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Column: Quad versus suite-style living, what you need to know from my experiences

February 27, 2020
A quad style dorm room in Akers Hall
A quad style dorm room in Akers Hall —
Photo by Jack Falinski | The State News

Coming into my freshman year, I knew one thing: I did NOT want to live community-style because I did NOT want to have to share a bathroom with an entire floor of other girls.

However, now that I’m finishing up my sophomore year and my two-year-too-long residency in the dorms, I realize it might have been a viable option to try living somewhere like North Neighborhood, and I wholeheartedly regret not taking the chance to house myself in halls like Landon or Yakeley.

From cleaning horror stories to roommate feuds, my experiences in both Akers and McDonel Halls have truly been a trip and a half, but I wouldn’t trade the memories for anything.

Quad-style: Akers HALL

When it came time to sign up for my first-year housing, East Neighborhood was the only corner of Michigan State’s campus that had availability — and wasn’t community-style, of course.

I knew one of my roommates going in, thankfully. We had been online friends for roughly three years prior to being accepted to college and thought it be a good idea to take freshman year by storm together.

The other two girls were blindly added to our space on the fifth floor.

Move-in day was hot — it was more than 90 degrees outside — making it physically hard to breathe when we crammed my three roommates, myself, a cart and my five family members into the claustrophobic space that was our dorm.

That was the day I took my first cold shower.

The window in a quad-style bedroom is tiny,  and a draft never reached above ground level, so I had to buy a clip-on fan for my bedrail.

The beds were lofted over a desk. Thankfully, I was blessed with my mom’s genes and I’m no more than 5 foot, 3 inches tall, meaning I didn’t have the same problem of hitting my head on the ceiling when sitting up in bed that my roommate had.

The dressers were built into that same dividing wall and there were only six drawers between the two of us. We both owned way too many clothes to begin with.

One thing everybody loved was the living room, which made for an extra hangout area.

The bathrooms were contained within the dorm, making it easy to tell if it was occupied or not by whether the door was opened or closed, and you knew who exactly was around your towels and toothbrush.

However, having three roommates in this small of a surface area turned out to be a lot worse than I expected.

You never got your own space. There was almost always somebody else in the dorm, making it hard to ever get alone time, as every reasonable person needs once in a while to survive in life.

It also made for a lot of discomfort if you and one other person didn’t get along. Trust me, do your best to get along with everybody who lives with you, especially the person you’re living the closest with.

Overall, my time with quad-style living was more personal than professional, but that’s a story for another day.

Rating: 7/10

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Suite-style: McDonel HALL

There was no hesitation in my mind when second-year housing sign-up came around — I knew I was staying in the dorms.

Originally, I had picked South Neighborhood after hearing only good things from my dad who attended Michigan State in the early 1990s.

However, that contract fell through and I found myself frantically signing up to live only feet away from my old building in McDonel Hall one week before registration closed with no idea who my roommate was.

But it turned out to be one of the best choices I’ve ever made, hands down. Freshman year destroyed me mentally and I saw this as a fresh start.

I returned to Spartan stomping grounds for my second year of adventure with more eagerness than imaginable — especially for living in the dorms again, while all of my friends had moved on to bigger and better apartment lifestyles.

The difference of having only one roommate compared to three was like a breath of fresh air.

The beds here can be lofted, or not, depending on if you bring extra furniture like a futon or television set. 

This allows for more adjustments and a special homey comfort, because you have more free will in designing your space.

However, one problem I found was that, while my current roommate and I have built our own personal sisterhood, we do NOT get along with our suitemates at all, making for a passive-aggressive battle over the bathroom nearly every day, if not multiple times a day.

If I had to sum the relationship up, I’d tell you our suitemates have never physically said a word to us, opting for sticky notes on the bathroom mirror and replying with thumbs-ups to my texts.

Overall, my time with suite-style living has been a lot better than quad-style living. I feel like I have my bubble back and I’ve truly started to enjoy coming home again.

Rating: 8/10


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