How I Lived in Wright…and Didn’t Die

Wait, you lived in Wright? And you’re alive? 

That’s right. Three years ago as a senior in high school, I applied to the central housing neighborhood and ended up in Lowe of Wright Quad. Was I upset I didn’t get Teter? Of course. That’s why I applied to central, obviously. Did I have fears of living in the “Virgin Vault” (part of Wright where only girls live) or boiling alive in my room with no air conditioning? Naturally. But, by the end of the year, I was able to say, “I lived in Wright. And it wasn’t that bad.”

I lived my first year at IU in Wright Quad. I’m a survivor. You can be too.

Wright Quad

The 5 Secrets to Surviving Wright

Every spring semester, I travel to scholarship receptions around the Midwest to talk to prospective high school students about IU. Each reception, I have students ask me where I lived freshman year. And each time, without fail, when I tell students I lived in Wright they say, “Oh no, was it really bad? I hope I don’t live there.” And I reply, “No, it actually wasn’t bad at all.”

Most people who apply to the central neighborhood count on getting in to Eigenmann or Teter. If you’re currently applying to housing and you’re one of these people, just be warned, you have a fair chance of being placed in Wright. So when you find out you’ll be living in Wright, instead of being disappointed or having irrational (sort of) fears, just remember the 5 secrets, the “5 F’s,” I call them, to surviving Wright.

1. Fans

The absolute very first thing you must do when you move into Wright, if you’re not lucky enough to have a roommate with asthma or allergies who received a doctor’s note to get an AC unit, is buy a fan. I repeat, buy a fan. Or better yet, buy multiple fans. Move-in day is in August. And the beginning of September in Bloomington is typically hot. So the first 3 weeks are going to be the worst. You will sweat. You will be forced to sleep without a blanket on (but if you’re someone like me who hates to be uncovered while sleeping, you will still keep your sheet on and just suffer through). But your fans will make all the difference.

WARNING: If you live in Wright and have an AC unit installed, be prepared to host a lot of your floormates all the time during the hot weeks. They will want to use you for your cool room. Just take it as an opportunity to make some friends.

PRO TIP: Buy a box fan to place in your window, a standing fan that moves to place on the floor, and two small fans that clip on to your bed frame, one for you and one for your roommate. You will sleep/study much better.

2. Food

One of the best things about Wright is that it has a food court and C-store. You can sleep-in later because the food court (and, more importantly, the coffee) is so close to your room. And in the winter, you basically don’t even have to step foot outside to get to food. The Wright food court has a lot of options, including a salad bar, pre-made sandwiches, breakfast items, fresh fruit, yogurt and more. The C-store has a sandwich shop as well as many other snack items and odds and ends that can save you from having to make a trip to an actual store. Plus you can use your meal points there, which is awesome.

PRO TIP: Wright is also super close to some delicious off-campus food places. I recommend trying them all. Pizza-X is a must. Red Mango is a great froyo place. Fortune Cookies has the best fried rice. And there’s also a Subway and Jimmy Johns. Best pro tip I have in regard to food…order Baked! (delivery cookies, enough said). Baked! is open until about 3 a.m. You will forget all about any problems you’re having living in Wright as soon as you bite into a delicious Baked! cookie.

Cookies from baked
Baked! Cookies

WARNING: Don’t spend all your money on above food places and neglect your meal points. Don’t create a weekly “Flatbread Friday” at Subway like I did. You’ve already paid for your meal points, so definitely use those. But when you deserve something special (like after you’ve been studying for hours for an exam) then definitely check those out.

3. Flip flops

I don’t think I need to say much else.

WARNING: If you live in Wright and don’t own flip flops (or other comparable shower shoes), you won’t survive. You just won’t. Don’t even try to go in the showers barefoot.

PRO TIP: Probably have a back-up pair as well.

4. Friends

The most important key to surviving in Wright: make friends! We had a Wright Facebook group when I lived there. It was awesome. I met so many people. Some that I still hang out with to this day. One good thing about Wright is that there are no stereotypes for the kinds of people/majors who live there. It’s so diverse. We would use our Facebook group to find carpools, fun activities to do, people to help us with projects, give each other advice about what classes to sign up for and share textbooks. Hang out with your roommate, too. You guys can distract each other from the fact that it’s hot as hell in your room by taking fun, photo booth selfies on your Mac.

Friends taking goofy pictures

See, we weren’t even thinking about the fact that it was 95 degrees in our room because we were having so much fun and getting some nice wind on our pretend rollercoaster.

WARNING: Don’t get too busy with school work and forget to have fun. This will make living in Wright feel miserable, when it really probably isn’t. Part of the reason you’re in college is to socialize and network. Let living in Wright be your first step toward putting yourself out there.

PRO TIP: Mingle with other houses too. Wright is divided into about 18 different houses. It’s fun to get to know the people in your house, but go explore the other parts of Wright too. It’s actually huge, and its weird H-shape and unleveled floors make for some fun adventuring/getting lost. It took me forever to figure out how the two halves connect. Getting lost is part of the fun, though. Also, make your new Wright friends do fun IU activities with you, like Culture Fest during Welcome Week and the Nearly Naked Mile during Homecoming Week.

Culture fest, fall 2011
Culture fest, fall 2011
Nearly Naked Mile with Wright friends, fall 2011
Nearly Naked Mile with Wright friends, fall 2011

5. Future

I think the one thing that might have gotten my roommate and I through our year of living at Wright more than anything else was the promise of the future. We looked forward to the day when we would move out and live somewhere more glamorous. Those living in dorms like Briscoe or Forest with the beautiful new additions or the brand new Rose (or basically any of the buildings with air conditioning) can’t truly appreciate the hope of the future like those who live in Wright can. It gives you something to look forward to.

Is this going to be forever?

WARNING: Don’t let the promise of the future keep you from enjoying the present. Just let it be a happy reminder every once in a while that living in Wright won’t last forever.

PRO TIP: Don’t purposely choose to live in Wright again. Unless you have a job as an RA. Live in Union Street or somewhere off campus where you can get a brand new experience…and have AC and get to ditch the shower shoes for good.

So, all in all, Wright has its ups and downs, just like any other dorm. You will sweat. There will be times when things break (like your window or toliets). You will lock yourself out of your room in your pajamas holding your coffee pot and have to go down to the front desk to have them give you a spare key (or maybe that’s just me). You will not enjoy the luxuries people have in some of the other dorms. But you will make friends. You will have fun. You will gain valuable life experience. You will learn to appreciate a simple breeze blowing through the window.

You will become a survivor.

Alexea Candreva

Journalism and Communication & Culture major - Class of 2015 - Crown Point, IN

Dog lover. Adventure seeker. DD iced coffee aficionado. Peanut butter addict. Future PR pro.