For many students, moving into a dorm is their first time living on their own. This transition can be both exciting and daunting for newcomers. Three NAU students shared their experiences, good and bad, with living in freshman dorms.

Sophomore Edin Lewis moved into Tinsley Hall fall 2018. She was nervous because this was her first time being on her own, and because her two roommates were randomly selected for her.

“I was unsure of what to expect from my roommates,” Lewis said. “I was also excited about the possibility of making new friends and about leaving home and being more independent.”

Although Lewis was excited about her new living situation, there were some problems she faced. Lewis said living with two other people doesn’t provide much privacy. She would have to leave the room to take personal calls and tried to avoid being stuck in her room. This allowed her to make new friends and have time for herself.

Cleanliness and cooperation is another challenge Lewis faced. Taking showers in the communal bathroom disgusted Lewis because of how many people used them. She said she had difficulty cooking because of the communal kitchen, too. Lewis had to wait until the kitchen was available and had to rent pots and pans from the front desk.

She also had problems with her roommates regarding the cleanliness of their room. They had issues determining who would take out trash and who would vacuum.

“No one tells you that it will be hard living with a stranger, but it gets easier as time progresses,” Lewis said. “Living in a dorm helped me adjust to being on my own, and although I wouldn’t do it again, it was a necessary step.”

Sophomore Breanna Begay had more trouble getting along with one of her roommates. Begay moved into Reilly Hall with two roommates: One was a high school friend, and the other was randomly selected for her. Begay said living with her friend was easy, but living with a stranger took some adjusting.

“I eventually became unfazed by my roommate’s bad habits, and it became repetitive,” Begay said. “Our different backgrounds and personalities contributed to the fact that we never could have gotten along.”

Perhaps the most difficult situation for Begay was when her roommate possibly brought lice to the dorm after returning from a visit home.

Begay’s roommate returned to NAU after a weekend trip home to realize that her younger sister had lice. The roommate took precautions and treated her hair with lice-killing shampoo. The others washed their clothes and blankets to halt the possible infestation.

“I wasn’t taking any chances,” Begay said. “The last thing I wanted was for it to spread to other people. That would be so embarrassing.”

The lice scare stopped there, but the situation put even more distance between Begay and her roommate. Although living in the room could be tense, Begay went outside her comfort zone to find other friends in the dorm.

“The best part of living in a dorm is the diversity within the hall,” Begay said. “I lived by another room of girls, and they were the same majors as I was. Whenever I had trouble with homework, I would always knock on the door closest to me. There are many kids to meet when you move in, and meeting new people who are also interested in helping their communities also made me like dorm life.”

While moving into a dorm can be challenging for incoming students, resident assistants (RA) face challenges of their own.

Senior Andrew Manzur was an RA in Cowden Hall for two years. His position was difficult at times, but he also said it was fulfilling.

“Being an RA is a very demanding job,” Manzur said. “It’s very difficult to live and work in the same building, while maintaining school work and a personal life.”

Manzur said he saw his position as a learning experience rather than a job.

“I didn’t keep the job for the pay but for the life lessons it taught me,” Manzur said. “I enjoyed being able to learn about people’s experiences and offer guidance whenever I could.”

Although Manzur said he had many sleepless nights and felt like he was working constantly, his experience is something he wouldn’t trade for anything.

“Although it can be tough, I encourage students to live in resident halls,” Manzur said. “On-campus housing opens the doors for students to gain new experiences, such as living with a roommate and being a member of a community.”

Although on-campus housing can be paired with roommate disputes or uncomfortable situations, it can also offer a learning experience that pushes students to grow.