Are Tarleton’s dorms really a ‘home away from home?’

By: Taite Read

Graphic Designer 

Tarleton State University’s website describes their housing options as a “home away from home,” but current residents and residential leaders may disagree. 

Imagine it is your freshman year all over again. You’re excited because you get to move into the dorms. You might be living with your best friend, or you might be moving in with someone random. Either way, it is a new adventure, and you cannot wait. 

I posted two surveys for current students who live or lived on campus and another survey for current residential leaders (RL). 

RLs go through training every fall and spring. In the survey, they were asked if they felt the Department of Residence Life does a good job of training and teaching the material needed to fulfill their duties.

Junior Jessi Whisenant, a second year RL in Traditions North, says she has experienced problems from a lack of training.

“You are never trained for the that situation in the real raw part of what it is going to be and what you are going to experience,” Whisenant said. “Handling a room full of 8-10 underage drinkers that are drunk. How are supposed to handle that if you are not trained 100%.” 

Being an RL comes with its pros and cons. In the survey, RLs were asked to rate their experiences as RLs on a scale from 1, being the lowest, through 5 meaning they loved it.

There was a tie between 3, them moderately liking their job, and 5, loving their job.

Residents and current students were asked what problems they had or have in their dorms, with choices such as hot water, bathrooms, bugs, safety, etc. 

After receiving 16 responses, the top response was Wi-Fi with 12 votes. Hot water came in second with nine votes. Bugs, laundry rooms and air conditioning tied for third with six votes.

Dan Johnson, a second-year resident on campus, pinpointed what he felt his main issue was in his current and past hall. 

“The elevators hardly work at Traditions North,” Johnson said.

However, Johnson said he really has had no problem the past two years in the dorms.

“The one thing I do wish they would have done was cleaned my room before I moved in,” Johnson said.

I personally lived in Legends Hall my freshman year, and the bugs and air conditioning were my biggest issues. There were constantly ants coming through my shower, and I would always have to double bag snacks even if they were already sealed because the ants would find them.

My air conditioning seemed as if you turned it past 73 degrees the room would become muggy and humid, but I also enjoyed the dorms.

I loved being able to wake up in the mornings and walk two to five minutes to class every day. Especially on days when I had an 8 a.m. class.

My RL also made my time in the dorm enjoyable. She would reach out during midterms, finals and class registration to see if we needed help. She made it known that if we needed help with anything, we could go to her. 

Although, not everyone has the same experience with their RLs. Johnson, for example, has mixed feelings about his current RL.

“There has been a couple of experiences that I felt unwelcomed walking into or around my dorm,” Johnson said. 

As residents, we do not see all the tasks that go unrecognized. They make sure their residents are mentally okay, and if not, they help them in the best way they can. RLs are almost like a guiding hand your freshman year.

They make rounds when on call to check and make sure all doors are locked and the building is safe for their residents.

“As RLs, we do two sets of rounds per night when we’re on call,” Whisenant said. 

When the RLs take their rounds, they are making sure that the doors are locked, and they make sure there are not any safety hazards. 

There is also an on-call number all residents on campus can call any time after hours. The on-call number is placed behind every residential door for residents’ convenience, whether that be for filing noise complaints, needing help to get into their room or just needing to talk. 

According to Tarleton’s website, “Tarleton supports a live-on requirement of two years for new incoming students (freshmen) and transfer students with less than 12 credit hours, including students with AP and dual-credit. Transfer students with more than 12 credit hours are required to live on campus for one year.”

I believe every freshman needs to live on campus. Living on campus your first year at college helps you meet other friends and become comfortable with the university. 

Living on campus is also a way to become more involved. You see firsthand everything that happens on campus. You can see all the organizations in the dining hall eating together or walking to class together. 

If I would not have lived on campus my first year, I would not have created the friendships with others in my hall, or I would not have become involved.

The Housing Department of Residence Life was contacted and did not comment.

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