You wring your shaking hands, urge your heart rate to slow down, and force a deep breath. Willing yourself to be calm, you lean in and utter the words you’ve been holding back for what feels like a year: “What are you doing about housing next year?”
As deadlines for living arrangements creep onto the horizon, roommates and friends all over campus are sitting down for these intense conversations. For rising sophomores, this process is particularly daunting. Lower campus is uncharted, yet highly desirable, territory. The connotation that comes with living on College Road and thus upper campus for a second year (save for Newton campus residents) tends to recirculate every spring semester as the housing process approaches, leaving first-year students feeling distraught. Then there is the unpleasant process of group selection, involving decisions of who to bring in and when to cap off numbers. Eight-mans, being the most-coveted sophomore living arrangement, leave many either scrambling to fill spots or else soberly telling friends that they have no more room.
Is all of this stress inevitable? Does CoRo live up to the negative hype? How does one get the most out of this experience and come out on the other side, satisfied and with relationships intact? Thankfully, some BC students were willing to reveal both their anxieties and insights as to which rumors are fact versus fiction when it comes to these hot-button housing topics.
Fact: The housing process prompts fights. A bruised ego is hard to avoid after being told that a group of friends already has enough people to fill their room, and resentment toward the messenger is difficult to navigate. How do you bounce back? Or better yet, avoid the feelings of exclusion altogether? Jess Danylchuk, CSOM ‘21, advises, “Find your person, and stick with them.” Choosing a direct roommate to travel with allows for a security blanket of sorts. With this strategy, the two of you will never be completely alone. Though not always a first choice, a double might be the best option. In that scenario, at least the two of you will be comfortable with one another and can rely on the stability of knowing you’ll end up together. When managing potential conflicts, rather than allowing emotion to get the best of you, it is crucial to have an open conversation about your frustration. As the Residence Hall Association stresses in their information sessions, it is important to do all that you can to avoid damaging a valued friendship over something as insignificant as a living space.
Fiction: College Road means complete isolation from the rest of the sophomore class. When asked what their most prominent CoRo-related concerns were, Ashley Burt, MCAS ‘22, and Jacqueline Geller, MCAS ‘22, agreed: “Isolation. Being far from Lower, the gym… it looks so depressing.” However, what people tend to forget is that Roncalli, Welch, and Williams all sit across the road from McElroy dining hall. Proximity to Mac is an often-overlooked benefit. Many seniors and juniors make the trek to this eating spot a few times a week, either to switch things up, or to perhaps relive their underclassman glory days. CoRo is also much closer to the academic buildings. Forget getting stuck in a crowd on the elevator, or skipping breakfast to race up the million dollar stairs. CoRo students can have a leisurely morning and enjoy a five-minute walk to just about any middle campus building.
Ally Monacelli, CSOM ‘21, has come to love her new living situation. “One thing I’ve found to be untrue,” she explains, “is the idea that your friends on Lower won’t come to visit you on CoRo. My friend group has kind of reversed that, and all of our Lower friends frequent CoRo!” Lower campus, with its dense population and long dining hall lines, can often be loud and overwhelming. Escaping up to CoRo is a welcome change of scenery for many students, especially those with friends on upper. After all, 20-25% of the sophomore class ends up living on College Road each year and BC’s retention rate is 95%. This means that many students learn to make it work and, beyond that, find that they enjoy it.
Fiction: An eight-man (or lack thereof) will make or break sophomore year. Eight is a large number and, while it may sound like a guaranteed, all-around good time, some students find that they would prefer to keep things more intimate with a group of three or four. “Less people should make for a cozier space,” says Tori Cooper, MCAS ‘22, who is opting for a quad next year. Additionally, less people generally means a lower volume of visitors, less noise, and less opportunity for roommates to deflect dish duty. As an alternative to an eight-man, the option of blocking allows for larger groups to divide and conquer by sectioning off into smaller rooms that are located near each other in the same halls. In addition to quads and eight-mans, there are still doubles, triples, six-mans and the ever-exotic nine-mans as options for sophomore year housing. In short, eight-mans are far from the only option. Living in an eight-man may not be for everyone and they do not guarantee success or satisfaction for the entirety of sophomore year.
Fact: Timing is everything. This is not to say that the speed with which applications are completed dictates housing placements. It does mean, however, that in order to keep things running smoothly (both on a personal and university level), students are encouraged to thoroughly read all information that is sent out and respond in an efficient manner. Each member of a housing group, whether it be three or eight, will feel at ease if the most important decisions are made ahead of time. Choosing a group leader to plug everyone’s Eagle IDs into the online registration system, filling out housing intent forms, and settling on ideal buildings are small, yet important tasks to stay on top of. To proactively work through these tasks now, rather than save them for a group chat the night before, allows for maximum peace of mind. If every factor under a student’s control is in order, then one can find comfort in the fact that they’ve prepared as best as possible.
As with any major change, anxiety is natural. Rising sophomores who bear in mind that this is not their final year at BC, nor their last chance to live with certain friends or get their dream building, will find the housing process to be more rewarding and less stressful. Sophomore year will bring new opportunities, relationships, professors, and knowledge to be gained. The room that students return to at the end of the day is just one of many transitions to come. Stay up-to-date with new information, maintain open lines of communication with friends, and remember: CoRo is not a worst-case scenario.
Next to writing, some of my favorite ways to spend time include designing Spotify playlists for friends and making grocery runs to Trader Joe's. I'm drinking coffee or tea almost constantly, and my mantra is the classic yet undeniably basic, "If it's meant to be, it will be!"