*It is probably too late to say this because by now, the class of 2016 already has their dorm assignments.*
But read this very, very carefully… DO. YOUR. DAMN. DORM. RESEARCH. Or I hope you did!
That was the biggest mistake I made in my decision of dorm for my freshman year. I lived in Collins. I had a roommate. The elephant in the room? Collins just wasn’t for me. That said, it may be PERFECT FOR YOU. But now, I will give you the lowdown on Collins. For important points on COLLINS and dorms in general, scroll to the bottom, but I encourage you to READ. Also, hope you will all be happy with where you were/are/will be assigned. ALL dorms are awesome dorms!
· Collins is by far the most beautiful dorm on campus. You are not allowed to argue; it is fact. Go look at it on your way to the Union or the HPER, both of which Collins is super close to.
· The people that live in Collins are called “Collinsites.” Say it correctly; don’t look like a fool. Also, Collins is known for its “Hipster” reputation? Take it as you will. While I would not consider myself a “hipster”, Collins does cater to a very diverse and unique population. And everyone is so nice.
· The Collins mascot is a gnome… The phrase “There’s no place like gnome,” is often said. Go looking for the namesake gnomes. I’ll give you a clue: windows…
· Collins is a Living-Learning Community. Fancy phrase that means there is always fun, academic things to do. Such as…
o Harry Potter week. That’s right, HARRY freakin’ POTTER. Each of the buildings in Collins (Edmondson, Smith, Cravens, Brown, and Greene, I think even Hillcrest too are sorted into houses. Hush, they made up more houses to fit everyone.) And you don’t even have to live in Collins to participate. Just drop by sometime during October or Novermber, it’s really cool. GO.
o Nutellafest. Nutella, music, and more. I have a hazelnut allergy, so I had to skip out. But you? GO.
o Collinsfest. Free for all extravaganza of awesome stuff. GO.
o There are so many other things I’m not even touching on, so go explore!
· You have to apply to get into Collins. That’s right, APPLY.
· NO AIR CONDITIONING. Plan accordingly. I do have severe allergies, but even if you don’t, maybe you can suddenly start showing symptoms… SO you would need an air conditioner… to keep them under control… There is a $300 charge to have an air conditioner installed and removed, so keep that in mind.
· Collins really isn’t that loud for the most part. Except during any sort of -fest activity out in the Courtyard, or Humans vs. Zombies week. During that week, good luck sleeping.
· Location, Location, Location. Where buildings are located in Collins… And my two cents.
o Main quad contains Edmonson, Smith, and Cravens.
§ Edmondson, or Ed, is the main building. In it, you will find the front desk, the mail, a lounge with a piano by the front desk, the Coffeehouse (next to the Cheshire Cafe), a piano in said Coffeehouse, the dining hall, the grill, the deli, the c-store, and the Chesh! There is also laundry in the basment of Ed, and a classroom/lounge in the basement. And of course, there are the resident floors in Edmondson: 2, 3, and 4.
§ Smith: NOTE… This bit will be a little long, just because I lived on Smith 1 my freshman year… Right next to the lounge. Where people played piano at all odd hours of the night. I wrote many an angry Facebook status about it. If you live in Smith 106, I am sorry, but you have to learn to live with it as I did. I was originally placed in Cravens, but since my allergies are horrid, I had to have an air conditioner, and the windows in Smith are the only ones that allow for air conditioners.
§ The girls on my floor were really nice, but I never really got to know anyone besides my roommate or one other really sweet girl that I met during rush. I absolutely regret that decision because I always kept my door closed. So PLEASE, for your own good, ALWAYS LEAVE YOUR DOOR OPEN TO MEET NEW PEOPLE. During Welcome Week, my roommate and I got yelled at to come join a dance party in someone’s room on Smith 2… Just because we left our door open.
§ Also, bathroom situation in Collins, especially Smith is a communal bathroom. Live with it, but wear your flip flops! You never know what lovely little bacterium or viruses could be relaxing on the floor waiting to be picked up by a cute little foot like yours.
§ In Smith, there is a laundry facility, a computer lounge and printer, a lounge with a television, a baby kitchenette (great for s’mores… Just put a marshmallow on a fork, light up the gas, and don’t get crazy!) and there is also a lounge just outside the computer area. There is the lounge on Smith 1 which has a piano, couches, a round table, and two desks. Please, play the piano wisely, and keep it down if you are going to play it at odd hours. But if you live on either side of a lounge, might I suggest purchasing ear plugs because you might need them. My floor, Smith 1, and the ground floor were governed by the same awesome RA. Smith 1 was an all girls floor, while Smith ground, 2 and 3 were all guy floors. That may change, but that is how it was my freshman year.
§ The rooms in Smith are of decent size, but feel free to change your room configuration to whatever best suits you. The closets have a good amount of space, and the windows let in plenty of light. Also, the running joke is that Smith is going to burn down… again. Smith has already burned down twice, so be careful with your outlets!
§ Cravens: Cravens has very pretty rooms. Cravens is the building closest to 10th Street, to give you some perspective. So during Welcome Week, Little 500, or any other given weekend/ Thursday night, expect to hear some major sirens. Cravens has a lounge on the 1st floor, where I watched Glee all the time, and is mostly girls. Girls lived on the second, third, and fourth floors while guys lived on the first floor. During Welcome Week when I was auditioning for Singing Hoosiers, and couldn’t print off my sheet music, a really great guy on Cravens 1 let me hook my laptop up to his printer to print it off. I am telling you, Collins has some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Cravens has a laundry facility on the ground floor.
· “The Hill” contains Brown and Greene.
o Brown. Brown contains all the artsy facilities. There are also resident floors above the artsy facilities on the first floor. The rooms are of nice size. I had a friend who had a single, and loved it. Brown Cinema, where you can sign up on the Collins calendar to watch a movie with your friends or even have a showing of a film for your Q-project, is one of my favorite places in all of Collins.
§ That is what my roommate and I did for our Q-project. We did a screening of Hocus Pocus around Halloween, but nobody showed up because everyone was too busy playing Humans vs. Zombies in the main quad, even my roommate! So I ended up eating S’mores and Halloween candy all by myself in the Brown Cinema, watching Hocus Pocus. Sounds sad, but it made for a hilarious retelling of my Q-project in class. It is all about planning, planning, planning.
o Greene. I have never stepped foot in Greene, but I can tell you that the rooms are pretty awesome, not to mention huge. In some of them, there is a partial wall between your half of the room and your roommate’s half of the room, and there is a ton of closet space.
· Hillcrest Apartments are up the hill, upperclassmen live in them.
· You aren’t allowed to live in Hillcrest as a freshman, but you may apply for an apartment as a sophomore.
· *** Note: While Collins may seem like it is the dorm the farthest away from everything, it is actually the closest to the Union and the HPER (NICE!). Also close to Informatics and the Psychology building. Business school is just beyond that! And BALLANTINE. Leave the main quad of Collins ten minutes before your class starts and you will make it, promise!
· *** Also, if you have a friend or parent who comes to visit you during the week, and you need a parking pass for them. They are five dollars a day and the main D7 spots are located behind Hillcrest. There are also about five D7 on the hill, but those are really hard to come by. So plan ahead for visitors because I cannot even tell you how many parking tickets my boyfriend racked up last year just because I was absolutely ignorant of the parking situation at Collins.
· FOOD. Collins food is always different. It is a buffet style, and they have a salad bar. Collins is very vegetarian and vegan friendly, so if you fall into either of those categories, look into Collins, even if only for a visit. What is nice about the Collins buffet is that it tends to be healthier, but it is also not the same food everyday of your life. After a month of the same food at Wright or Gresh, you are going to be craving something different. Come to Collins and eat!
o There is even a baby C-store that has the things you need, especially vegan/vegetarian/gluten free options!
o Also, the deli is a GODSEND. If ever I was in a hurry or late to class, the deli could whip me up a sandwich at no time.
o And one more thing, the grill! The grill has odd hours, usually 8 AM – 10 PM for breakfast and 2 PM – 4PM for lunch. Don’t hold me to that, but you can get lots of tasty things. A solid go to for me would be the tator tots, call me Napolean Dynamite.
o As far as drinks go, head to the Cheshire Cafe, also known as the Chesh. They are always serving coffee, delicious drinks, or assorted baked goods. It’s inexpensive, which is great when you need your caffeine fix at 11:05 PM.
· People… The types of people you will run into at Collins vary greatly. But the resounding commonality is that everyone is SO NICE. No, I’m not lying. People will hold open a door for you if your hands are full or let you in when you knock on the door when you forget your ID. The Collins community is a very tightly knit one, but you are guaranteed to find people similar to you. I had a friend in my Q-class (introduction to Collins; Collins 101; required of all Collins residents) that loved to watch Glee, so we would meet up in the lounge on Cravens 1 to watch Glee every Tuesday night. It was a lot of fun, and it showed me that I wasn’t alone in Collins.
So here is where I tell you where I went wrong with Collins. As grateful as I am for living in Collins freshman year, I feel that I would have been better placed in different artsy dorm, more performance based. I did not do my research into Collins. I listened to a great family friend who is practically my second mom about Collins. I love her to pieces, but she was a freshman at IUB when Bobby Knight got us our fifth banner. She might have helped steal a fish out of Showalter Fountain, but that’s just a rumor… Anyways, I didn’t listen to my feeling that said to look elsewhere. I went with the first dorm I heard something that sounded like me, and it turned out that it wasn’t very much like me at all. While Collins is very artistic, I was much more interested in the performing arts. I believe that Read would have been a much better fit for me, then again, hindsight is 20/20.
SO… Things to note…
· Collins is a great place. Don’t listen to what anyone else says. Reputations mean nothing.
· The rooms are all nice, of decent size, different, and have good closet space and windows for lots of natural light. Would reccommend keeping beds bunked, so you have plenty of floor space.
· You will also have very few outlets. I discovered one outlet in April that had been hidden since the beginning of the year. A lot of good that did. So search your room. And please be cautious of your outlets. If you live in Smith, don’t be the third times a charm person and burn the place down.
· Also for rooms, NO AIR CONDITIONING. Plan accordingly!
· The FOOD at Collins is awesome. Period.
· There is always something to do… Harry Potter week, that’s all I’m saying.
· Get to know Collinsites because they are some of the nicest people you will ever meet.
· PARKING. Please buy a parking pass or park smart. Be aware of the price of a parking ticket. Your significant other, friend, or parent will be mad at you for not knowing the parking situation if they get a ticket… or seven.
· Collins is very close to the Union, the HPER, Yogi’s, Woodlawn Field, Informatics, and the Psychology building. The Business school is just past the Psych building, and Ballantine is a hop, skip, and a jump away. No seriously. If you leave within ten minutes of your class, you should always make it to your class on time from Collins.
· If you have been placed in Collins, congratulations. It is a great place, and I hope you love it!
General Dorm Stuff:
· Go on a tour of the dorm(s) you are interested if at all possible. Look around at the other students while there and just observe. Ask yourself questions… Do you like the rooms? The bathroom situation? The dining facilities? Where it is located in terms of everything else on campus? Things along those lines.
· I will say this every time, but if you are torn between two things, go with your gut feeling. For example, dorms… If you are torn between Briscoe and McNutt, go with your gut… WOW, I promise I’m not Dr. Seuss, but that did rhyme. Consider ALL your options. Even make a pros and cons list. I am very much a list person, so that would help me.
If you’ve already been placed in a dorm…
· CONGRATULATIONS. YOU ARE AWESOME. Hopefully you have a room! No, seriously…
· Do not complain about where you have been placed. Any and every dorm on campus is great. You just have to find out what makes each one so awesome. Nobody likes a whiner. Whiners go to Purdue or UK … BOOM.
· Use resources to find out who else is in your dorm. Make friends. Use Facebook! I met two of my very good friends from the IU Class of 2015 page and a general Facebook post about who liked the performing arts and what not. You might think it’s creepy at first, but everyone else is just as excited to start the year as you are!
All my Hoosier love,