Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Student Side: Life in the Dorms

Hey everyone! We’re going to dedicate this post to helping y’all anticipate living in the Barnard residential halls. Pretty soon you will all be moving into your room assignments in the Quad. The Quad is a complex of four interconnected residential halls (Sulzberger, Brooks, Reid, and Hewitt) on campus where all of the first-year students live. A variety of student services are also housed in the Quad, so even though all first-year students live there, other years are also in or near the Quad throughout their time at Barnard. The spatial setup of the Quad really does make for a great first-year residential community given that everyone is accessible to one another and it’s a living experience that everyone in your class shares together. It truly is a convenience that you don’t need to put on shoes to meet up with people!

(Read more after the break)


All of the rooms in the quad are double, triple, or quad occupancy - every first-year student is going to have a roommate. But do not fret! Barnard is one of the few remaining colleges that takes the time to hand-match first-year roommates. Incoming students do have the option to request roommates (only mutual requests are respected), but the majority of incoming students each year take the random route. Back in May, you all filled out a roommate and housing survey from ResLife. This survey is how ResLife gets a grip on your schedule (night owl or morning person?), cleanliness preferences (do you Swiffer daily or sometimes leave some clothes on the floor?), but also your interests. ResLife aims here to match not only cohabitation but also people with common interests.

For now, let the survey take its course. Given that the majority of students use the survey system every year, rest assured that people have faith in the system time and time again and that it’s remained popular for a reason. ResLife over the summer aims to match roommates, not best friends. If you can call your roommate a best friend also, great! But if not, also great. The best advice is to expect to find a way to get along well with your roommate, and see where the relationship goes from there. The social scope of college is not confined to your dorm room - you have an entire floor, hall, first-year class, and broader Barnard community to engage with next year and beyond.

Room & hall setup

The layout of each room is dependent on what hall you’re in or on how many people you’re sharing it with. Most of the rooms in the Quad are doubles - just two first-years sharing a room. Triples are mostly in Sulzberger, where two beds are lofted and one has another bed underneath (yes, this means one bunk bed, but triples are larger than doubles). Most quads are in Brooks, and their setup is a main door that opens to a common space with all of the desks with a double on either side of the common space. Some quads are in Sulzberger where old lounges used to be. In those, four students share one room but the space is huge. But most students assigned to a quad will live in the Brooks setup.

Wherever you live in Barnard housing, Barnard will provide a bed, desk, trash can, chair, dresser, and closet space. Rooms in Brooks and Reid typically have closet space, while most rooms in Sulzberger will offer a standing wardrobe. Aside from these guaranteed furniture items, you should communicate with your roommate(s) once assignments go live about what else you might want to fill your room with. ResLife offers this loose “packing list” of sorts, but it’s more important to pay attention to what not to bring.

You share the bathrooms in the Quad with everyone on your floor. There are five bathrooms on every hall; one will be female-only and the others will be gender-neutral to accommodate all genders that might need to use a bathroom in the Quad. Since everyone has access to the bathrooms on each floor, I never had to wait in line for a bathroom or shower stall. Plus, the bathrooms in the Quad are cleaned every day by Facilities. This is a luxury you will miss when you leave the Quad (so be sure to show your gratitude for their labor!).

You will also share a floor lounge with everyone else on your floor. Each floor has a lounge in Sulzberger stocked with large windows, a TV, some couches, microwave, oven, and stove. You’re welcome to be a star and bake cookies for your floor, to start a group that gets together weekly to watch "Game of Thrones," or to simply heat up leftovers from eating out. The door is always open and available for your use.

Outside of sleeping

As we mentioned earlier, the Quad houses more than just the first-year class. Primary Care Health Services, Well-Woman, and Furman Counseling center also call the Quad home and are great resources for all Barnard students. Primary Care in the basement of Brooks is where you go if you have any health concerns. There are walk-in hours every day, but you can also call or go online to make an appointment. Well-Woman, located in the lobby of Reid, offers programming and peer staff to ensure that Barnard students are taking care of themselves and each other. Well-Woman always has a tea collection to take from and a listening ear available. Lastly, the Furman Counseling Center is our on-campus mental health resource and Barnard students are allotted 6-8 free sessions with any of the staff there, and they can help you find something more long-term nearby that takes your insurance if you want or need that. Getting an appointment at Furman is super easy and you should feel free to approach the staff at Furman with whatever is on your mind.

I hope this covers questions or regarding the Quad - but of course keep the questions coming to first-year@barnard.edu if anything else comes up!

Happy registering and packing!