I come from New Albany, Indiana, a town about one hundred miles away from the Indiana University Bloomington campus. Given that I live relatively nearby, I knew a fair amount of people from home when transitioning to IU. The common theme I picked up on, both from friends as well as those I encountered through various “IU Class of 2017” social media pages, was that if you didn’t get assigned to a dorm room in the Northwest neighborhood, you would die. Just flat out die.
To those of you reading this blog post as a means of determining which neighborhood you might have interest in applying for, have no fear. You won’t actually die if you choose to apply elsewhere. All of the neighborhoods at IU have advantages as well as disadvantages. The following are a few of the many reasons why I love currently living in the Central neighborhood and you will too.
I live in Dodds House in Wright quad, the unit most immediately on the corner of Jordan and Tenth. I can't think of a better place to live geographically. I look out my window and see Wells Library right across the street. In fact, the library is so close to my dorm room that it always looks like a sunset in my window at night thanks to the spotlights surrounding the building. You may plan on avoiding the library at all costs and fail to see the value in this, but, trust me, you will end up spending a lot more time there than anyone could hope to imagine. I had a class in the library last semester and it was so convenient only having to walk across the street to get there. Not to mention, I walk (at most) fifteen minutes to get to any of my classes, be it in Ballantine Hall or the classrooms in McNutt. I get it, we all plan on being the epitome of a social butterfly while attending IU; however, I find it silly to apply for a certain neighborhood based simply upon its proximity to the “party scene.” Choose a neighborhood based on how it will influence your Monday-Friday life, not your weekend life. You will be happier 5/7 of the time rather than 2/7 of the time!
Before the opening of the Forest Food Court (amazing…) this year, I believe the majority of the student body would vote Wright Food Court as the best food court on campus. Located in the middle of the quad, the walk is a maximum of a couple minutes for any student living in Wright and not much longer for any student living elsewhere in the Central neighborhood. I was surprised with the amount of variety in Wright Food Court. Pizza, pasta, Mexican, Asian, subs…you name it. Wright Food Court likely has it. Not to mention, there is plenty of food to be found elsewhere in the Central area of campus. For starters, the basement of Wells Library has Chick-fil-a, Pizza Hut, and various other selections. Across the street from Teter, one can find the essential Pizza X, both Subway and Jimmy John’s, as well as a little desert at Red Mango. Believe it or not, you will get hungry while attending IU, and you will get burnt out on any restaurant if you go there too often. The variety and high number of selections in the Central neighborhood is so conveneint. Plus, you can work it all off at the SRSC also found right across the street.
Although the outdoors is a little treacherous for the students at IU come wintertime, the warmer months are a great time to be a student living in the Central neighborhood. There is almost always a game to be played when it’s nice outside, be it Frisbee, football, or catch. In fact, just the other day I witnessed a couple of guys snowboarding down the snow-covered steps within Wright quad. Yes, snowboarding! Although you will never catch me on a snowboard (without falling...), Wright has some prime locations for sledding. This all makes for a really unique, outgoing, and fun atmosphere in the Central neighborhood. Not to sound partial, but I think this resonates throughout the students living there as well. I have become good friends with a lot of genuinely friendly, down-to-earth people in my time living in Wright. I know we all say this, but I can't imagine not having met the people I have my first year at IU.
Be it the ideal location, the character of the people you want living next door, or just a simple need for accessible food, there are many reasons why living in the Central neighborhood makes for an unforgettable first year at IU. This post is not meant to persuade those who read it to apply for the Central neighborhood but to give example as to why all of the neighborhoods are special in their own right. No matter where you end up living, it is up to you and what you make of it that determines the kind of first year experience you have. You can have fun living anywhere at IU. It is IU, after all.
Check out these posts for testimony on the Southeast and Northwest neighborhoods!