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The First-Year’s Unofficial Guide to the Housing Lottery

The lottery brings out a variety of emotions in people.  Excitement, stress, anxiety, expectation, fear, and the most common emotion among first-year students: Uncertainty.  Many first-years  go into the lottery having heard various horror stories from upper classmen leading to unnecessary panic and stress.  As a sophomore who has experienced the housing lottery once already, I have come to realize that most of the stories and experiences I heard as a first-year put a very specific idea into my head of how the lottery would play out.  What I didn’t realize until after lottery was that this idea was very different than what I actually experienced.   

 
With the lottery coming up in a couple of weeks, I sought out all the tips, tricks, and advice I could from other fellow upper classmen in order to help cast away some of the pre-conceived notions and fears of the lottery experience.  So here it is, the first-year student’s unofficial guide to the housing lottery.
 
1) Be on time:  Not only is it important to register for the lottery on time, but just as important to show up on time.  The residential staff always starts the lottery promptly, and you don’t want to risk missing valuable directions or information at the beginning.
 
2) Keep an open mind:  There is nothing worse than setting your mind on one specific housing option, only to end up dissatisfied.  The night of the lottery can be stressful and things change very quickly.  It’s best to go into the lottery with a few different options in mind to prevent disappointment and drama.  
 
3) Bring a map:  The night of the lottery, bring a printed out floor plan of the building you are thinking about living in.  The residential staff in charge of the lottery does not announce what rooms are filled to those waiting, but as friends exit the room, ask them what room they picked.  That way you can cross off what rooms are no longer available to prevent disappointment and anxiety once you get inside. 
 
4) Listen for your Number:  Don’t be that girl too focused on talking to friends in the waiting room that you miss the calling of your lottery number.  You can imagine the excess amount of stress and anxiety to proceed from a situation like this.
 
5) Stand up for yourself and your interests:  If your best friend is trying to convince you that living together next year is a great idea, but you aren’t quite sure you feel the same, go with your gut.  Even though it might be awkward explaining to a close friend you don’t want to live with them, it is often worth keeping your interests and gut feelings close in order to save friendships in the long run.  
 
6) Branch out:  Sophomore year is a great time to branch outside of your immediate friend group and make new friends.  Don’t be afraid to reach outside of this group when looking for roommates.  Sometimes living with a person you don’t really know can end up being a great experience.
 
7) Most importantly, know you will get housed:  There are always a few individuals every year who do not get housed the night of lottery, but all of these students are housed before they arrive back on campus in the fall.  You may not get your first choice of living, but know that no matter where you are on campus, your living experience is what you make of it.  Being separated from some of your friends can be something you dwell upon, or you can see it as a great opportunity to meet new people, embrace your new residence hall community, and create a unique sophomore year experience.
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