The Daily Gamecock

Looking back: The first-year dorm experience

From freshman year to senior year, almost all students lived in a dorm for some of college. With that comes roommate drama, mold infestations, late night memories and more. 

As the 2021-2022 school year comes to an end, students — new and old — relive what they loved and what they hated about their dorm experiences. 

Coming to college can be overwhelming, especially if it’s an unfamiliar area with unfamiliar faces. For most students, roommates were the root of many freshman memories. 

Erin Furton, a fifth-year sport and entertainment management student, didn’t have the best roommate experience. 

“(My roommate) left a bowl of marinating chicken out over Thanksgiving break in our living space,” Furton said. 

Furton lived in Women’s Quad her first semester and moved into East Quad for the remainder of her freshman year.

But other students had fond memories of their roommates.

“My roommates that I’m not that even that close with ended up getting me a cake for my birthday,” Naomi Guzman, a first-year biology student said. 

Outside of the dorm room, living in a residence hall is usually the first time students live with so many people their age. Memories made in these communities led to lifelong friends for some students.

Caroline Thomas, a first-year nursing student, remembers one of her first nights in Capstone House. 

“First Night Carolina — a bunch of us just piled into the elevator and went up to the 17th floor, which is like a big ballroom, and watched the fireworks go off,” Thomas said.

Alternatively, not all dorm communities are overwhelmingly positive. Living with many different people includes different personalities and schedules. 

Nicole Harrell, a first-year biological science student, had a lot of trouble when it comes to noisy neighbors.

“I'm talking about blaring music at 1 a.m. in the morning on a Monday night,” Harrell said. 

Neighbors aren't the only distraction for students. A dorm experience is not complete without what seems like an endless string of fire alarms, laundry troubles and lack of cleanliness.

“We would constantly have fire alarm drills at 3 a.m., so everybody would come out half-dressed," Morgan Young, a fourth-year sport and entertainment student, said.

Speaking of the unexpected, some students were surprised with unfavorable conditions in dorms and an overall lack of cleanliness. 

“It was a mold issue,” Young, who was a resident of Bates House, said.

During her time in Bates, Young said multiple students complained to the university and got moved to other dorms because of the mold. 

Laundry rooms often became an area of concern as some students took on the chore of doing their laundry for the first time. Some students said they hated waiting forever for a washing machine and having their wet laundry thrown on the floor. 

Devon Moore, a first-year international business student, had a lot of difficulties when it came to laundry.

“The washer, dryer — they’re always broken,” Moore said. 

Living in a dorm helped students build friendships and feel involved at their new home. Christina Schweitzer, a third-year nursing student, had a welcoming experience and thanked her dorm for its community-like aspects. 

“Always having that community to come back to — no matter if you did bad on an exam or you're having a bad day — it was always just a safe place to come back to,” Schweitzer said. 

Other students said making friends and the overall freshman experience made up for gross and unkept dorms.

“My freshman year experience as a whole made up for my dorm,” Young said. “The culture and the people there were really cool. I really enjoyed being in that dorm, in particular, even though it was gross.” 

Despite the unexpected problems, dorm life continues to bring together long-lasting friendships and memories for all students at USC.


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