Luke Stergiou / Senior photographer

Lindsay Gibbons

Equinox Staff

Going off to college is a huge event in many people’s lives. For new students, there are many important decisions to make, such as what to major in and which courses to take.

One of the most important decisions will be which dorm to live in. According to 2010 Census data analyzed by the State Demographer, there were 50,444 people or about 87%, living in “college/university student housing.”

Dorms are often considered giant “live in” hotels for students living on campus. Most dorms have 2 students per room, which contains two beds, two dressers and two desks.

For some new students, the cramped rooms, new roommates and lack of privacy can be disheartening. However, living in a dorm is one of the quintessential college experiences, and it’s important for new students to experience.

Living in a dorm is a social experience like no other. It is an unparalleled experience that can allow you to make friends and feel like part of a community. Most students who attend college have never lived alone before.

Living in a dorm can be a great way to transition from living at home to living independently. Dorms can provide a great nurturing environment to help ease the transition, with residential assistants (RA’s), with other counselors and other helpful staff.

Sharing space with a roommate also teaches students how to negotiate, compromise and adapt. Here at Keene State, students have the option to choose their roommate if they would like, but are most often assigned randomly. For many, this is the first time they have had to share their living space. Roommates won’t agree on everything. Working out these disagreements often require considerable compromise, flexibility and mutual respect.

These are all important skills to learn early on in life. It also teaches students about the importance of communication skills. Living harmoniously with another person requires a lot of work.

Living on campus also lets you live much closer to your classes. Between academics, work and trying to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, hardly anyone wants to think about a commute to class. This is especially important to underclassmen, who are still adjusting to living independently. Living right where their classes are can be a huge burden off their shoulders. Living in the dorms also gives you better access to campus-sponsored events.

A short walk will take you from your room right into the heart of the action for presentations and events. Living off campus can make it harder to be aware of all the student sponsored events Keene State has to offer. This can make it difficult for incoming freshman to make friends.

At Keene State College, freshman and sophomores are required to live in a dorm. It can help them make the most of their first two years in college.

There are tons of dorms, both new and old, for students to choose from. Freshman can choose from Carle Hall, Fiske Hall, Holloway Hall, the Living Learning Commons and Huntress Hall.

The most important things for new students to do is evaluate which dorm is best for their particular needs. It’s also important to remember that there is always someone there to help. If you’re stressed out or struggling to cope, you can speak with your RA on possible solutions, or the counseling services on the third floor of Elliot Hall.

Lindsay Gibbons can be contacted at

lgibbons@kscequinox.com