I just got an email confirmation telling me when I can move into my new dorm room, so I felt it was only appropriate to make a post about college and dorms! I’ll be starting my second year at the UW this September, and my roommate and I couldn’t be more excited to be moving into one of the newer dorm buildings and getting our Sophomore year started.
The first year was much harder, of course. Thinking about moving in to the dorms Freshman year terrified me – living away from home with a roommate who I didn’t really know, worried that I didn’t have everything I needed or that I wasn’t personally prepared enough, it was a lot to think about. But, once I got there, I had no doubt that I made the right choice. My room, though not what my roommate and I had originally wanted, had a beautiful view over the water, my roomie was amazing, I made new friends I’ll keep forever, and I excelled in my classes. All I had to do was get out of my own way, and stop making myself worry about problems I didn’t even have yet.
Big change is scary – I know it always has been for me. But you can get through it if you decide to. Give yourself grace; you will need time to adjust, and to find your knew normal – with anything life throws at you, and you will get through it, get used to it, and come to love the changes over time.
As far as dorms go, they’re small, but a really good way to take the first step into your “adult life.” Though I was nervous to move away from home, living in the dorms was one of the best decisions I could have made when I chose to go to the UW. I live close enough to Seattle that I could commute, but I think it was really important for me to live “on my own” and get that full college experience that everyone always talks about.
The UW has two “campuses” for student housing, north and west. West campus is a beautiful new block of student housing buildings that are really more like student apartments. They’re modern, and spacious, and they even have their own bathrooms! This sounded pretty awesome to my roommate and I, and we applied for all six of them, thinking there was no way we would get placed in the north campus dorms (even though we put one down afterwards just in case).
That one just in case choice? Yeah, that was where we got assigned.
The north campus buildings are significantly older, and pose a striking similarity to large, concrete prisons when viewed from the outside. Needless to say, we were a little bit horrified. How could we end up with this when it was practically last on our list? But, instead of being upset about it and getting mad at the computer software that stuck us there, we decided to be thankful that we still got placed together, and that we were going to make our room what we wanted it to be.
Enter McMahon Hall: famous for it’s cluster-style rooms, balconies, and arguably the best dining location on the entire campus, The 8. We definitely lucked out. Our room was small, but we made it feel like a real home. Not to mention, our view was amazing. I woke up to this every morning:
It was a major plus. we spent a lot of time just looking outside across the water. Bellevue would glow gold in the sunset and we could always find a rainbow or two on a misty day.
Once we got everything up and stored, and we settled in for the school year, McMahon really did feel like home. I felt a sense of calm there in my own space that I had never really felt anywhere else, and I was so happy.
I had expected to go home quite a bit throughout the year, and my parents did, too, but it was already practically time for winter break when I realized that I hadn’t gone at all. I was so comfortable there that I didn’t feel the need to go home as often as I was afraid I would.
Now we’re getting ready to do it all again. This year we will be in the newer dorms, but now we can appreciate the extra space and our own bathroom so much more! Plus, McMahon will always hold a special place in my heart as our first home away from home (and we’ll always come back for the cheeseburgers and fries at The 8; Local Point just can’t compare..!).
I guess the point of me writing all of this is to explain that, even though I was afraid to move away from home, and even though we didn’t get placed in the room that we wanted, we were happy because we decided to be. If you decide to feel good, to be happy about the change, to make it into what you want, then it will happen. Don’t get me wrong, it takes lots of time and patience to change the way you think about something, but if you’re willing to work on it, you can bring light to any situation you find yourself in! Don’t worry about not getting your first choice, or making a big change, or deciding to do something new and scary, worry about what you’re going to do to get through those things.