STORY BY SARAH LEBLANC
From their first year to their last year, students at Drake University go through some major changes in living arrangements. With largely temporary spaces, it can be difficult to make a room dozens of other students have inhabited feel like home.
Anna Austin, a sophomore pre-pharmacy major living in Ross this year, noted several differences in the style of her decorations compared to her first year.
“This year the decorations in the dorm are mixed with my roommates as compared to last year, where we each just took a side of the room,” Austin said.
Austin also favors the apartment-style living that Ross offers, which lends the hall a more relaxed atmosphere accompanied by a larger sense of independence.
“Ross is much larger and has an open apartment feel to it rather than the claustrophobic feel of my first-year hall,” Austin said. “Ross also is very laid-back and quiet.”
Brenna Paukert, a junior Broadcast News major, also enjoys the increased freedom Drake West Village allows in terms of decoration and living space, but qualifies that there are still restrictions in terms of what students are allowed to do to their rooms.
“We get furniture like in the residence halls, and we still can’t hang things by nails on the walls,” Paukert said. “But there is more personal space and more overall shared space to decorate.”
In order to make the apartment feel comfortable, Paukert relies on making her own decorations that reflect her personality and can be reused year to year.
“It’s cheaper to make your own decorations and it’s more fun that way too,” Paukert said. “I still use a lot of the same decorations that I used my two years in the dorms.”
Although West Village allows students more space to express themselves, junior Radio and Television Production major Lauren Baker, who lives in a house off-campus, is able to assert the most ownership over her space.
“I feel like there is a lot of more freedom to decorate in a house,” Baker said. “I can decorate it as I like and all the furniture is ours. (The house) isn’t regulated by the university.”
Even off-campus, Baker doesn’t feel that she is separated from the Drake community.
“I still feel like I’m part of campus when I live in a house,” Baker said. “I am actually closer to my classes now than I was when I lived in GK last year.”
However, living in a house doesn’t prevent Baker from experiencing the communal living style of student life
“I am still living with several girls, so you have to cooperate and figure out how to get along just like you do in a residence hall floor.”