After spending my first semester at the University of Alabama, I learned many things about life as a freshman on campus. I learned how game days go, what dining hall has the best food, the quickest way to get to class, etc. What most freshmen don't learn is how life on the other side of campus isn't so shiny and new.
Of course, universities that have brand-new, state-of-the-art campus living want to show off that side of the school to prospective students. I was one of those bright-eyed students who planned out exactly how I was going to decorate my apartment style dorm, but when I found out that the glamorous dorm I so desperately wanted to live in wasn't going to be a reality, I was crushed. If you are like me, an out of state student, you hear about the new dorms, and that's all you can think of. You never see the other side of campus, the side where I have resided for the past eight months. You don't even want to know these dorms exist until you find out that's where you will be living.
On my side of campus, the older side, you have Parham, Tut, Harris, Friedman, Burke East, and my beloved Burke West. And I use beloved loosely. When telling stories of the adventures I have endured, it seems too unreal. The bathroom sink that looks like the scene from The Shining because a girl decided to dye her hair red, the smoke from the time the girl who burnt a pot of water, and the countless and incredibly strange male suitors I see entering and exiting the female community bathroom at night. At the time, those events seemed horrible, and I counted down the days until I could move out. However, in the end, it turns out these events built character in me.
I often hear stories from people who complain about their living situations at the newer dorms. They shouldn't even be called dorms, they are more like mini apartments. I hear stories about how their "roommate" plays their music too loudly or takes too long in the shower. But in reality, they aren't their roommates, because everyone has a room for themselves. Living in the older dorms (with the exception of a couple of newer dorms) you experience life in a shoebox of a room. If you are lucky, like me, you will meet some of the best people in the sea of crazy people that surround you.
Living on the older side of campus, you deal with a lot of maintenance issues. Your room is an icebox in the fall and spring and is a sauna in the winter. You may also end up having a few pest issues you will need to deal with yourself, but you might get a room that has access to the roof, so you can look at the stars and enjoy laying in the sun.
I wish someone would have told me this when I was still in high school and trying to sign up for housing. I wish I would have known that things were going to be OK that horrible night I realized I couldn't get into one of those newer dorms and found myself signed up to live in an old building with a roommate I never knew existed. No one told me that these older buildings have some of the sweetest staff and that you can walk a block to the stadium and hear Denny Chimes at your window. I always knew I wanted to have the most perfect living situation, who knew it was going to be that old dorm on Hackberry Lane.