Is the “Dorm Life” really “The Life?”
College is a big transition from High School - Is the “Dorm Life” really “The Life?” introduction. College is there to teach students knowledge, and to prepare every college student for the next chapter of their lives. Most freshman that go to Western Michigan University (WMU), decide to live in the valleys. “Valley residence halls feature suites where two student rooms share a connecting bathroom. These large, coed halls have a picturesque peaceful setting and are close to the Haworth College of Business, Intramural Fields and Goldsworth Valley pond” (“Residence Halls”). There are a total of three valleys that are about a twenty minute walk from main campus.
There have been many problems with the dorms such as the noise, the size of the rooms, hygiene, the water, and the resident assistants. In my opinion, “peaceful setting,” is wrong. I say this because my friends and I have had some incidents where it was not. The noise issue is a big deal to some students, but, there is always noise not matter what time or day it is. Unless you’re on a designated quiet floor, students must learn to ignore everything around them while they are doing anything. In the dorms, there is always loud music, people gossiping and laughing, and television.
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All can which be very distracting at times when you are trying to study or sleep. Although most dorms have a rule that quiet hours are after ten or elven at night (on the weekdays). Every student that lives in a dorm room basically lives in a room a little bigger than a prison cell. It’s like living in a bedroom, living room, kitchen, and dining room all combined into a twelve feet by twelve feet living space. When going in to a new living place with a new person that you just met, it takes a long time to get comfortable in such a small space with just the two of you.
With girls, most girls have a lot of clothes, accessories, shoes, etc. that need to be put away in a closet or somewhere under their bed. The dorm rooms don’t give you enough storage to do this. I believe that the size of the rooms and storage should be expanded to make each roommate feel comfortable with their surroundings. “In my experience, my room has been a mess all year because my roommate and I don’t have enough room to put away all our stuff. So, we just throw our stuff around that won’t fit in the closet” (Moffatt). By living in a bigger space, the feeling of living in a cell would go away.
There would be more than one room to live in and therefore every student wouldn’t feel so uncomfortable. “I have been sick more than a month now because of the dorms. At home, I never got sick, and when I did it was only for a couple days,” (Moffatt). While living in the dorms, each student should become aware of their hygiene. Students should always remember to wash their hands after being in or around the bathroom because sickness and disease are all over the dorms. “I’ve never been this sick” (Mutiso). Students also needs to make sure to eat properly and try to lean towards healthier food that won’t get everyone sick.
Eating more unhealthy food is bad for the immune system, and can make it weak. Also, no one should take for granted that people have good hygiene because most of the time they don’t. You don’t know where anyone’s hands have been. Living in something new that your body is not used to can be bad, there is a lot of germs and bacteria’s floating around in the dorms and can get anyone sick. Therefore, a student’s health is at great risk when living in the dorms with hundreds of strangers in a new place. Western’s campus needs to put hand sanitizer dispensaries throughout the dorms to keep the dorms healthier to live in. In my high school, they had at least two hand dispensaries down each hall, I noticed that helped the students and teachers in my school not to become so sick all the time,” (Moffatt). “The easiest solution to this dilemma is that the student should go out on a limb and find another living alternative, such as an apartment or a house. This would solve the health problems because he or she would be responsible for the germs and bacteria’s that they would come in contact with” (McGuire).
The water that is in the dorms is disgusting water. “The water isn’t like it is at home” (Cochran). Sometimes, the way it looks, it seems like it’s not clean. The water is sometimes discolored which makes me not want to use it. But, I know I have to shower and brush my teeth,” (Cochran). Sometimes, when I and others turn the water on in the dorms, it either doesn’t work nor has a brown tint to it. Most students and I are used to cleaner water that gets filtered very well. From my experiences, I don’t think the filtration is always in affect, which is gross. Because of the water having a low pressure, it takes me longer to shower. The problem the university needs to fix is to see what is cleaning our water and getting new showerheads to make the pressure come down harder.
In the past, when I was showering the shower temperature would randomly go hot to cold, without me moving the nozzle. This can really be a disadvantage sometimes because either it gets really cold or burning hot. Also, the water goes in and out. When I went to go shower one time, the maintenance should really look into these things to make our dorm life experience better. “A resident assistant, also known as an RA, is another student—usually a junior, senior, or graduate student—who lives in the dorm and helps students with anything from personal problems to security issues, and everything in between” (McGuire).
A lot of students plus me have had troubles with their RAs. RAs are supposed to help you and be there for you for your floor. “Western should do a better job on hiring RAs because some don’t do their job and need to be fired” (Cochran). Some RAs are never there to make sure their floor is doing okay, and following the rules. When Western does interviews for this job, they should do more than two because one interview won’t really get to know the person. RAs do not get paid, instead they exchange their time for free housing and food.
When you have a problem with something or someone your RA should be the first person you go to. “One time when I really needed my RA, she wasn’t there. My roommate and I got into this huge fight and out suitemates helped us solve it. NOT my RA,” (Moffatt). RAs are supposed to schedule a floor meeting everyone in a while to get the floor together to do things, and update us on new information. My RA never does this, and I don’t think she ever will. Also, the RA is supposed to decorate your floor to make it feel more comfortable to live in. My hallway is very white and boring. RAs should have an open-door policy, and you can go to them anytime of the day or night” (McGuire). If they do that, then they are doing their jobs right and there should be no complaint. Overall, living in the dorms has been a very big transition for me, and I didn’t want it to be unpleasant to live in. If the rooms were a little but bigger to put all my things, and not so much like a jail cell; the rooms would be more homey. If Western put out more hand sanitizer dispensaries, less people would be sick, and that would make me feel better.
The water needs to be filtered better, and the pressure needs to be checked, so the showers and the water faucet isn’t brown (colored) water, or not working at all. Last but not least, I believe the RAs should be interviewed more than once for the job. I say this because most of the RAs are not doing their jobs, and it’s not helping the students out. My college life at Western has been a huge change in my life and if these things were fixed, it would make my college experience a lot better. Western is a great school to attend, but every college or school has their flaws to them.