Tag Archives: roommates

Unofficial Orientation 2016: Dorm Living FAQ

Holly and Xue wrote the first version of this post in 2006 and it has been reposted every year since then.  Dorm Life never changes much. Unless Fauver becomes Bennett.

Pictured: A bright-eyed young freshman shakes his groove thang, eager to impress his lofty peers. Taken by Rachel Pincus '13.

Pictured: A bright-eyed young freshman shakes his groove thang, eager to impress his lofty peers. Taken by Rachel Pincus ’13.

Dear frosh of 2020,

As you are probably fretting about your first day of college, a sense of melancholy (or jittery excitement and increased WesAdmits activity, if you hated high school) has creeped up on you. Are you making lists of toiletries and getting boxes from Staples to pack your life into? Wondering how much action your soon-to-be bed has gotten in the past? A lot, probably.

But don’t be too frazzled. Before you finish your housing form, get your roommate(s) assignment, and make dorm Facebook groups that no one will check after October, Wesleying‘s here to answer your 40ish most pressing questions related to waking-up-and-instantly-having-200-or-so-of-your-peers-to-hang-out-with.

The pertinent FAQ doesn’t change much from year to year, so we tend to update/repost much of the original guide by Norse Goddess Holly-and-Xue ’08 (cuz it’s still damn good and we’re still damn lazy) every year. This re-vamped guide is up to date and full of Wesleyan lingo:

Sexty Five Pearl Residents Blog, Are Sexty

Earlier this week we put out a call for study abroad blogs, from all programs and locales, of all shapes and sizes. What we actually received was a lil bit different: a captivating glimpse into the daily world of “five Wesleyan student doing a domestic program over on Pearl Street, sort of behind Russell House.” They are Caitlin Palmer ’13, Tobias Butler ’13, Anna Swartz ’13, Emily Black ’13, and Hilary Rappaport ’13. But together, they are Sexty Five Pearl. WHATUPPPPPP.

The adventures are beyond stimulating: sometimes they install shower heads, sometimes they make artichoke dip, but always they blog about it, and why not? They even have a doorbell! We spoke with Sexty-Five correspondent Anna Swartz and sought to learn more about what makes Sexty Five Pearl so goddamn titillating and sexty . . .

Yeah! My Mom Googled You over the Summer…

I. Love. Helicopter. Parents. I DO! I love them so much I’m devoting part of my thesis to them. Ever since I started looking at colleges, I’ve been obsessed with those parents who do that one-finger, ask a stupid question answered in the guidebook already thing at every college I ever looked at. And they do ask the most inane things.

When I was a tour guide here, I used to get asked questions like if students got report cards mailed home or whether it was possible to bribe Reslife to ensure that our daughter Katie ends up in Westco and not the Butts. I’ve been told extensively about a prospective student’s serious mental problems and asked how they would be accommodated at Wesleyan (Um. Yeah, I’m just a tour guide. I’d have no idea. So, this is Fisk. This is where the languages are taught. Yeah. Ok. Over there–). I’ve been asked so many ridiculous questions like “Are there many Jewish boys at Wesleyan? I wouldn’t want my daughter to go to a school without any straight boys,” (yeah, what?) or “Is it true that they still cook meth in the tunnels? An alum friend of mine told me that once.”

Yeah, so helicopter parents. MY FAVORITE.

Anyway, my friend sent me this link from College Confidential, which is replete with the craziest of helicopter parents. This question is great:

“When DD got her room assignment, she also got her roommates information, and I googled them – only found good information on them, nothing negative. My husband thinks I overstepped my bounds by doing this – what do you think? Did anyone else google their child’s roommates or am I just the nosiest parker that ever lived?”

Best responses to this inquiry?

  • “Your child is doing the very same thing on Facebook. Why shouldn’t you do it on Google?”
  • I must confess I have done this too, especially before this summer’s internship when D was going to room with three girls from different schools. She knew I was doing this and laughed it off saying “Mom, you are such a stalker!”
  • Sure, why not Google the roommates. I’ve Googled S’s professors, teaching assistants, etc. The info is public, why not use it?
  • Just talked to a friend who googled her son’s roommate. She has been losing sleep over the pairing; S, who went to a diverse public HS, listed himself as “atheist,” and roommate is a home-schooled fundamentalist Christian. Her older son had almost as extreme a pairing a few years ago, with disastrous results. I think it’s better to know this ahead of time…
  • Why wouldn’t a responsible parent do the same for the person their kid would live with, or in the case of a boyfriend/girlfriend, share their intimate life with? And what it your own daughter has photos of herself on facebook in her underwear? Wouldn’t you sit her down and have a talk? This stuff is posted by the kids themselves for all the world to see.

Ok, granted, I got a single my freshman year (nanner nanner) but good God and gravy would this not freak me the fuck out.

Don’t want to be homeless next fall? *

Okay, so I know room selection seems like it’s AGES from now, but I figured I’d give a short update on some of the changes for the upcoming year. I think these were briefly discussed in the Argus last semester…I apologize if this is boring or redundant.

In the past, every class year (aside from new students) has been given the opportunity to form groups of 1-6 people to enter into the housing lottery. This year, things are different…

  • Class of ’08 (rising seniors): May create housing groups of 1-6 people.
  • Class of ’09 (rising juniors): May create groups of 1-4 people.
  • Class of ’10 (rising sophomores): May create groups of 1-2 people.

This may seem strange at first glance, but the Undergraduate Residential Life Committee (URLC) came to this decision after analyzing the availability of class-appropriate housing for each class year. In reality, there is no housing unit that is made specifically for 6 sophomores. Therefore, it creates the unrealistic expectation that 6 people will definitely be living together. The hopes are that this will eliminate the great amount of frustration associated with the housing lottery.

The consequences are that all you ’10ers need to find one really good friend…OR YOU’RE ON YOUR OWN. GASP!

* This post will be of no aid to the class of ’07 in avoiding homelessness. Especially if you’re an art or philosophy major. Sorry.

What Wesleyan ain’t doin…

So we’ve talked the roommate talk quite a bit here at Wesleying. The chances of you not getting along with your freshman co-habitant are kinda high, sorry (but the chances of you loving them are also high, so woo!?).

But at some college across the country, they’ve turned what Wesleyan does pretty arbitrarily into a pseudo-science…by outsourcing it.

From the NYtimes:

WebRoomz, which fills beds at 20 universities, offers a customizable questionnaire of up to 130 items covering eating habits, social behavior and musical tastes. Such questions, it says, reduce room-change requests by 68 percent the first year.

Colleges have also set up special Web pages so newly accepted students can make connections over the summer. Roughly 10 percent of freshmen at Champlain College in Burlington, Vt., have circumvented its residential life office and found their own roommates on the college’s message board. “It’s kind of like dating; I wasn’t really looking, but when I met her I knew she was the perfect roommate,” says Caitlin Patey, of Kennebunk, Me., who will room this fall with another design-obsessed video-gamer, Kerri Donahue of Connecticut. They met on Champlain’s site.

Nytimes also included what a webroomz sample questionnaire would have looked like:

I don’t know how this would help anyone at Wesleyan.

  • There should definitely be a question about sexual orientation. That just goes without saying.
  • “Do you date” should be replaced with, “How many nights a month should your roommate expect to be sexiled?”
  • Personalties should include “Hipster,” “Vegan,” and “A capella”
  • Hobbies should include “Dungeons and Dragons,” “Irony,” and “Facebook.”
  • Adding question “Do you get post-modernism?” would so own this survey.

Holly and Xue’s Dorm Living FAQZ!

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.

Q: …Er…So…where AM I living?
A: Well, Reslife decided to do it a little differently this year. See the e-mail they sent out to current students here.

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 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 you can read Christine’s comment at the bottom of this post to see what Westco rooms are really like.)
  • 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, though apparently since they’re squeezing freshmen into triples this year, that appears unlikely. 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 and too small for imaginative sex.

Q: OMG I HATE MY ROOMMATE. Can I get rid of hir?
From here:

“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.

Q: What’s this Network I keep hearing about?
A: See here.

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.

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.

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. Points are the default meal plan monopoly money; Upperclassmen are on all-points, but frosh (and, starting this year, 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.)

Q: So where do I eat?
A: We had a guide to eating and drinking things at Wesleyan, but it’s horribly outdated since Mocon is gone, the new campus center is opening and we’re switching food service providers. Feel free to read it, but don’t expect any of it to be accurate come next year.

Q: What’s up with the new campus center?
A: To be honest, we don’t know. For people who run a blog specifically about life at Wesleyan, we know shockingly little about it. But you can here us speculate here.

Q: How do I register my car?
A: Good question. Bring your insurance, registration, and $50 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: The most local airport is Bradley in Hartford. The most local train hub is Union Staton in New Haven. There is an Amtrak station in Meriden. How you get to and from these places will largely depend on how many people you know with a car and/or the shuttle services that Wesleyan offers during break periods.

A: There was a ride board in the campus center, but who knows what it’ll be like next year with the new building. You can always exploit student group listservs. There is also a facebook group dedicated to the same thing, and now you can facebook message and post marketplace ads.

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.

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). 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). 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.

Q: What’s in Middletown?
A: Quite a bit if you stop bitching about how it’s not New York or Boston. Here’s a nice list.

Q: Can I bring my dog/cat/bearded dragon?
A: No, sorry. Two years ago, Reslife overhauled the housing contract to exclude all incoming pets with the exception of fish. Before this institutional change, Wesleyan students were allowed to have small caged pets such as hamsters, iguanas, gerbils, etcetera, etcetera. Despite the efforts of some noble pet-owning warriors and a petition, only returning students may bring pets to school as part of a grandfather clause.

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

Fish We Recommend:
– Barracuda
– Pirana
– Sharks
– Stingrays

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.

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 (work in progress).

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 two winters ago, a.k.a. the two-day shit-and-vomit extravaganza. Also, the foss hill dorms had somewhat of a bat problem, leading to a flurry of rabies vaccinations and the infamous Argus Weekly Bat Count.

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. 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 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.

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.

Q: What are these mythical tunnels?
A: See here, here, and here.

Q: Is there Greek life on campus?
A: Yes? Sort of? See here.

Got questions? Get answers. E-mail us or leave a comment and we’ll see what we can do.