Living in the dorms at Rochester Institute of Technology was a once in a lifetime experience that I will always cherish so I’m glad I chose to live in the dorms my freshman year. RIT is located in Rochester, New York where I am from so I could have lived at home, but I decided it was too far to drive from home to RIT every day. It takes about 20 to 30 minutes to drive from my house to RIT on days when the weather is nice, but when it is in the middle of winter and it’s snowing heavily it can take up to an hour to travel from home to school.
I did not get to pick which dormitory building I could live in. It was assigned to me according to how I answered a questionnaire about my lifestyle. The questionnaire asked me about whether I smoked cigarettes or not and do I, in general, prefer a quiet dorm room that would be suitable for someone who studies a lot. I said that I did not smoke cigarettes and that I was a quiet person that studied plenty so I was put in Sol Heumann and I was very happy about that. My roommate was awesome. She was a biology major and studied plenty which was perfect because I too loved to read my photo books in my dorm room and study.
When I first arrived at my dorm room I thought it seemed a little bit cramped so my roommate and I rearranged it so that our beds were both top bunks on each side of the wall and our desks underneath our beds. That arrangement made use of the little space that we had and we both each got our own separate little study corners. The bathroom was near my room so that was convenient. The staff cleaned the bathrooms frequently and vacuumed the hallway so our living conditions were excellent. We had a lounge on our floor where we could go to relax and watch TV. We also had a kitchen that had a microwave so we could boil ramen and instant noodle cups and eat pizza pockets.
What I loved most about living in my dorm room was I was near facilities the RIT campus had to offer like the gym, library, photo cage, photo studios, computer labs, and darkrooms. On my spare time, I used to exercise at the gym and go for a walk or a jog around the RIT nature trail. When I had to do a research paper I could easily walk to the library from my room and borrow as many books as I pleased and do my research at the library or bring it back to my room. I was a photography major so I needed to borrow photo equipment from the photo cage and then use the equipment in the studios at RIT’s 7B building. I also was able to develop and print my film in the darkrooms. Because I lived in the dorms I could stay in the darkrooms and do my homework and also experiment with printing techniques until the darkroom closed.
There were many computer labs I could use which was great for me because I did not have a computer my freshman year. The first time I visited a computer lab was to write a paper for homework. I went to the nearest one, which was located within another dormitory building adjacent to mine. Later on, I opted to use the library’s computers or the computer labs in the photo building. What was unique about some of the computer labs at RIT’s photo building was that you could buy inks for their Epson printers and print your photos from the Epson printers attached to the computer you are using once you were finished editing your images.
What I also loved about living in the dorms were the people I met. I met many people from my building and nearby buildings that were photography majors. We used to study together and do our photo projects together. I also met many graphic design majors and one of them would be my future roommate for sophomore, junior, and senior years at RIT. If I had not lived in the dorms I would not have made so many friends that had the same interests as me nor could I have had such easy access to photography facilities and equipment. That said, I highly suggest to anyone starting college to try living in the dorms for at least one year. You will get to know many interesting people and you will most importantly get to know your campus and what it has to offer you.
Here is a short video of me talking about my experience with living in the dorms at RIT.