The first thing I remember from my freshman year was Pastor Melissa Maxwell- Doherty announcing she met her husband, Pastor Scott Maxwell- Doherty at good ol’ California Lutheran University. Great. Not only did I have the trauma of moving away from home in Portland, Oregon, but add ‘find my significant other’ to the growing list.
Bed covers and coordinating towel sets seem to be tackled as soon as acceptance letters are opened, but how many students are prepared to share a bedroom with two strangers? How about sharing a suite with four strangers?
Due to an increase of this year’s incoming class on campus, South hall, located in the New West complex now houses five suitemates to a dorm; having five people share a two bedroom, one bathroom dorm is a first here on the Cal Lutheran campus.
The list of negatives continue to grow, including energy usage, lack of personal space, schedule coordination and resident life application.
Just how many mini fridges can each circuit hold? Sharing seems like the viable option but the reality is each person wants something to call their own; a home away from home.
Five mini fridges, two couches, three microwaves and five sets of the deluxe bed/dresser/desk combo do not leave space for five teens to “settle in” and have time alone.
When moving in the to-do list includes sharing hobbies and sleep schedules, but is it realistic to also create a five-person rotating shower, toilet, makeup and get-ready-for-school schedule? I think not.
College is a time to learn to work with others both in the classroom and in the dorms, but it is also a place to find your self and your purpose. Having a place to call your own just does not happen when you become a pea in a pod.
Senior Resident Assistant Jamell Dorton has found no change to his RA responsibilities and daily tasks. “[Resident Assistants] still want the residents to enjoy their first-year experience as much as possible,” Dorton said.
As a third-year R.A., Dorton began his senior year living with a roommate of his own – a significant change to the now-dated Resident Assistant contract.
A favorite perk of signing onto the RA position includes having a room of your own, but Dorton shines light upon his adjusted living situation.
“Adding a [fifth] roommate gives residents the opportunity to meet even more people and learn about where they come from. What’s better than learning about people who have different qualities than you,” Dorton said.
Contrary to my outside view, it seems as though the terror of “the fifth roommate” bears no burden to community building and policy enforcement. In fact in Dorton’s experience it simply adds to the beauty of it.
First-year student Victoria Vonberg joins Dorton in the excitement of living with so many. Cal Lutheran appears to be paying attention to detail, as Vonberg and her roommates instantly clicked.
“We got really lucky,” Vonberg said. “We all just hung out during orientation and have continued to ever since.”
According to the Cal Lutheran website, standard residence halls including the New West complex, run approximately $6,870.00 for a full year’s tuition. Thankfully it seems as though five-person suites will have a reduced payment.
“Personal space can be a little hard [being in the room of three,] but everyone is really respectful and is willing to compromise,” Vonberg said.
Maybe my desire for personal space comes from living on campus for three years with a new roommate situation each year. Though my time on campus provided new friendships and great memories, the simplicity of decorating a bedroom as I please or leaving my jeans crumpled on the bathroom floor became a luxury.
Despite the challenges of living with others, someday I do hope to have a family of my own where new opportunities will arise. The lessons learned on campus are significant to personal growth, and without a doubt will aid me in the future.
It sounds like these first years have already mastered the Lutheran mission of “love our neighbor,” a quality that should serve them well as they embark on the four-year Cal Lutheran journey to find their purpose.
Published September 16th, 2015