One of the biggest questions I had when I decided to move away for college was where I was going to live. Besides a three-week summer camp in middle school, I had not spent extended time living away from home, so I was both excited and apprehensive about living in a dormitory and sharing communal spaces with other college students.
During my first year on campus, I lived in Kahn Hall, which is part of the First Year Residential Experience cluster and has a sustainability theme. Kahn is the newest dorm, and I felt like I was living in a hotel or an apartment complex because the facilities are really nice. Kahn mostly has doubles but all of the students residing there last year were not given roommates due to the pandemic, so we had a lot of space to ourselves. Something I didn’t know coming into college was that a lot of students hang out in dorms other than the one that they live in, and Kahn’s amenities make it a pretty popular place for students to hang out. Even if you don’t get placed in Kahn, you can always make friends who live there.
For my second year, I moved to the other side of Stevenson Dining Hall (aka Stevie) and resided in Asia House. Asia House is part of the Identity and Theme-Based Housing cluster, and in recent years, efforts have been made to help transition its status from Theme to Identity housing. I had not had that much experience on campus or visiting other dorms, so I was a bit clueless and lost when I applied for housing. I mostly went off of the descriptions on the Oberlin website and the blogs and also reached out to a few friends and acquaintances to hear what they thought about different buildings. I decided to apply to Asia House, because I was hoping to meet more members of the Asian community and also learn more about different aspects of Asian culture and identity.
This year, I was lucky enough to live in a superquad, which is a common room with two single rooms on either side. I didn’t know my roommate prior to moving in, so I appreciated the privacy and space of the superquad setup. Other students in Asia House live in singles, open doubles, and shared apartments. In my opinion, the bathrooms in Asia House are pretty nice, and it’s weird to say, but many friendships started when we met while brushing our teeth. Asia House also has a lounge and a library on the second floor, which provide nice spaces to hang out and study in, especially if you don’t want to walk to the other libraries. The Pyle Inn Co-op, a dining co-op part of the Oberlin Cooperative Student Association (OSCA), and the Free Store, where students can swap different items for free, are also located in Asia House.
My first couple of years living on campus have taught me that I really like having a single to come back to after a long day of classes and socializing. During housing selection, I prioritized securing a single room for the next academic year. The housing process seems to change slightly each year, and this year, some students were able to log into their housing portal and choose which rooms they wanted. Others, myself included, logged onto Zoom and spoke with a Residential Education (ResEd) employee, who shared which rooms were still available based on the student’s preferences and ultimately secured that room for the student.
I ended up in Langston aka North Hall for next year. I have had a few friends live there and have visited them, so I sort of know what to expect, although the layout of the first floor is a little disorienting at first. I have heard that North has nice bathrooms, and I’m hoping that the building’s close proximity to the gym will motivate me to go more often. All in all, I feel very happy and grateful with my housing experience at Oberlin, despite the inevitable stress and uncertainty of the housing selection process.