From a communter’s perspective, dorm life often looks glamorous. No waiting half an hour for a parking spot, little money spent on gas, more sleep, fun late-night campus events and a lively, social atmosphere.
But the students living in William Paterson’s residence halls and apartments tell a different story: it’s far from perfect, and not all halls are created equal.
Unless a student tells residence life who they want as a roommate in their housing application, students will be placed together at random. Sometimes, that means students of different class levels live together, which is isolating for some students.
“I feel like my suitemates were a bit cliquish,” said Idalee Byfield, a senior double major in English writing and music, recalling her first year at the university. “They were upperclassmen and I was a freshman.”
The cost of living on campus ranges from $3,575 (Overlook South) to $4,100 (Skyline) per semester, if sharing a room. Single rooms are also available for $4,785 per semester.
Skyline, which opened this semester, boasts eco-friendly equipment and technology, windows that let in natural lighting, modern kitchens and private study areas. To get an idea of how life in Skyline compares to life in other dorms, the Beacon interviewed different campus residents. This included students who have lived in multiple residence halls throughout their university experience.
Some students asked to remain anonymous due to fear of retaliation from roommates or suitemates for exposing actions residence life might penalize them for.
“It’s definitely an upgrade from most residence halls,” said a student who lives in Skyline. “Some of [them] have a kitchen, some don’t, but have stoves. It’s very bright and inviting.”
Another student agreed.
“So, I lived in South my freshman year,” they said. “It’s definitely an upgrade. The space, the space between our rooms [is bigger].”
One student who moved from Overlook South to Skyline said she felt that the students she lives with in Skyline are much more mature than those she lived with in Overlook South.
“Moving from South to Skyline is a change, maturity level as well,” she said. “It isn’t rowdy; our doors were getting messed up [in South].”
A student who asked for anonymity went into more detail about that issue.
“People were putting glue in the locks,” the student said. “They don’t have cameras [in South], they have cameras in Skyline. I guess they felt it was an invasion of privacy. But they have cameras in every floor now, just to make sure.”
Because there aren’t cameras in Overlook South, a few incidents of tampering with the doors, glue in the locks or other property damage can’t be traced to a particular student. Resident life resolves the issue by charging all residents in the building for the damage. Since Skyline has cameras, any student who lives there that tampers with the property can be identified and penalized alone.
Some student residents prefer cooking and preparing their own meals over going to the university dining hall or campus eateries.
“I think the apartments are a lot better [than other residence halls] because they have a kitchen, our own laundry and own space,” a resident said.
The fight for washing machines and dryers at dorms with shared laundry facilities is a constant headache.
“In Hillside, if a person is doing the laundry and it’s done before they get it, other people just take their clothes out, put it somewhere else and put their clothes in,” Byfield said.
Some students in the residence halls use the time they have after class to get assignments done. But for others, the atmosphere can be distracting.
“I used to watch a lot of Netflix. I did not get my work done staying in my room. It was terrible,” Byfield said.
Another student, however, chooses to avoid that issue by doing her homework outside her room.
“The convenience of being on campus is that I can walk to the library, I can walk to another building to do schoolwork,” she said.
One resident said that the experience of living on campus helped improve their grades and overall feelings toward college.
“For me personally, being on campus, being away from my family and everything– academically and emotionally, it’s helped a lot,” they said. “I never would’ve thought I’d make the Dean’s List all the time or stuff like that.”