Stine Dahlberg: Let us have some space

My last so-called home in Leeds, U.K. had missing floorboards that my crafty housemates and I fixed with duct tape and ripped-up newspaper pages. My European student accommodation before that had a bathroom so small that the shower was actually right above the toilet. Why I would prefer to live in any of these places more than most American campus housing? Simple – I had my own room.

Coming to America for the first time to study and live on-campus gives me the impression that students here have simply accepted the prospect of compromised privacy and space without questioning its necessity, as many European students do. Although GW students enjoy higher quality on-campus housing that many other university students, it may be time for them to start thinking about how much space they should be getting.

By college age, we have all developed into our own individual. After having endured puberty, it is only natural to want and need privacy, a fundamental part of adult life.

Our days can be stressful and demanding. However, instead of getting home to a quiet place where we can shut the door on a bad day, we come home to our roommates’ wants and needs. Also, can someone please explain to me how things work when you meet a hunky man or a luscious lady? Do you use the old sock-on-the-door handle trick? And does that mean I might have to sleep in the hallway?

Ultimately, it is the University and nearby housing providers who have the most impact on the issue. D.C. is a crowded metropolitan area with high housing prices. Compounding the issue is that the District has one of the country’s highest per-capita student populations, which, according to a recent article on washingtonpost.com, is growing. GW has grabbed up as much property as it can to house its student population, however this has frequently come at the cost of student comfort and privacy. I’ve heard that my dorm is one of the better ones on campus, and I can’t imagine what some of the other ones are like.

The University should consider creating more single-room dorms in the future. Roommates in a student’s sleeping room can have a negative impact on studies, which affects the overall academic quality of the school, and general well-being. We all know how much better we read without distraction, and having a place of your own improves student social lives.

Of course, I can see the benefits of the current arrangement as a great way to meet new people. That sort of social interaction, though, should be carried out in communal areas such as a kitchen or living room, not in one’s own bedroom. I fear that the demand for single rooms may be low since so few students at GW get to experience the benefits of a personal place to live. That does not mean, however, that the need is not there.

Thankfully, so far I’m finding the living situation much easier than I thought I would. My two roommates are great, and neither of them is a nymphomaniac, Satan worshipprt or criminal. They don’t snore or play the trombone in the morning. I have been fortunate, since I did not choose my roommates, but I can only imagine the unpleasant matches that must exist all over campus and cause grief for students.

While I am optimistic about this new adjustment, it has only been two weeks so far. What happens when I am sad or angry at the world and just want to hide all day in my pajamas? Or what about when I run into George Clooney out about town and he wants to follow me up to my room for a cup of tea? Okay – maybe that won’t happen, but I still think GW students should get the privacy they deserve.

-The writer is a junior majoring in

international affairs.

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