Resident Life Survey Gives Tips to First Year Dormies

Alexandria Geotz, Reporter

McHale Hall’s Resident Director Laura Klym hopes results from a new survey will provide her with information to make living for Hall residents even better.

“I started the end of year survey to see what students really thought of their first year in McHale. It was helpful to me as an RD because I tried to not make the same mistakes and used the information I had to better enhance the first year experience,” Klym said.

Laura Klym has been a Resident Director for two years and she has lived in McHale for both years.

Klym says the survey is helpful because it gives current freshman who are living in McHale a chance to give advice to  incoming freshman and tell them what to expect.. She said some advice students provided included how to meet new people.

Klym said answers to questions such as “If you lived in a triple, what are some helpful suggestions to enhance your triple experience?,”  “What is the best way to get information across to you?” and “What advice would you give to an incoming first year student?” are particularly important.

Results help Klym know if she needs to make changes. “I haven’t read through enough of (the results) yet to see any consistent themes on what needs to be assessed for change. I know a lot of people mentioned problems with the laundry machines, which will be changed over to free laundry for next year, and I’ve seen some surveys mention quiet hours being an issue. But overall, people seem to have really enjoyed living in McHale and their first year at MU,” Klym said.

Klym hoped for honest feedback. “I keep it anonymous, light and fun, hoping that students will really contribute their thoughts. Everyone experiences McHale differently,” Klym says.

The results of previous year’s survey shows Klym that students  suggest that incoming first year students leave their doors open to get to know new people at the beginning of the school year, and get to know the RAs in the building.

Klym said other helpful responses are from people who have been in triples who encourage  people to rearrange their furniture to save space.

Some experiences that residents shared with Klym included, “I’ve learned that everyone is caring, funny and sometimes crazy, but we’ve become like a family. I wish we didn’t have to leave McHale.” Residents said they had a lot of fun. “I made a lot of new friends and it felt like a home away from home. I wish I could live in this building again” and “I’ve met amazing friends and people here, especially with the RAs and RD”.

The residents also liked that there were  activities that helped them to get to know more people. “I was able to connect with my fellow freshman class, and I didn’t know anyone. It was a very welcoming environment,” said one student and “Fun activities to get involved with/get to know other residents in the building,” said another.

The survey also gives residents a chance to give advice to incoming freshman who will be living in McHale.

Some helpful advice  included making the best of everything and not to be afraid to leave your door open and get to know your neighbors but to also be respectful of one another.  Others explained how to maintain a good relationship with roommates.

One response offered comfort. “Your freshman year is the best year to meet new people and create lasting friendships. Try to get along with your roommate. It is awkward at first but you will get used to them being there, and if you aren’t best friends, don’t be discouraged but always remain courteous of one another.” Another response said, “Make every experience positive and make friends. Do not be afraid to talk to the people who are living near you. Everyone is in the same boat and looking for friends and to meet new people. Have fun!”

Other responders advised students to remember why they are in college and to focus on schoolwork. “It’s a great place to live to make lots of new friends and have a family kind of environment, but make sure you make time to study and it is okay to not be with friends all the time.”

Klym also has advice for incoming freshman. “Take advantage of all of the opportunities offered here and don’t ever be afraid to speak to me, to your RAs, to your roommate, to your professors, or to anyone. I found college was an opportunity for me to really get to know myself and my interests and helped shape me into the person I am today. Be yourself. There are a lot of zebras, but few white horses.”

Freshman occupational therapy major Beth Pfisterer lived in McHale, and she doesn’t regret it. “I really liked living here. It was a lot of fun and I met a lot of great people.” Pfisterer said.

“I think that the survey is a great idea. It’s a good way for R.D. Laura to hear our feedback and to know if she needs to change anything for next year” said sophomore occupational therapy major, Caitlin Chappell.

Chappell also liked that residents can give advice. “For me, it’s nice to hear advice from someone who was just in your position last year. It’s easier to relate to that person and to believe them. Plus, you know that students are going to be completely honest and let incoming freshman know what to expect.”