Oberlin Blogs

The Pros and Cons of Living in a Quad

April 28, 2024

Ida Rosenstein '26

I am, and always have been, a firm believer in the importance of solitary “me time.” Returning home every day in high school, I would flop face-first onto my bed and take at least an hour to do absolutely nothing in the glorious silence of my bedroom. It was bliss. Pure bliss. I craved those moments when I could just take some time entirely to myself. So, you can imagine, one of my biggest anxieties about coming to college was the concern around having a roommate.

Previous experience from sleepaway camps, sleepovers, and hotel rooms with my family seemed to point to utter disaster. I knew one, terrible thing: that I slept horribly when I had to share a room with others. Any noises like snoring or heavy breathing was enough to keep me awake. Therefore, it might come as a shock that for my second year at Oberlin, I decided to add two extra roommates to the mix. Yes, I decided to try a quad. 

There are plenty of reasons you should consider a quad for yourself and plenty of other reasons it might not be the right option for you. So take it from me! I’m here to give some perspective from my own personal experience living in a quad. 

Pro: Every Night is a Sleepover

There is something utterly delightful about being able to simply be in the presence of friends during the lulls of the night. Curled up in the common room with Avatar: The Last Airbender playing in the background, nights are reminiscent of cozy, giggly sleepovers. There’s always someone to chat with, to crack a joke to, to have join your spontaneous Princess Bride rewatch. I can only describe it with the most basic term: fun. It’s fun being able to have impulsive movie nights or blurt out the first terrible pun that comes to mind. I always feel completely at ease and comfortable in my quad knowing there are people I can chat with after the long hours studying or just sit with and enjoy their presence. 

Con:  Less ‘Me’ Time

One thing that you will have to contend with if you decide on a quad is, in general, much less alone time. Having four people in a small space usually means there will be one other person in any given room. This isn’t a dealbreaker for everyone but it was something that became noticeable to me. I’m a bit of a social butterfly so I’m usually very happy to spend time with people! However, there are certainly points when I realized that I needed to be solitary and completely “off” socially in order to recuperate. Social time and alone time has proved to be a very delicate balance for me: I’m sure my roommates can attest that there are some days where I become an absolute zombie if I haven’t been able to be alone. 

Pro: Shared Snack Sources

Now, of course I have my own, personal stash. I can’t let everybody have free rein over my oatmeal! But having a communal snack area not only allows us more variety, it’s cheaper too! I’m certainly not capable of finishing an entire bag of gummy bears by myself but if I ever want a few I can grab some from our shared stash with no worries about wasting the rest. And it’s always nice when someone offers you their Thi Ni Thai leftovers as well. 

Con: Differing Schedules/Routines

If you’re a light sleeper or super picky about organization, a quad might not be right for you. Everyone has different class schedules and different times that they go to sleep at or wake up at. If you’re sleeping in late on a school night, you might be jolted awake multiple times from different alarms or people getting ready. The same can be said for roommates returning late at night or staying up while you’re trying to sleep. It’s also important to consider how messy/neat you are as a person. If you’re living with three other people, you have to be willing to grant a bit of leeway for various objects being left out, extra dirt tracked on the floor, and the paper towels running out much faster than usual. If you’re a super tidy person, it may be overwhelming if your fellow roommates are not. 

Pro: The Common Room

I remember, last year, when my friends and I wanted to stay up late, we would all huddle in someone’s dorm so as to not be too loud in the lounges and disturb those who were sleeping. The quads in Oberlin bring a fantastic solution to the sometimes-too-cozy crowding of standard dorms: miniature common rooms! It’s the perfect place to play board games or have late-night discussions with friends without keeping other residents up. It also provides tons of extra storage space for excess snacks or wall space for those posters you forgot you had. It’s a great way to be able to spend more time with friends who might take different classes and have a space that really feels like home. I love making myself coffee in the morning and chatting with my roommates as we all get ready for classes: recounting last night's escapades or wishing each other good luck on our tests. 

Oberlin has plenty of housing options for different types of students whether that’s a double, divided double, single, quad, triple. or off-campus. If you have three friends that you’re practically attached at the hip with (like I am), I hope these tidbits provided you with a bit of insight on if a quad living space is right for you!

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