Ask An Intern: Residential Life

Author: Hailey Oppenlander


Q: What is your favorite part about residential life at Notre Dame?

A: My favorite part about residential life at Notre Dame is the fun, quirky events that dorms have! Whether they’re smaller and more informal get-togethers like the Mamma Mia movie marathon my RA hosted this weekend, to signature events that require weeks of planning (my dorm’s is the Polar Bear Plunge), to dances and formals - there’s always something going on! Commissions plan activities that span many different interests. In my dorm, the Social Commission just hosted a girls’ night, Multicultural Commission had international karaoke last weekend, and Spirituality Commission (which I’m a Co-Commissioner for) has weekly Brownie Masses - followed by a Bible study once a month. Being able to participate in all these different events and take much-needed breaks from studying makes life on campus interesting at every moment. I also LOVE to dance, so I’m a big fan of SYRs, which are Notre Dame’s version of themed dances. Every dorm has one during fall semester! Dorm events, big or small, make residential life exciting!


Q: Why is Notre Dame so passionate about dorm life?

A: Notre Dame is so passionate about dorm life because it’s a way for students to feel at home! The transition to college can be difficult, but dorm life provides students with a community from the beginning. During Welcome Weekend, we learn cheers for our dorms and wear our apparel with pride. It’s easy to fall in love with the characteristics and quirks of your dorm (and affectionately make fun of the quirks of other dorms). Dorm life is a place where students can feel comfortable and always welcome, but it’s also a place where you’ll meet students completely different than you, which is one of the greatest parts of going to a school like Notre Dame.

ND doesn’t have Greek life, which makes it distinct from other universities. In my opinion, dorm life takes all the best parts of Greek life and eliminates all the bad. You don’t have to pay extra fees to be accepted into a community – as soon as you’re placed into a dorm, you belong! 


Q: What are the pros and cons of living on campus?

A: I love living on campus! Mornings are not my strong suit, so it’s amazing to roll out of bed before my first class and not worry about driving. It’s also really nice to be able to walk back to my dorm after late nights at the library or LaFun, instead of having to drive off-campus. Meeting for group projects and club meetings are really convenient, and living on campus makes scheduling easier.

I also love being around people at all times of day, so on-campus life is great for interaction! My RA always leaves her door open, so I stop by her room and chat with her when I’m walking around the dorm. Even though my roommate and I are both really busy, catching up with her in our room is the best way to end a stressful day.

The cons of living on campus are that it can be difficult sharing a small dorm space with others. Since my roommate and I have pretty different schedules, I have to be quiet when I come into our room at night, and she does the same when she wakes up early in the morning. I think the key is to just be considerate, and things will work out!