Wesleying Unofficial Orientation Series: Dorm Living FAQ


Season’s greetings, everyone! It’s that time of the year again: the prefrosh facebook group is going haywire with questions, answers, and assorted chitchat as O-Week draws ever closer. So, as we have done in Augusts past, Wesleying is once again starting up its Unofficial Orientation Series to inform (informally) our incoming freshman class.

In this edition, we repost (as always) the original guide to dorm living by Wesleying founder Empress Holly-and-Xue ’08, because it’s damn good and we’re damn lazy. Fear not, however – old information has been substantially replaced, updated, and appended where appropriate. 2015ers (and especially excited others), click on past the jump for everything you’ll ever need to know about anything.

Q: How are the dorms furnished?
A: Depends on your dorm. All rooms have a bed, desk, a chair or two, and some sort of dresser/closet. Most, but not all, also have shelving, whether it’s a separate bookcase or planks stapled to the wall.

What your room won’t have: a garbage can. See the Facebook group “They Took Our Trash Cans So Fauver Could Have Fucking Plasma TVs.”

Q: “Are there floor plans I can look at?”
A: No. (Whoops. Actually, now there are.)

Q: How do I get shit to stick to my walls?
A: Tack. Double-sided tape. Generally speaking, anything that doesn’t ruin your posters won’t stick to the cinderblock. The lucky fuckers in Fauver and Clark are again the exception, as they have drywall.

Q: How big are the freshman rooms?
A: Also depends. Here are our personal sizing estimates:

  • Clark: You will share a small room with another person.
  • Fauver: You will share an even smaller room with another person.
  • Butts: If you are lucky enough to have a single, you have the potential to be a Wesleyan sex god. However, if you are in one of the triples they have recently created, god help you.
  • Nics: Single? See Butts single. Two-room double? Not too bad, either. One-room double? Ehhh . . . It’s doable.
  • Westco: You’ll be too stoned to give a shit.  Or, as one commenter pointed out: “so, as someone who lived in westco for two years and was from time to time not too stoned to give a shit, here’s a little more info- for the most part, westco is 2 room doubles and singles. of the 8 halls, 7 are like that, and the last one has 3 or 4 one room doubles, but they’re pretty big. and it’s a lot of fun, and a good location.” (Ed note:  If you live in WestCo, bring earplugs.)
  • 200 Church: An ’08 student says: “Normal-ish in most all ways including size but the walls are so fucking thin you can hear people next door breathe. But geez, you can’t beat the location.”

Some kids will have pitifully small rooms; others could (and do) hold band practice in theirs. In the past some students have had doubles to themselves, they’ve been squeezing freshmen into triples recently, and so, with even more students in your class, we’ll have more students in triples. Though if you meet someone who has a double-sized single, it’s totally okay to kick them in the face. They’ll understand.

Q: Really?
A: No. You kick someone in the face and they’ll throw you out of school.

A: Don’t be surprised if there are sophomores or even juniors living in your dorm/hall. It happens, this year especially because of a housing shortage. Be nice to them. Beg for food (they have all-points!). If anything, use them to go on liquor runs.

Q: How big are the beds?
A: Too big for your sheets (Twin Extra Long) and too small for imaginative sex.

Q: OMG I HATE MY ROOMMATE. Can I get rid of hir?
From here [Apologies – a site redesign killed this link]:

“A room freeze is in effect for the first two weeks of each semester. The third and fourth weeks of the semester are designated as a room-change period. Residents who wish to request a change in room assignment may do so during this time by obtaining a room-change form from any residential life staff member or from the Office of Residential Life. Students are required to follow the procedures outlined on the form to request the change.”

Psst—Reslife can still switch you out after the room-change period, but only if you have a damn good reason. But no matter what, remember that you don’t have to be best friends with your roommate, or even friends at all—just be sure to communicate and 99% of conflicts can be resolved.

Q: …’Hir?’
A: “Hir” and “ze” are gender-neutral pronouns used in place of “him/her” and “he/she,” respectively. There are people on campus who prefer to be addressed using gender-neutral pronouns. They’re also useful when you’re unsure of a person’s gender (i.e., referring to a previous poster on the ACB). Confused? Don’t worry, it’ll be explained during orientation.

Q: What’s with the gender neutral bathrooms?
A: Simple: In most of the dorms, you pee with the other gender(s). You’ll get used to it. (Update: Most halls vote on this during Orientation.)

Q: What are the fire hazard rules in my dorm? Will I get in trouble for bringing my psychadelic blacklight tapestries?! Fuck, man!
A: You can read all about the fire code here. Fire inspections are performed once or twice a year, but they don’t check every room, or even every dorm. Most people disregard the fire hazard policies entirely, but be careful—from someone who nearly burned down my room freshman year, the regulations are there for a reason, so be careful with your george foreman. And people do get fined. Quite a bit.

Q: Can I paint my room?
A: Yes, if you think it’s worth the risk. They’ve gotten stricter about room painting every year. Before, as long as you painted it back to white at the end of the year you could do whatever you wanted, but last year the RAs were told that inhabitants could be fined even if at any point during the year rooms were painted or otherwise defaced. And the fine is hefty—for a complete list of all the ridiculous shit you can be fined for, see here. [Update: However, unless the program’s been very quietly done in there’s a form you can fill out to paint a mural on your hall. Except for a few spots in Butt B and WestCo, there is a significant shortage of murals in the dorms. Do your part and apply! (And while you’re at it, find out for us what the deal is with painting your room.)]

Q: My clothes smell funny. What should I do?
A: Febreeze.

Q: I tried that.
A: Ok, well, if you’re going to whine about it, there are washing machines all over the place. No, they don’t take quarters, so don’t bother—they take Middletown Cash, which you put on your WesID card with a credit card. [Update: You can also do this online, through a WesCard link somewhere in your ePortfolio. I can confirm from personal experience that the balance is added instantly – so after you get confirmation online, you can go downstairs, swipe, and launder away.]

Q: WesID card? Middletown Cash? Points? WTF?
A: Your WesID card is your lifeline. You’ll get it during Orientation. Do not lose it or it’ll cost you money. You need it for food, mail, and to laugh at your ID photo when you’re a senior for the entirety of your college career. Points are the default meal plan monopoly money; upperclassmen are on all-points, but frosh (and, starting recently, sophomores) have a set number of “meals” and then a handful of points. Middletown Cash is different from points. You can use them at certain restaurants in Middletown as well as for laundry, and they carry over from year to year (points don’t). [Update: Check out a more comprehensive meal plan post here, or use this handy-dandy-but-yet-to-be-updated-for-the-semester-meal-plan-calculator here.]

Q: So where do I eat?
A: Keep an eye on Wesleying for a new campus dining guide as part of our orientation series. Alternately, you can check out last year’s right here.

Q: How do I register my car?
A: Good question. Bring your insurance, registration, and $75 to the Office of Public Safety (on High Street). You will then get a sticker that you place in the rear window of your car designating that you have registered your car. On the sticker, it will indicate what year you are and thus the appropriate parking lot you should be in. All freshmen must park their cars in the V-lot, next to the tennis courts on Vine Street.

Q: I don’t have a car! What do I do???
A: To quote Droz from PCU (the movie everyone knows is based on Wesleyan and won’t shut up about it): “Will you have a car? Someone on your hall will. Find them and make friends with them on the first day.”

A: Sweet! A Link to another post!

A: You can also ask for rides on the ACB.

Q: How far away is New York and/or Boston by car?
A: Shut up. You’ll never go.

Q: No, seriously.
A: Ok, well, New York and Boston are about two hours away each. Hartford is about 30 minutes away and so is New Haven. Maybe, I’m just guessing. Like I said, you will probably not go to these places on a regular basis. [Update: So in my experience, people fall into two categories  about this: those who go back home to “the city” or visit buddies at Yale practically every other weekend, and those who, as described above, will rarely if ever visit despite earnest intent. Besides public transportation (bus and/or train) or automobile, you can also travel to nearby metropoles (?) by some school-sponsored weekend shuttle services. Look for WSA/Wesleying announcements on the details of those around the beginning of the semester.]

Q: Should I bring a bike?
A: Yes and No. Bikes are really useful to have around on campus, especially to get to Middletown, but chances are you won’t need to go to Middletown often except for banking and maybe groceries (though the advent of the grocery section on amazon.com may change that forever [Ed note: It hasn’t.]). Also, since the campus is pretty small, a bicycle really isn’t necessary. However, the Wesleyan Outing Club often sponsors bike rides throughout the area that are a lot of fun, and if you need to go from the Butts to the CFA in a hurry, a bike really comes in handy. However, make sure you bring a lock—while it doesn’t have to be a super duper indestructable one, you still don’t want to leave your bike unlocked for any length of time (Holly had her bike seat stolen her freshman year and has never forgiven the perpetrator, and Xue had an unlocked bike swiped from the front porch). [Update: Bike thievery and college life have only gone increasingly hand-in-hand as time has passed. Get nothing less than a solid U-lock for your bike. Or, you could hold out hope that when it disappears in the fall, it’ll show up chained upside-down to the lamppost outside your dorm one night in the spring (true story).] As for bike safety, well . . . if I were a responsible human being I would tell you to bring a helmet and wear it always, but the truth is that most people on campus do not wear helmets. So, your call. Wesleyan also has a student-run bike club, Legit, that fixes bikes for free or just the price of parts.

[Update that deserves its own paragraph: There’s also a student-run bike co-op on campus that rents out bikes to students for something like $20 a semester. It’s been very popular since its inception, and there’s a huge waiting list to get one in the fall that won’t be getting any shorter, since the WSA denied its request for funding to double the fleet size from 25 to 50, even though Physical Plant already committed storage space for the extra bikes, there’s clearly more than enough student interest, and this sentence is rather long. According to the Argus, the funding was denied because the administration wanted someone (other than Physical Plant) working for them to be appointed to a new position tied to the co-op. Unfortunately, that kind of defeats the point of the whole thing being under as much nonadministrative control as possible. This is kind of related to the reason Wesleying doesn’t get (and never asks for) WSA funding – we’d rather not be beholden to anyone if we don’t have to, especially since we occasionally post opinions read and agreed or disagreed with by much of the student body, administration, and occasionally outsiders. So regardless of whether you enjoyed that little rant or not, hopefully a lot more people will be able to rent decent bikes for cheap in the spring. Your chances for the fall, however, are slim-to-none.]

Q: What’s in Middletown?
A: Quite a bit if you stop bitching about how it’s not New York or Boston. [Lots of people have written about what’s available in Middletown on the World Wide Wes. Check out this, that, this, or that to start. Also, you’re probably going to read about a lot of events at the Green Street Arts center on this blog. Go to them. They bring health and happiness to all who accept them into their hearts.]

Q: Can I bring my dog/cat/bearded dragon?
A: No, sorry. Six(?) years ago, Reslife overhauled the faustian housing contract to exclude all incoming pets with the exception of fish.

However, this does mean you can bring awesome fish to Wesleyan.

Fish We Recommend:
– Barracuda
– Piranha
– Sharks
– Stingrays
– Candiru

Q: Where can I find liquid refreshment?
A: If you’re smart enough to get into Wesleyan, you’re smart enough to figure this out on your own within the first 48 hours of stepping onto campus. [If for some reason campus services are out, Middletown is conveniently located next to a river containing a substantial amount of liquid refreshment.]

Q: What about other . . . sorts of . . . err . . .
A: It will be offered to you. Don’t worry. If they aren’t offered to you, get cooler. See our guide to being cool (Ed note: Never actually written). [Update: If I get on top of my shit in the next week, I might actually write one because it’s a great opportunity to link to Wesleyan internet lore. If I never get to it, you can just ask me in person and I’ll direct you to plenty of literature on the subject.]

Q: I’m straight-edge/don’t drink/smoke. Will I be left out?
A: Not at all! You’ll be offered all kinds of things out of goodwill and the spirit of sharing. Just say no, repeat, and people will remember.

Q: What happens if I get sick?
A: First of all, get rid of that mindset and change that question to “What happens when I get sick,” because it will happen. Sorry. The most common illnesses that go around campus are the common cold, the flu, and mono. Unfortunately, you’ll just have to tough it out, though if you’re really ill, it’s worth it to e-mail your professors and usually they’ll grant you an extension or understand if you skip class (really! They’re nice people!). Weshop sells an assortment of cold remedies, and if you go to health services, they’ll give you a little cold-care pack of ibuprofen and cough drops.

Other rarer inflictions: You will sometimes hear people refer to “The Gastro”. This is because there was practically a gastroenteritis epidemic a few winters ago, a.k.a. the two-day shit-and-vomit extravaganza. The health center also offers gyno exams and tests for every STD imaginable, though you have to pay for those. They also offer Plan B and Orthotricyclen-Lo for ridiculously low subsidized prices. Also, Eclectic usually hosts free STD testing—last semester nobody had anything bad, which was very Go Wes! Medical emergency? Call P-safe and they’ll send a nice officer to escort you to the Middlesex Hospital. Super-duper medical emergency? Call 911. Estrella Lopez ’07 adds:

It’s not a bad idea to bring some of the stuff mommy would give you if you were sick, because trekking to the health center when it is snowy and you are sick just to get some Advil is not fun.

A thermometer might be a good investment, too. Tea, honey, and cough drops are also your friends.

Q: Do I have to pay for my own condoms?
A: NO! Weswell, an office on the second floor of Davison Health Center, has an entire room of sexual health information, including a wide assortment of condoms, lubes, and other items. You can visit it at any time the health center is open and pick up what you need. Please don’t rely on your RA stocking the bathroom with condoms as the one big idiot on your hall will take them all and turn them into water balloons leaving you sexually stranded come Saturday night.

Q: My neighbor is hot. Should I . . .
A: NO! Hall booty is bad booty. You will hear this many times at Wesleyan throughout your career as a freshman. You will spend huge wads of time with the people on your hall for the first couple of months as you cling to each other for social warmth. This is all well and good and we all do it, but a warning:


You share a bathroom with them. Your friends are their friends. You will see them in the hall every day. Every day. No exceptions. When you break up, you will see who they’re bringing home on Friday nights. They will see who you’re bringing home on Friday nights. They will see you not bringing anyone home on Friday night and playing the Sims 3: World Adventures (Reference updated to reflect advancements in technology Ed) alone in your underwear.

It’s just not a good idea. I’ve seen hallcest end badly, very, very badly, and it ruins the entire hall for everyone.

[Update: To take the path less traveled by, TOTALLY SEX UP YOUR NEIGHBOR and DON’T STOP TALKING TO THEM AFTERWARDS BECAUSE YOU SEXED THEM UP! Post-hookup awkwardness is a social construct, like gender or a liberal arts college.]

Now I guess Dormcest should be addressed. Dormcest is not the same thing as Hallcest. I’m just going to say that and drop it. Thanks. Ok, bye.

Q: Do I really have to attend everything in the packet that’s required during Orientation week?
A: You’re in college. Nothing is mandatory anymore. That said, it’s still highly recommended—the Orientation staff has worked hard all summer putting these events together, they’re fun, you’ll meet people, and you might learn something in the process.

Q: How do I earn money?
A: If you’re on financial aid, go here and look at the job postings. Not work/study? Go look at the job postings anyways. Most of the time they will still hire you; they just can’t pay you as much. Science geek looking for a lab to call home? Find a faculty member that interests you, read a bit about their work, and then set up a meeting. Want some non-Wesleyan-affiliated monies? A lot of students sell their used textbooks on half.com or ebay. [Update: Or, go the classic route and actually get a part-time gig off campus. I don’t know a lot of people who have jobs on Main Street, but all of the ones I do know are awesome people. Be like them.]

Q: What are these mythical tunnels?
A: See here. If you’re more of a visual learner, fear not – after a few months, plenty of your friends will have facebook photo albums and maybe even profile pictures featuring the walls of the EastCo tunnels.

Q: Is there Greek life on campus?
A: Post forthcoming.

Got questions? Get answers. Email us at staffATwesleyingDORTorg or leave a helpful, friendly, respectful, well-articulated comment in the comments box (ha!) and we’ll see what we can do.

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14 thoughts on “Wesleying Unofficial Orientation Series: Dorm Living FAQ

  1. Pingback: 2015: Triple the Fun – Wesleying

  2. OL

    Okay, for real, someone needs to answer the “how to get to New York/Boston” question legitimately. I go all the time (I’m in the “my boyfriend goes to school in NY category) and it’s rather easy. I wish I had known this as a freshman:

    There’s a shuttle once a day on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. It goes to New Haven train station (Union Station) from the front of Usdan (the street side, obviously) and then from the train station back to Usdan. The ride is about 45 minutes give or take. You can get tickets for it at the university box office (also in Usdan) and you can pay with your WesCard if you want. Tickets are $10 EACH WAY. Yes, it’s a rip-off. But what can you do? If you buy tickets in advance, they’ll usually wait around for five minutes or so and call you if you don’t show up. If you’re terrified of being stranded in the middle of New Haven, it’s a good idea to get tickets in advance. Otherwise, you can buy your ticket from the driver with cash – though there’s no guarantee that there will be room in the shuttle on busy weekends. The link to the schedule is here: http://www.wesleyan.edu/transportation/newhaven_shuttle.html

    Once you get to Union Station, you can get almost anywhere you want via Metro North. You will almost always be traveling at “off-peak times” if you are taking the Wesleyan shuttle to the station, so you’ll get a cheaper fair. You can buy your tickets at any of the machines in the lobby. Your ticket will be for ANY OFF-PEAK TIME TRIP (or peak-time trip, if you think you’ll be traveling during a peak-time). You will not buy a ticket for a specific date and hour, just peak or off-peak, one-way or round-trip. You can, however, check the Metro North Schedule here, to plan your trip.

    In conclusion – getting places, especially New York, is not that hard. You just have to be prepared to go on the Wesleyan shuttle’s schedule or find another ride.

    Hope this helps, my froshy friends!

    PS. Non-Wes people CAN ride on the wesleyan shuttle. It helps if you make a reservation for them (the driver will have a list of names that have reserved tickets, and they don’t care if the person riding is not the person who bought the tickets) but anyone can also buy a ticket for the shuttle on the spot, so long as they are on time. 

    PPS. There are also university-sponsored busses that go to NYC and Boston (and sometimes other places, I’ve heard) at the beginning and end of breaks – i.e. fall break, Thanksgiving, winter, etc. You will get an e-mail about these and you can purchase at the box office. They DO sell out, so buy them as soon as you can.

    1. Giant Joint

      actually they don’t call you if you don’t show up!  i missed a shuttle once and didn’t see why they couldn’t do a simple thing like making a call , since i did purchase a ticket and they should just ask for my number when i’m purchasing a ticket.  not that hard.  i was also hight…but still !

  3. Safiftyseven

    There are also now triples in Fauver this year due to the freshman overflow.  So if you’re going to get a triple, might as well be in a big Butts room.

    1. Anonymous

      Ask Bun Bun: http://wesleying.org/2011/05/01/happening-now-killer-rabbit-of-caerbannog-on-foss-hill/

  4. junior

    Re: question about getting off-campus. There’s also the RideBoard, in your e-portfolio. Ask for/offer rides.

  5. senior

    FYI that double sided poster tape stuff took the paint off my wall in fauver a few years back…big fine for that after unsuccessfully trying to repaint the wall that weird beige….

      1. tybg

        buy yourself some packing tape, that shit will stick to anything
        also, word to the wise, if you’re planning on putting up posters using that kind of tape, tape other pieces of paper onto your posters where you’ll be applying the tape, and then tape those random pieces of paper to the wall with your poster attached. This way you shred off some random printer paper at the end of the year instead of half of your twilight: new moon poster

  6. Peer Health Advocates

    WesWell has lube! We have lube (water-based; comes in assorted fruit flavors), condoms (latex and non-latex) and dental dams (latex; if you are allergic to latex you can make a dental dam out of non-latex condoms). 

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