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ISSUE 120 VOL 18 PUBLISHED 4/20/2007

Consider dorm quirks, oddities

By Ginna Baker
Contributing Writers

Friday, April 20, 2007

Temperatures are warming, trees are blooming, the sun is shining, and underclassmen are wiping their sweaty brows as the clock ticks toward room draw. Room draw – that dreaded season, that horrid nightmare, the only thing that can strike fear into the hearts of even the most intrepid Oles.

Luckily, room draw isn't always as bad as it’s rumored to be. Last year's room draw was a breeze for me, as I had only one concern on my mind: winter in Minnesota. Specifically, I wanted to madly dash through howling blizzards in the shortest possible amount of time. Mellby was the place for me. After all, who needs hot showers or drinkable water when you can get up at 7:51 a.m. and still make your class by 8 a.m.? In the midst of yet another frigid shower, I try to look on the bright side – at least we've got indoor plumbing here, unlike earlier residents of Mellby, who probably had to book it to the outhouse in sub-zero temperatures. In view of their plight, it is hard to complain about the occasional ice-cold shower, even if the water is brown.

Seniors who value frivolous extras like hot showers and insect-free lounges often choose Ytterboe. Ytterboe is a cozy place to relax; at times, it is perhaps too cozy. Funny thing – every time I visit friends in their pods, they are either playing DDR or watching reruns of '90s sitcoms. Ytterboe residents seem untouched by mundane worries such as whether they will graduate, and instead focus on more pressing issues, like the future of Ross and Rachel on “Friends.”

Thorson, often referred to as the perfect set for a Gothic horror film, has long been the residence halls of choice for juniors. If you find Thorson’s neo-Gothic façade and menacing trees scary, try walking through the shadowy hallways at midnight, dogged by visions of the famed boy in a red hat. Then again, the red-capped lad is nothing compared to the ‘50s era teal-green floors. If they don't phase you, nothing will.

Some juniors skirt Thorson altogether and opt for Rand. Nicknamed “The Nursing Home” for its drab appearance, circular driveway and mildewey smell, Rand is the ideal place to get away from the hustle and bustle of campus. I like to think of Rand as the residence halls for the future stock brokers of the world, because living there involves an element of risk-taking. Prospective Randies must weigh the residence hall’s perks – large quad suites with private bathrooms – with the possibility of sudden death. And when I say sudden death, I am serious: Rand sinks a few inches backward each year, threatening to become a permanent fixture of the soccer field below. Just think – after a larger-than-usual dinner in the Caf, you might be the one to send it over the edge.

The weight-loss element and quirky elevator culture are definitely the most attractive attributes of the towers, Mohn and Larson. Residents of a tower will always have the nagging existential question: to climb or not to climb? Taking the stairs offers the advantage of an excellent workout, while riding the elevator promises speed – and irritating attempts at small talk:

Talkative Mohn First-Year (TMFY): “So... You live on seventh floor, huh?” Awkward silence. TMFY: “Hehe, it figures, since that's the number you pushed.” Yet more awkward silence. TMFY: “Great floor, the seventh.”

Conversations like these are good reasons to take the Mohn Stair Challenge or, as a friend of mine once did, give up elevators for Lent. Talk about a great workout! A trek to the top of a tower, comparable to a Stair Master workout in Tostrud, is an excellent way for already-skinny Oles to drop those much-needed pounds and become bags of bones with rock-hard thighs.

Hilleboe offers a similar exercise factor with a different type of workout. The Hilleboe commute is more like a treadmill – level incline with a focus on longevity rather than intensity. Honor house residents may smugly boast the best of both worlds in this respect – excellent cardio workout with a steadily increasing slope. And you thought only dogs should have to walk for their breakfast.

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