I’d be back next year. That’s right, I was moving back into the residence halls for my sophomore year. And boy was I excited. I’d be living in the same room with the same roommate I’d been randomly assigned freshman year. I’m in the Residential College and living in East Quad sophomore year is required. It’s a good policy for the RC and if you’re a freshman, even if you’re not in the RC, you should strongly consider living in the residence halls your second year.
The most compelling reason is time. Ann Arbor’s cut-throat housing market requires that students look for housing almost as soon as they set foot on campus. If you don’t have a house lined up for next year by the middle of this November, you’ll be lucky to find anything this side of Ypsilanti. Within your first month of school, besides learning the ropes of last minute studying and the ins and outs of campus life, you are expected to identify three or more people that you could share a house with that wouldn’t punk out on rent, slay you in your sleep or turn out to be losers.
But let’s pretend you somehow find four worthwhile companions. Off you go, tramping around in the rain, knocking on doors asking the current tenants if they are planning to live in their house next year. After you discover that every cool house is already leased out until your children enter college, you begin to get less picky. “Maybe we don’t need that covered front porch.” “Hardwood floors are nice, but really, linoleum works too.” “No working toilets? Well, the house is close to a gas station.” But you persevere and one Saturday you find the perfect little abode that hasn’t been signed yet. So promptly Monday morning you dutifully tromp down to the rental agency and try to sign the lease. Theoretically you’d be in control here. But no, you have to beg to look at the lease and your potential landlords look you over, examine your backpack, do all types of background checks and then, maybe, they grudgingly allow you sign a lease. Only after you’ve forked over a $5,000 security deposit of course.
Thankfully, staying in the residence halls for a second year can alleviate all of these problems. Instead of a deciding on your living conditions while the leaves are still green, the residence halls don’t require any type of commitment until February. This allows for ample opportunity to evaluate roommates and find the perfect person to share a cozy 208 square foot palace. Of course, maybe you want a little more, ahem, privacy. Don’t forget that there are plenty of singles that allow for a little more solitude (or company if you get my drift). And of course you get your choice of location. Maybe Markley wasn’t your thing but how about a nice double in West Quad? East Quad has sinks in most rooms, you know. You just can’t live any closer to campus without being Mary Sue Coleman or pitching a tent on her lawn (not recommended).
But living in the residence halls is more than just an easy solution. The residence halls are a social place where it is easy to meet new people. Unlike off-campus housing where too often people become cloistered and only interact with a few people, the residence halls are a hive of activity.
Someone is always up for any activity you choose. Bored? Rest assured there is someone equally as bored ready for distraction.
No, not everything is perfect. I love to cook and I definitely missed having a stove around, and as good as dorm food is, it doesn’t quite match up with homemade pasta. But I do miss the dining hall. I like big social dinners, full of loud boisterous talk and ample political discussion. Off campus living, for all its good eats, is often a little too quiet. With a little work, the drab d