Editorial Notebooks

Dorm life not necessarily good

Studying and social aspects of Quad leave much to be desired

I live in the Quadrangle—Buck, to be specific. Leffert L. Buck ’68 was some RPI alumnus and a bridge designer somewhere, and I only know that because every time I swipe into my stack, I see a plaque honoring him. Buck seems to be the stack that nobody knows about, kind of like Pardee, and I usually describe it saying that “it’s between Hunt III and Cooper.” People, then, know what I mean.

Let’s cut to the chase: I will not be living on campus next year, which is a little bit unusual for a rising sophomore. Since Rensselaer put in place a policy dictating sophomores must live in on-campus housing, many second-year students have been pressured into doing just that. What they don’t know, however, is that greek-letter organizations have a small asterisk when it comes to residency; sophomores are allowed to live in their fraternity or sorority house given they waive their spot in the housing lottery. I did just that, and I’m proud to reiterate that I will not be living in a dorm next year.

I call it a dorm on purpose. “Dorm,” as we all know, is a short version of the word “dormitory,” which comes from the Latin word “dormire,” meaning “to sleep.” To be perfectly, 100 percent, and crystal clearly honest, that’s pretty much all I can manage to do in my dorm. Well, that and watching a small bit of TV. Trying to study in my room either yields poor results or no results at all, so I refrain from doing so. Let me put it this way: I got more work done sitting in the living room of Zeta Psi in two and a half hours than I did in maybe five or six in Buck. In my room, I have way too many distractions, and I often get caught up in a million other things. When I’m out of my room, I feel like I’m there specifically to do work—studying, in my case—and, as such, I do just that.

I’ve heard many times, in high school, especially, that a bedroom is not a proper place to study. When learning about sleep patterns and insomnia and such, I was taught that the brain, even subconsciously, relates a bedroom with sleep, so studying where you sleep can cause you to be tired and study poorly, and likewise, sleeping where you study can lead to restlessness.

Aside from segregating sleep and study, social situations are significant, also. Dorms are supposed to be social places. Like I’ve said a few times, I live in Quad. There is not a whole lot of social activity going on there because the stacks are so small; there are only eight people on my floor and only something like 24 in the whole stack. Yes, I’m friends with the other guys on my floor, but I do not have the relationship that people in, say, Barton Hall or Bray Hall have, and I certainly do not have the relationship that brothers in my fraternity have. It’s for this reason I will not live in a dorm next year.