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Wherever You Are, Freshman Dorms Build Community

Ryan Sarbello/Villanovan Photography
Stanford Hall on South Campus is one of the most common dorms for freshmen.

The first month of school is almost complete for freshmen. This milestone is distinctive for its tapestry of new opportunities and lifestyle changes. This is an exciting and nerve-wracking time, and for many, the cherry on top is dormitory life.

The transition from one’s own home to sharing a space with a complete stranger can be scary, but is often remembered as the capstone of the freshman experience. Everyone has heard at least one story from their parents about their first year, and we are all developing our own “When I was young…” stories during this time. 

We experience newly-developed challenges with living with a roommate: the dividing of amenities, working around each other’s sleep schedules and managing oneself so as to not disturb the other half of your room. Due to this, the essence of your freshman year experience can be largely shaped by one’s dorm location due to their variety, location, roommate(s) and other factors.  

This leads to the big question: “Where are you living? South or Main?” Some eavesdropping upperclassmen may flinch as a stress response to this question, remembering its frequency their first year, asked again and again during orientation, but it remains unmatched in gravity. 

The usual freshman response is that they are on South Campus. A portion, however, lives in dorms such as Delurey or Fedigan Hall, which are on Main Campus. This has sparked conversation: Which is better?

The opinions of students understandably vary based on a few points. On South Campus, the residents of Good Counsel Hall seem satisfied with their placement. 

“I would live anywhere in Bryn Mawr if it meant I had a sink in my room,” freshman Hannah Sullivan said.

The sink may compensate for those painful 8:30 a.m. walks to Main Campus for classes, but what about those in residence halls on South Campus without sinks? Freshman Savannah Serf, who lives in Stanford Hall, agrees that South Campus is a good area because of the comradery among students there.

“It is a community of freshmen,” Serf said. “Spit is always filled with people I recognize and the lawn is a great way to hang out and meet people.” 

The proximity to the dining hall where you can be around so many similarly-adjusted students can be comforting in this changing time. Sounds like the place to be, right? 

While South Campus residents seem to have overwhelmingly positive experiences, the opinions on Main Campus are more mixed. For example, Delurey Hall resident Paige Corcoran dislikes the forced-triple roommates and location, although she has positive things to say as well.

“I would definitely prefer to live on South [Campus],” Corcoran said. “[However, Delurey is a] tight-knit, little community… I feel like I wouldn’t be able to have that in Stanford, for example.” 

She is not the only one who feels this way.

“I like being on Main [Campus],” freshman Maggie Dirkes said.

Still, Main Campus has its downsides.

“Construction definitely wakes me up in the morning,” Dirkes said. “They are always on time right at 7.” 

The construction she is referring to is the development of the new engineering building. Students housed near the site on main are receiving a $500 discount on housing this semester, and get first-day slots for choice in housing next year, according to Krissy Woods, University Director of Public Relations. Despite any inconvenience, Dirkes prefers Main Campus.

“Even if it is a farther walk to friends, it just means leaving a little earlier so I don’t mind being far away,” she said.

Being closer to classes and only a short walk from the shopping center seem to balance out the scale. After all, it may be nice to take a break from the sound of the default Apple alarm for “the beeping trucks, construction and yelling” instead. 

For obvious reasons, these students may be biased for their respective residence. To offer an outlook with increased neutrality, commuter student Kristen Webb has a more impartial perspective to offer. When asked where she would want to live, she responded “definitely South.” She had similar reasoning to Serf.

“[South Campus is] where a majority of the freshmen are,” Webb said. She also shouts out the Wildcat Path, saying it is “such a peaceful morning walk.”

Whether that settles the debate or not, both Main and South Campus offer many opportunities to build new communities of ambitious and interesting people. 

Villanova has so many ways to get involved and craft one’s own unique college adventure. Attend social events, even though they may seem questionable. Students can make great friendships from various social events. Look for a holistic approach to making friendships, and even if one already has an established friend group, they should still make friendships whenever they can. The more people expand their outreach, the more Villanova feels like home. 

In the end, it is not where one is forced to live that determines the quality of their journeys here, but rather the people, clubs and new beginnings they choose to partake in and surround themselves with.

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