The Housing Games
In late August, Scripps first-years nonchalantly moved into their spacious, pre-assigned rooms, unaware of the stress that the other three classes encountered while struggling with housing arrangements the previous April. The first-years befriend their neighbors and built a community, hanging out in the lounges and fostering relationships with their classmates. Then spring rolls around and, as Scripps women have been known to say, “the claws come out.” The Scripps housing assignment system gets the job done, but not without a fair amount of stress, drama, tension and awkwardness. Let’s evaluate the social and emotional repercussions under the formal house-assigning framework of the common Scripps student.
Decide who your favorite friend(s) is/are and whom you could live with most functionally.
Scout out potential dorm rooms that you want. (Side note: typically Routt and Frankel seven-person suites go to sophomores and Gabrielle Jungles Winkler (GJW) suites to juniors and seniors.)
Receive your hall draw number based on a lottery system:
Lower numbers pick first. When applying for a room with two people or more, take the average of everyone in the group (which makes it advantageous for everyone in the group to have a low number).
Highest class has first pick of rooms.
Biggest applying groups in the grade level pick first. The biggest group chooses first (seven-person suites, then five-person suites). If the group’s pick is no longer available, the group must rearrange themselves to cater to a smaller room (thus, people get kicked out of groups).
Disclaimer: Scripps offers seven-person suites, five-person suites, four-person suites, triples, doubles, singles, Routt apartments, language halls, and off-campus dorms at Smiley in Pomona.
Arrive at hall draw with a detailed ranking of dorm rooms, a horseshoe, four leaf clover, magic wand, and a time machine (in case your desired rooms are taken, to go back in time and hack into Staci’s, the Associate Dean of Students/Residential Life, computer) because you’re going to need all the luck and magic you can get.
The pre-assignment stage/thinking process
As “simple” as the system may sound, the housing process is notorious for consuming the entire campus with stress and nerves. Out of the larger group of friends, women are forced to pick their few favorites that they want to live with, creating friction as true loyalties are revealed. Those “little annoying habits” that one’s friends have, that were once bearable, are now magnified as we shamelessly conjure up excuses as to why we cannot dorm together.
The number assignments
Then the housing numbers come out. At this time, a few unlucky group members may have scored extremely high numbers. This throws off the group’s average and the group’s chance to live more luxuriously in the upcoming year. The group now has two options: (1) to rearrange the group by excluding the people with high numbers or (2) to suck it up and hope for the best.
Hall draw forces friends to split groups and reveal their true loyalties. The worst part is, there are still a long two months of school left to face the “friends” (that may not have been included in the housing arrangements), creating plenty of opportunities for awkward eye contact, silences and relationships in general. And we all better just hope, with fingers crossed, that each group/set of friends obtains the desired room, otherwise, there is more rearranging and tension across the campus.
Needless to say, Scripps College’s hall draw is a bit of a pressure cooker, but on the bright side, it is also extremely practical in that it teaches us how to confront awkwardness, create a certain type of framework/front to generate excuses, or the opportunity to do neither and remain loyal to friends regardless of their numbers. At the end of the day, all is well as Scripps women come together and settle into their new rooms in the communal and empowering atmosphere we can call home. And who knows, even if one does end up forced into double with a tiny closet, has to force her bookshelf onto her desk for more walking space and cram the mini fridge under the sink because there is no space in the room, it’s all just an extra push to spend less time hermitting and more time immerse herself into the community. As someone in that current predicament, I’ve had firsthand experience with that.
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