So you've applied to IU, been accepted, and decided that it is for sure the school for you. The next big step is deciding where on campus you want to live. In less than a year you will be moving from home to the dorm that you have chosen to meet friends and participate in all those cool Welcome Week activities. This is your home away from home, and it's important that you pick a place that is right for you. I may be biased, but I believe that Forest is the place to live. I have lived here both of the years I've attended IU, and fully intend on finishing up my college career calling Forest my home at IU. Here's why:
There are four neighborhoods on campus: Northwest, Northeast, Central, and Southeast. Forest is in the Southeast neighborhood, the best neighborhood on campus.
The Northwest neighborhood is known for it's parties, particularly McNutt. It's also the farthest neighborhood away from classes and everything else besides the stadiums and pool, really. Upperclassmen live in the Northeast because they're all apartments, so don't even worry about trying to live there your freshman year. Central neighborhood is good because it's, well, in the middle of campus. Most classes are a quick stroll from this neighborhood, especially from Wright. They're in a great location, but you have to pay for it somehow. These dorms can be a bit run down.
And then there's Southeast, the best neighborhood to be in. This is the quietest neighborhood, meaning that there aren't a lot of shenanigans or parties going on here. That doesn't mean that the people that live here don't party, they just take it somewhere else (namely, the Northwest neighborhood or off campus).
It's also the nicest. Rose is a dorm not listed on the above map because it just opened in the fall of 2013. Forest finished it's remodel in the fall of 2014. Read started it's remodel in the fall of 2014. And Wilkie has been said to be like a hotel. Most of the neighborhood (Forest included) is also along Third Street, meaning that it takes no time to walk to restaurants like Ami and the campus favorite Mother Bear's Pizza, and to the T.I.S. Bookstore, where you can get just about everything you can get at the campus bookstore at the IMU for a cheaper price.
So the Southeast neighborhood is where you want to be for sure, but there's four dorms to choose from. Wilkie, Forest, Rose, and Read are all right there together in the same concrete block, just a two minute walk from one end to the other, so location doesn't make that much of a difference.Forest and Read are the two cheaper dorms in the neighborhood, and Wilkie and Rose are the more expensive dorms.
My roommate and my room last year. Not to brag, but it looked like a
Bed, Bath, and Beyond ad and we didn't even plan it. :D
In addition to new furniture, carpets, and air conditioning for the rooms, Forest also received a new food court that opened in the fall of 2013. With nine micro-restaurants, it's widely accepted that Forest's food court is the best food court on campus. Plus, they serve Starbucks, and we all know that coffee is a college student's best friend. The dining areas have been expertly designed, and include fireplaces, interesting choices of seating for both large and small groups, and a grand piano that students will sometimes play in the coffee shop.
Wilkie has the C-Store, a convenience store where students can buy all sorts of things with meal points, but Wilkie is only right across the street, not too far to walk even in -20 degree weather (yes, that happened in the 2013-2014 winter and will most likely happen again in 2014-2015. It's awful, but we manage).
The center building also has a computer lab, a lounge called the "Tree House" (get it? Tree House in Forest? Puns are the best), and the Music, Movies and More (or MMM), a library of sorts open from 5 pm to Midnight where students can check out movies, music, magazines, games, etc. for a couple of days.
Each tower's lounge has a baby grand piano and sound proof practice rooms that anyone can rent for up to two hours at a time. There's also a foosball table, a big screen TV that people can bring game consoles to hook up or just watch TV shows or movies, and loads of tables and couches. Not to mention that every floor has a lounge of its own where floor-mates can hang out and get to know each other, do homework, or do fun activities like create blanket forts or blow up about 140 balloons (both of those were real experiences I had, yes). Each of those lounges also has a TV and DVD player for free use.
There are two towers to Forest (A/east and B/west), and I have lived in the west tower both years. I can think of three Living Learning Communities (or LLCs) off the top of my head that live in the B tower: The Atkins LLC, Women in STIM LLC, and the Media LLC. Living Learning Communities are floors that try to pull students together by creating a common bond. The Atkins LLC on the fourth floor focuses on African American studies. The Women in STIM LLC on the fifth is an all female floor in which every student has an interest in Science, Technology, Informatics, or Math. The Media LLC on the sixth floor includes students who are interested in some aspect of the media.
My freshman year, I lived in the Media LLC and recommend it to anyone who loves the media and would like to make easy friends with people like you. All of these Living Learning Communities really create a sense of community (duh) and promote positivity through creating bonds with people both like and unlike you.
The 2013-2014 Media LLC holding a game night.
Also, the RAs in Forest are wonderful. I see them around all of the time, and they all seem to be friends with each other. There's always one or two at the center desk willing to help you, and whenever they see you around campus they'll say "hi." The other students here are great too. For the most part, if they're partiers, they'll take it somewhere else. There's a place for anyone to study. Need lots of background noise? Go to the cafeteria. Need silence? Stay in your room or go to the downstairs lounge. Need a little bit of noise? Try the floor lounge where a couple of people are bound to be hanging out.
And most of all, Jacobs School of Music students love this place. There are several times that I walk by and slow my speed to hear music being played on a piano. Or stuck around in the basement to hear a flute practicing. Or strolled down my hallway to hear a floor-mate play violin. If you enjoy music, Forest is a great place to be.
Forest is the best place to live on campus for more reasons than I can ever express. It's a wonderful place to be your home away from home. And that's that.
Until next time, friends!