On this edition of the official podcast of the Commons, Lauren asks the Q’s and Dean Gresalfi provides the A’s in the Q&A segment, Cynthia has the details on events coming up on campus this week in the Commons Calendar, and Sofia sits down with Sophie Hochberg for the Human of the Commons interview. Sophie is a first-year student from La Jolla, California who is majoring in Psychology.
Now that we are settled into campus and have decided on our classes for the first semester, we have just a few short weeks until the first round of exams are upon us. That means you don’t have much time before your social-emotional capacity is worn down, and now is the perfect moment to try out a few professionally certified techniques to drive your RA crazy.
Here are the top five ways you can make your RA regret their decision to live on your floor for the 2023-2024 school year.
5. Leave stuff in the hallways. RAs love tripping hazards, but they love fire hazards even more. Dump your scooters, shower caddies and shoes in the hallways so your RA knows you care about them every time they walk down the hall.
4. Put food in the bathroom trash cans. “It smells like used ramen combined with bathroom smells,” said Gillette 5 RA Will, which is basically just “ the smell of a landfill,” according to Crawford 6 RA Sarah. Rest assured, despite the signage, food in the bathroom trash is not just a roach issue, because seasoned RAs have often encountered (and wrought destruction upon) the sneaky little buggers before. The real issue is that the food stench percolates for millenia. If you tire of subjecting your RA to hair in the shower drains and toothpaste smudges in the sink, throw some noxious fumes in there and see what happens.
3. Don’t go to things and then complain about not being involved. All RAs have been through the first-year experience before, and they agree that with greater agency in college comes greater responsibility for each student to get themselves involved. Since RAs preach this at every floor meeting first semester, it warms their hearts to listen to their residents whine about being lonely when they haven’t left their dorm for an event since Founders’ Walk.
(If you are struggling to get involved, ask your RA if they have any suggestions for student orgs to join or consult AnchorLink for a full list of student organizations on campus. Start out with clubs with a low barrier to entry, and try to strike up a conversation while you’re there.)
2. Be disrespectful on the whiteboards. If your floor has one, your RA is probably making use of the white board to foster communication and low-stakes, low-reward community building on the floor. Since the floors are monitored by residential college system area coordinators (your RA’s boss) and open to residents’ visitors, it reflects really well on your RA when parents walk by on Family Weekend to a slew of EXPO-markered expletives.
1. Don’t like the GroupMe messages. When you leave your RA hanging, you subject them to the pinnacle of human psychological torture: isolation in the digital realm. “It’s like shouting into the void,” said Crawford 3 RA Derinique. In fact, this is the first thing RAs will scream when you ask them if anything bothers them about the job. If you haven’t ignored the GroupMe yet, it’s time to give it a try.
On this episode Lauren sits down with Dean Gresalfi for the Q&A with the Dean segment, Esha delivers the details on events coming up this week in the Commons Calendar, and Sofia brings in Alaina Harris for the Human of the Commons interview.
By Harika Koduru, Sara Rodriguez and Lauren Lamson
Hey freshmen, you wanna get to know your Commons better? We toured all ten houses so you don’t have to.
First up, North House. North is in the historic neighborhood on Commons, which comprises three houses built in the 1920s as well as Gillette and Memorial, which are ten years older. North has six floors, spacious hallways and staircases with beautiful views looking out on campus. The sixth floor features a common kitchen and a sunlit atrium (definitely an amazing place to hang out, study and bake). The cons: the weird offset closets and the steep stairs (take our word for it, they’re a tripping hazard) and it’s right across from the hospital so ambulances and helicopters may keep you up.
East has four floors and about 100 students, with a strong sense of community. Over a decade of East residents have left purple handprints on the walls of the first floor. In the front entrance of East, there’s a convenient dirt path for all members and a snappy elevator because there are only four floors. Other amenities include fairly bright bathrooms, semi-functional showers, and a full-size kitchen, study lounge and television lounge on the second floor.
West is giving Gillette, except West’s stairs have bigger windows. West smells clean. Its hallways are wide. The common areas are small but inviting, and the fireplace in the foyer is the nicest of the Commons.
Gillette has six g’floors with roughly 231 g’homies. Each g’floor has narrow g’hallways and g’staircases with square-like g’windows. The first g’floor has g’laundry, two g’lounges and three g’practice rooms with two g’restrooms near the corner. The only g’cons are the g’horrors of the g’leak in 2021 (*cough cough* musty odor) and the dimly lit g’restrooms.
Memorial has a historic-feeling foyer with a beautiful fireplace. Its huge windows let in light and views of the leafy trees. Memorial is located at the heart of the commons dorms, accessible to neighbors, and it is easy to navigate inside because of its smaller size. That doesn’t stop Memorial from having study spaces and roomy hallways.
Crawford is a member of the new neighborhood of houses built in the 2000s. Members of the hive have nice amenities: spacious hallways, well-lit bathrooms and homey commons areas. Beyond that, Crawford is fairly typical. Its roughly 150 residents are far from Commons and the bridge to main campus, but the staircase views of the parking lot and the Nashville skyline make up for the extra walking.
Murray includes six floors with a seminar room, common kitchen and large laundry room. With an interior very similar to Crawford and Stambaugh, Murray also has spacious hallways and bathrooms. It houses a slightly below-average number of residents: roughly 150.
Stambaugh is another near-carbon copy of Crawford and Murray. “Stam” contains five floors, with a music and seminar room on the first floor. There are roughly 180 residents, and the view from the third floor balcony is as pretty as a picture, overlooking all of Commons. Other amenities include wide hallways and bathrooms similar to Crawford and Murray.
Much like the rest of the new neighborhood, Sutherland has high ceilings, nice bathrooms and wide hallways. The elevators are conveniently right off the common areas. Roughly 180 first-years live in Sutherland. Sutherland’s main strongpoint is the kitchen on the first floor, which was one of the biggest we saw.
Hank Ingram (or Hank Hotel as it is called) is huge with roughly 290 residents. If you meet a first year on campus, there’s a pretty good chance that they’re in Hank. Hank has a spacious lobby as soon as you walk in. The lobby also features a big seminar room where residents can study in group settings. The hotel has killer views from the upper floors as well as beautiful and spacious hallways. The good news is every first-year has Commodore Card access to the first floor in case they temporarily misplaced their dorm key and they have 24 hours to return their borrowed key back to Hank. If you actually lost your key then it’s a longer process which entails having your locks changed and a fee. Don’t be too jealous though, the staircase is dimly lit giving an ominous vibe as well as steep (also a big tripping hazard so watch out).
There are pros and cons to each house, making them difficult to rank, but we were reassured on our trek around the Commons that no house was significantly worse than its neighbors.