Oberlin Blogs

Directional Living

October 15, 2014

Esther Espeland ’17

Last year I lived in a quad of freshmen ladies on SciFi Hall, located on the second floor of Langston Hall, aka North. When I discovered this during the housing assignment reveal of July 2013, I was confused. I hadn't applied to live in Program Housing and I hadn't even heard of this dorm and why wasn't I living in Dascomb and I didn't even like Science Fiction. I had pre-planned the exact path my freshman year would take, and this wasn't it.

However upon my arrival to Obe I learned that SciFi hall was a lovely community. Everyone living there was very friendly and accepting, and there was a dope lounge filled with video games and stuffed squids. However, it was a hard space for me to live in because I felt like I was the only person without the shared scifi interest. In addition, North is a pretty isolated building, located not on North Quad, but directly behind another dorm, and occupied mostly by themed housing and upperclassmen.

Usually, the first semester of college, freshmen make friends with their hallmates first, but I can be pretty shy and easily intimidated so this wasn't really true for me on SciFi hall. However, there was a handful of other first-years living in North that I clicked with and we became a wily crew. We initially bonded over the oddness of being placed in Program Housing that we hadn't applied for, but grew close due to shared senses of humor and American Horror Story marathoning. At the start of the semester I was certain I would switch to a first-year dorm, but I had a lovely roommate in SciFi hall (shout out to Julia!) and I had friends in quality, if not quantity, so I ended up living there for the entire year. And contrary to the belief of my pre-orientation self, it all ended up being dandy!

This year, I feel much more comfortable in my living situation. I'm living in a quad (again!) with some of my closest friends in South. As can be inferred, South is located on south campus, near to the conservatory and the environmental studies building. A bit of an extra walk from the center of campus, but regardless, it's a great dorm. I love walking past the Harkness chickens on my way to class and I love how close many of my friends are now. Additionally, South has both a fitness center and dance studios where I have improv rehearsal, which means I could never leave if I wanted too! Muahahaha! That is, if I had no interest in eating or going to class (which I do).

While living in North meant it took me quite a bit longer to branch out socially, it was such a huge part of my first-year experience that I couldn't imagine it differently. The space itself meant much less than the lovely people occupying it, one of them being my current roommate! Every first-year feels differently about their living space, but where you live your first year of college doesn't have to define the freshman experience as a whole.

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