Sarah Downey Photograph


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The Housing Lottery

April 11, 2007   Hamilton is a great campus in many respects, but its housing is one of its best features.  Even those people who complain that they got "screwed over" still end up in far nicer setups than most other colleges I've seen.  You're actually matched up with people you're compatible with when you come in freshman year (obviously there are exceptions, but it's the general rule), and the people at residential life do their best to place you in the type of building you request.  When I first visited Hamilton, I remember hearing about the split doubles in Dunham, the main freshman dorm on campus.  They're essentially two singles with a wall and a door between them.  I requested this particular setup and remember being pleasantly surprised when I got it.  I used to visit my boyfriend pretty often during my freshman year, and he went to a massive city school and was crammed with two other guys in a room meant to be a double, and he and his roommates were COMPLETELY different people.  I was struck by how individualized the housing process was at Hamilton, especially compared to schools like his where they stick you where you'll fit (although just barely).

So I lucked out freshman year and had what was, for all intents and purposes, a single in the middle of campus, right near everything.  I got a fairly good number my sophomore year--I want to say it was 135 out of 500 or so--and managed to pull my friend Liz into a single next to me in Bundy, which is one of two adjacent buildings in which sophomores live.  Bundy is pretty far down the hill, but we got used to the walk really quickly, and it was nice to have our own little sophomore-inhabited area.  And again, I had a single.  Let me just say that I'm the kind of person who is outgoing and likes to be around people, but at the same time, I want my own private area to retreat to at the end of the day.  If you don't need this "alone time," there are PLENTY of doubles, triples, and quads all over campus.  I'm just pointing out the singles because I think they're awesome and I always heard horror stories growing up about awful roommate situations, and I never had to deal with any of that at Hamilton.

My junior year, five of my friends and I pooled our lottery numbers together to get a suite in Babbitt, which is one of two all-suite dorms on campus.  Although the suites vary somewhat, most of them are four singles and one double connected to a common room with a kitchen and a bathroom.  I ended up being the only one of us not to go abroad that year, so when all of them left at the end of the semester, five of my other friends who were returning from abroad came in.  It was also a nice setup because I had the privacy of a single with one of my best friends right next door.  Plus the Writing Center was a two second walk from my room, so I could stumble out of a nap and into work fairly painlessly.

I can't quite remember what number I had going into my senior year, but I don't think it was particularly great.  In any case, I managed to get the second to last single in Eells, one of the "mansions" on campus that used to be a frat house.  The other one is Ferguson, right next door.  Eells consists of singles and doubles and is absolutely beautiful-- it has a bunch of terraces and walkways in the back and overlooks the valley going into Clinton.  The rooms are spacious and clean, and I can literally blast my obnoxious music as loud as I want and the girl next door claims she never hears it.  I still have trouble believing that because my speakers are incredible, but I'm not going to argue it.  I know the kid underneath me hears it, but he's cool with it (thanks TK).

So that's the summary of the singles I've inhabited during my four years here.  Next stop:  law school in the town next to my house, which means I'm moving back home.  It's so strange to think I'll be sharing a wall with my parents.  I don't think they will be as good sports about my speakers...