Our guest blogger today is Doug Adams, associate dean of students, writing about a topic of great interest to most students: Room Draw.
—Shirley M. Collado
I have to confess that I was a bit reticent when I was asked to be a guest blogger. I thought, what do I have to share that will ease the minds of students around Room Draw? Even more distressing was the thought that I might add to confusion in some way and actually increase your stress levels!
So I took a quick walk around the campus to think about what I might say. As I strolled through the beautiful fall foliage, seeing students hurrying off to class, laughing in a group outside Proctor, enjoying the sunny day, or sprinting past me on an afternoon jog, I reflected that Middlebury is so much more than the bricks and mortar of its buildings. Middlebury is its people and its community. The same is true of the College’s housing. In the end, it really doesn’t matter which building you are living in but rather the people you are living with.
This fall began my 13th year at Middlebury. Over the years I have had a many different levels of contact with residential life—from my early days of advising the social houses to more recently developing Res Life staff training and assisting with Room Draw. Through all this time, I have learned one very important thing, and let me be perfectly clear: Middlebury is not a Hogwarts. Despite all the evidence to the contrary (Quidditch anyone?) and a certain Commons coordinator’s awesome sorting hat, Room Draw at Middlebury has nothing to do with magic. It is instead a process of computer systems, hard work, late nights, and amazing attention to detail, which combine to create a fair and equitable process for everyone.
So let me take a little of your time to help debunk some of the myths, rumors, and stressors that seem to perpetuate each year:
- The random numbers really are random. Residential Life does not see the numbers until all of the matches have been made.
- Online Room Draw is run through a computer program, not a person.
- All students who will be on campus in the fall semester receive a random number— even those who live in social or academic interest houses, apply to live off campus, or join the Res Life staff. That way if someone’s plans change, they may still participate in the Draw process.
- Residential Life staff cannot tell you how “good” your number is or what room you might get. There are just too many variables. Don’t ask.
- Do not get caught up in finding the “perfect” room—the one on the fourth floor with sunset views of the Adirondacks. It’s not about the real estate; it’s about the people.
- If it should happen that you do not get a block or house together with your friends, the campus is not that big. You will still be near them.
- Having a plan before Block Draw is essential and can help you avoid the stress.
- There is no such thing as putting down too many applications for room choices, but every year there are some students who enter too few and then wonder why they didn’t get an assignment in that draw.
- Don’t rely on your friends to know all the answers. Take some time to get to know the system and your options. Keep reading the Room Draw website—and then read it again. And do the practice session! It really does help.
- Rather than hope you did something the correct way, double-check. Karin Hall-Kolts, residential systems coordinator, is one of the most helpful people on campus and is happy to help.
What I hope you take away from this brief post is that Room Draw is just a process. It does not need to be overly stressful. Through a bit of advance planning and talking with your friends, it is even possible that it can be fun!
Residential Life continually makes strides to improve and streamline the Room Draw processes and our communications. To support those efforts, the College has created a new Residential Life Committee as a part of the Community Council. This group will host open meetings about campus housing so that we can get your input on how things are going. Keep an eye out for meeting times later this fall. And, if you can’t make it to a meeting,
e-mail your ideas to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.