Not home, but pretty close: Life in UM’s Residential Colleges

You won’t have Mom’s home cooking. No one will do your laundry for you. You have to clean your own room. But other than that, living in one of UM’s dorms is a pretty easy life.

Mom’s home cooking is replaced by Chartwell’s, otherwise known as the cafeteria. Maybe not quite as familiar as Mom’s, but reliable and varied for sure.

Students can do their own laundry at each dorm’s laundry room for $0.75 per load.

Cleaning your own room is optional, but recommended.

In the Residential Colleges new residents have a chance to ease into their new lives as college students and to meet other new residents.

In past years all students were allowed to move in on the same day, causing mass confusion, angry parents, and frustrated new residents. This year the Resident Housing Office has gotten organized and is phasing new residents in over the course of a week, promising to avoid long lines for the elevator, moving carts for everyone, and no overcrowded spaces. Even so, students and parents should come prepared for the infamous August heat as they move in.

“Incoming freshmen are excited to start their new phase of their lives,” Shelly Steele, Stanford resident assistant [RA], said. “I enjoy being a part of that excitement and eagerness. Besides, I love meeting the freshmen. For me as a senior, the freshmen are my legacy. Hopefully the ones I influence will carry on the UM traditions.”

“When you’re home [in your room], keep your door open,” Mollie Gorney, sophomore resident, said. “Even if you’re shy, you’ll make friends if you seem welcoming.”

Attending orientation week and floor building programs also helps students to build friendships with other new students. The residential colleges also put on many events to build culture and a sense of community in the dorms.

Upperclassmen also have plenty of advice to give to incoming freshmen.

“Orientation may seem boring,” Gorney said. “But I met my best friends in my orientation group that first week. Go!”

A common misconception among new residents is that the RA is like a policeman out to get students. RAs are actually just normal students who are leaders. As the title implies, their job is to assist residents in any aspect of their college life. Of course, they do have to enforce the rules, but they’d much rather be hanging out with a student than writing one up.

Another common misconception is that your roommate will be your best friend. If your roommate turns out to be your best friend, you’re one of the lucky ones. But don’t be upset if you and your roommate are very different and are not instant friends. However, you should be able to live peaceably with him or her no matter how different you might be.

The last piece of advice students offered was to go to the home football games.

“They’re a blast!” Steele said. “You’ll never get another chance to have this much fun in your life.” I

>> For more information about housing, contact the Residential Housing Office at 305-284-4505 or e-mail