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10 Things You’ll Only Understand If You Live On Campus At NIU

The majority of what I’ve learned about college and how NIU’s campus works is by living on campus myself. If you’re an NIU freshman, you’ll more than likely be doing the same. Living on a college campus has been an amazing experience. In doing so, I’ve been able to connect with and network with other college students in an environment that’s familiar to us. Not to mention the fact that I met the people I’m happy to call my best friends right here on NIU’s campus! However, here are a few things you need to know when you live on campus at NIU. If you’re here already, then I’m sure you may have experienced the following.

1. Loud geese early in the morning…

If you’ve ever lived in Stevenson Towers, Grant Towers, or New Hall, then you’ve probably learned from experience not to sleep with the window open unless you’re a heavy sleeper. The geese at NIU are no joke; they run the school and are not to be messed with. They’re loud, obnoxious and no one knows why they’re there, but they make their presence known. Very well known. From my experience, they tend to be the loudest in the mornings, so you might want to watch out for that if you, like me, are a light sleeper.

2. New Hall East means more convenient dining.

The New Residence Halls are comfortable, convenient, and the closest thing you’ll get to an apartment while still being on campus. The trick to making your experience at New Hall even better, though, is by picking a room in New Hall East. Why? Because it’s closer to the dining hall. Enough said. Granted, the walk from New Hall West isn’t far, it sure feels like it is in the winter. So if you’re staying in New Hall, do yourself a favor and stay in New Hall East.


3. When it comes to location, Neptune takes the cake.

Though New Hall is great and all, Neptune is where it’s at if you live on campus at NIU without a car and need quick access to most places on campus. Neptune is located right in the middle of campus, across the street from the student center, about a 5 minute walk away from most academic buildings, and the library is right past the MLK Commons across the street from Neptune. I’ve never lived in Neptune, so I’ve never been able to experience the feeling of leaving 10 minutes before a class starts and still making it on time. But I’m sure the feeling is fantastic.

4. If you live near Grant/Stevenson/New Hall, it’s ALWAYS game time.

You will NEVER be unaware that a sporting event is going on if you live on campus at NIU in any of the above dorms because they’re all (in)conveniently located near the Huskie Stadium. So you’ll hear every football play and halftime performance. I will admit, it’s great motivation to go out and attend a few football games with the rest of the school, but sometimes it’s quite the headache.

5. Navigating your way around Dusable Hall may turn you into a murderer.

Have you ever had the experience where you’re driving a car and some asshole cuts in front of you only to drive slowly? Imagine that happening over and over again. Only instead of cars, it’s other students. That’s what it’s like trying to get to a class in Dusable when it’s busy in the middle of the day, especially if your class is on the top floor. I’m certain that most students, no matter what your major or degree program is, will have at least one class in that building and F bombs will be dropped frequently.

6. Just avoid the elevator in the art building.

Taking a class in the art building means taking the stairs unless you want to be late to class. Of course, if you arrive to class early, it’s perfectly fine. You can spend the time in the elevator checking your email or watching an entire episode of pretty much any sitcom ever. Unless you’re physically in need of an elevator, save yourself the time and take the stairs.


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7. The library is way too packed when it’s time for exams.

If you decide to study at the library during midterms or finals week in the middle of the day then you’ve made a very rookie mistake, my friend. There will be absolutely nowhere to sit and pray you don’t need an outlet to charge your devices.

8. The coffee shops on campus fuel about half the student population.

If you’ve taken an 8 AM class at NIU, then 1) I’m sorry for you and I know the struggle and 2) you’ve probably hit up at least one of the many coffee shops around campus. Not only does just about every dining hall offer coffee, but most places on campus do too. There’s coffee sold in Dusable, there’s a café in the library, there are two coffee shops in the Student Center, and there’s a “Starbucks” (sells most, but not all Starbucks drinks) in the Gilbert Residence Hall. Coffee has been basically running through my veins for the past four years and I have absolutely no regrets.

9. The awesome feeling of getting a package in the mail!

To this day, I have no idea why it’s such a cool feeling, but it is! I always felt so awesome when I would go to the front desk of whatever residence hall I was staying in and there would be a package waiting for me and I’d go up the elevator back to my dorm and not so subtly try to show off the fact that I ordered something online. I kid you not, one time I ordered a pair of shoes from Just Fab and had an entire conversation with another girl on the elevator about shoes… Maybe that’s why I feel so cool when I get packages. It may seem like no big deal, but much appreciated when you live on campus at NIU.

10. Mastering shower schedules of communal bathrooms.

Sharing a bathroom with an entire floor of people seems intimidating when you live on campus at NIU, but it gets easier to deal with over time. The trick to making this experience a little better for you is by planning your showers around the times other people usually shower, if that’s something you’re willing to do. I’m someone who doesn’t need to shower at a specific time of the day, so this wasn’t too difficult for me. For example, when I lived in Grant, there was a girl who showered around the same time every day and she always had her music blaring way too loud. No one in their right mind has time for that, so I knew not to shower when she was in there.

These are just a few experiences I’ve had while living on NIU’s campus that I’m sure those of you who have already stayed on campus have experienced as well. As for prospective students, well, you’re in for a treat at NIU and these may be just a few of the things you’ll need to look forward to. Have a great time this fall at NIU (and seriously, don’t f*ck with the geese)!

What are other things you’ll only understand if you live on campus at NIU? Comment below and share the article!
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Shatece Haynes

Shatece is working towards a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater and a minor in LGBT Studies. She currently attends Northern Illinois University and is incredibly excited to be writing for SRtrends.

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