Dorm differences shape freshman relationships

Having made the initial steps during the first two weeks, freshmen explain the benefits and drawbacks of communal- and suite-style dorms.

Students that live in suite-style dorms, like 1940 residence hall, have the luxury of their own bathrooms and closed-off spaces, as opposed to the communal-style dorms, where students on each floor share a bathroom with as many as 40 people (TTN File Photo).

Freshmen Rachael Parisse, an elementary education major, and Roman Shekhtman, a finance major, are both from Huntingdon Valley, Pa. They went to the same high school, had friends already enrolled at Temple to ease the transition and are both actively trying to meet new people while concentrating on their grades.

The major difference between the two is simply their living situations. Shekhtman lives in a 1940 residence hall suite and Parisse lives in a corner room in Johnson Hall, which is communal-style living.

Some would assess that those living in a communal dorm make friends a little easier than those in a suite because the entire floor shares a bathroom, whereas suite-style facilities are shared with four people.

“The communal dorms are cool and all, but it’s like the same thing,” Shekhtman said. “Just having to share a bathroom with all those people would be really annoying for me.”

Parisse had the same feelings prior to living in her new dorm.

“I originally went for the suites because they just seemed more private, like, having your own bathroom and being able to keep your stuff in it,” Parisse said. “But now that I’m living in a communal one, it doesn’t bother me at all. I actually saw the other rooms and I like mine better.”

From the moment the majority of students get to campus, they do what’s natural – try to make friends and have a good time.

“I’ve met so many people so far, I can’t even remember most of them,” Parisse said. “I think the major benefit of living in a dorm like Johnson is definitely meeting people. Other girls will be in the bathroom and just ask what you’re doing tonight. I love it and I already know I’m not going to get tired of it. I’d definitely do it again next year.”

Not sharing a bathroom with the entire floor hasn’t stopped Shekhtman from making connections. Plus, it may not be taken well if another guy tried to introduce himself while using the urinal next to another male. There are plenty of students just hanging around campus for him to meet and befriend.

“When I’m out with friends just walking around and I see someone, I can just come up to them and introduce myself and say, ‘what’s up,’” Shekhtman said. “It’s just so much easier to meet people around here.”

So while the communal-style dorm appears to be more conducive to making friends, students in different living situations likely force themselves to find alternative methods of meeting new people.
As much as they are looking to have a good time, these two freshmen are also hoping to keep a balance between being social and maintaining decent grades.

“I want to have fun, but still get good grades,” Parisse said. “I’m just a little afraid I won’t go to class.”
As best friends would, Shekhtman agrees wholeheartedly.

“I’m taking my work a lot more seriously now,” Shekhtman said. “I’ve just got to do well.”

Both Shekhtman and Parisse are enjoying the time they have spent at Temple and optimistically look forward to what the year will bring.

“It’s been awesome. I love it,” Shekhtman said. “I love living on my own. I just can’t wait for the year to keep going and for Temple to show me what it really has to offer.”

John A. Dailey can be reached at

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