Dorm Sweet Dorm: Graduating seniors prepare for transition into life in college dorms


Sophia Tragesser

Senior Sophia Tragesser practices her mandolin on her couch while she is at her house. Tragesser said she will bring her mandolin to college to play for school or just recreationally because it helps her keep in touch with her life at home while she is living in college.

Ashwin Prasad

Senior Sophia Tragesser’s high school days are running out fast. In just six months, she will move out of her childhood home and into her college dorm at the University of St. Thomas for the foreseeable future. Tragesser said she knows this transition is coming soon, and she knows the significance of  changing her address.

Tragesser is amongst many other college freshmen who are moving into a dorm. According to the College Board, about 40 percent of students in public colleges live in dorms and 64 percent do in private colleges. When Tragesser selected St. Thomas as her college, she said her dorm situation was a key factor in which college she chose.

Senior Hayden White said when that dorm situation was a key part in selecting Purdue as his college.

“I have never actually lived in a dorm before, or any space that small,” White said. “My room at my house is definitely a much larger space and it is a totally different setting; it will take some time to get used to.”

The transition to living in a dorm also involves one other variable: a new roommate.

“The most common fear among freshmen is the fear of a roommate they can’t get along with,” Barbara Frazee, executive director of residences at Purdue, said via email.

Tragesser said she is enthusiastic about searching for her roommates.

“I feel comfortable about it because I am a very outgoing, social person, and I am not afraid of finding friends or people,” she said.

White also said he welcomes this new challenge of meeting new people.

“If you don’t like your roommate, you can switch to someone who is living alone. Most of the time, that doesn’t happen though, and I doubt it will with me, because I’m a people person,” he said.

According to the Purdue website, to find a roommate there, freshmen first had to accept admission into the school and sign a housing contract by early May, 2018. Students then needed to fill out preference forms for their roommates which will allow university officials such as Frazee to select a suitable person to match the preferences in accordance with the filled form.

“Be honest when you fill out the roommate preference form,” Frazee said. “Also make sure to fill out the form yourself; don’t let your parents do that. They see you differently than what you really are.”

Tragresser said that she wants her roommate to have her major focus be on academics.

Tragesser said, “I want a dorm with students who want to study, have good character and won’t be messing around. That is (the reason) why I applied to an honors college in the first place.”

Both seniors are also willing to offer advice to the students following in their footsteps.

“People walk in with the notion that dorm life is super easy and chill, and that it’s a party,” Tragesser said.  “Colleges only have dorms so that they can store 15,000 students efficiently. You need order and discipline in your dorm life. Respect and honor your dorm, because how you treat it can affect your character and how people see you.”

White said new students should be able to adapt to whichever dorm they get because they might be living there for the rest of the year.

Laasya Mamidipalli
Senior Sophia Tragesser contemplates which toiletries she wants to bring to college with her. Tragesser said she will enjoy meeting new people in college living in a dorm by herself.

White said, “The process will take care of itself, (but you have to) let time do its thing.”

Frazee said students should just enjoy their freshmen year.

“Learn to be adaptable and advocate for yourself,” Frazee said.

Tragesser and White both said they are ready to move into their new dorms for the year.

“I’m not worried at all,” Tragesser said. “I am not really planning on living in what is essentially a cell. It’s like a nine-by-nine little room with a tiny closet and a bathroom for 60 girls down the hall. 

“I want my university to be home. My home will be in the hearts and minds of the students around me and what I invest in myself. I am not anxious because I know I can make a home for myself outside of a nine-foot cell.”

Laasya Mamidipalli
Tragesser packs a Harry Potter movie into her suitcase. She said she plans on taking some of her favorites movies to help the transition into her new dorm and her new life.