Woohoo! You got placed on Upper, so you basically won the freshman housing lottery… right? Well, that depends. There is no “best dorm”–though each has its own perks and its own downfalls. That being said, let me tell you about a few of the things Upper has going for it, like O’Connell House, the proximity to Middle Campus, and, of course, the fact that the majority of the freshman class lives with you. Of course, Upper does have a sour side (Mac food, I am looking at you), but I digress.
Okay, so let’s start with the O’Connell House (OCH). While I know what most of you will be doing during the weekend, sometimes during the week itself you just want to get out of your tiny room and go somewhere that doesn’t have walls that resemble a prison, and that is where the OCH comes in. I spent many a night in there playing pool, realizing I suck at pool, and still occasionally managing to kick my friends’ butts at, you guessed it, pool. For those of you that aren’t as in love with that game as I am, there is also foosball, ping pong, a dance studio, and a movie room (which doubles as a great big-group-study room during finals for when you like the idea of studying but really just want to be surrounded by a bunch of friends also pretending to study). Long story short, it’s a huge, beautiful house, and it doesn’t look like the inside of your high school. Who wouldn’t love that?
Next order of business: Upper’s proximity to Middle Campus. This is both a blessing and a curse. If you were to be living on Newton, that terrible thing called the Newton bus would require that you are always prepared and ready well before class starts. Of course, as Tahira’s article will tell you, some days the universe just won’t be working in your favor, and you will miss the bus, but let me tell you, there will be many more days that, living on Upper, you will wake up ten minutes before class
starts, and still try to make it there. The perk of being on Upper? If you hustle, you actually will make it within five minutes of class starting, and for a Tuesday/Thursday class, that’s a small fraction, so don’t be tempted to skip. (Side note for any student, no matter where you live: don’t skip a T/TH class unless absolutely necessary. Those classes cover too much info and you will suffer when exams roll around.)
Living on Upper has a lot of random perks, but the best part I’d have to say is how there are so many people living there with you. Yes, sometimes it’s maddening because you literally canNOT find a place to be alone, but most times it’s great. You meet so many people just by walking by each other everyday, studying in the lounge together all the time, or sitting in the hallway eating food because your roommate has already gone to bed and eating in the dark is too hard. You’ll meet a ridiculous amount of people, see a ton of really weird things, and have some great laughs. Enjoy it, because you will find your best friends somewhere in that mess.
Finally, let me give you a few pointers on how to survive the smaller challenges that Upper will inevitably throw at you. Don’t try and do laundry on a Sunday; you’re literally asking for trouble. I usually did laundry at 11 or so on a weeknight, or on Saturday evening, before I went out. Also, be wary with Mac food. Sometimes it tastes great… Sometimes you get food poisoning. And lastly (and most importantly in my mind) when you order pizza, try to get outside five minutes before the pizza guy shows up. Last year someone tried to steal my pizza. Not cool.
I know right now housing seems like a make or break kinda deal, and if you don’t get exactly what you want the world is going to implode, but it’s not. There will be ups and downs, but it’s your freshman year at college. You’re gonna love it.
Need some more advice on Upper life? Check out last year’s Great Freshman Housing Debate for some pro tips and pitfalls. Looking for wisdom about Newton Campus? Look no further. And remember, no matter where you live, we are all BC!