Student Life

The Housing Hypothesis: The Stereotypes Shaping First-Year Residence Life

Heather Higgins | The PhoenixDespite the various stereotypes surrounding her residence, Mertz resident Marianna Alcantar said her dorm is "one of the better ones."

Mertz ’til it hurtz. Simpson breakfast is the best. Francis kids don’t talk. de Nobili is always loud.  San Francisco catches on fire once a week. Campion is filled with rats. Wait, what’s St. Joe’s? 

For some students, certain thoughts come to mind for each first-year residence hall, suggesting where a student lives says more about them than just their address. 

Every year, incoming students are randomly placed into residence halls, with a few exceptions, according to Residence Life. These dorms range from the towering 19 stories of Mertz Hall to the newest addition of Francis Hall. While the residence hall assignments are random, the stereotypes are not — leaving some students to have a reputation before they’ve moved in.

First-year Kristen Jacob currently lives in Francis Hall. Some students see Francis Hall — which houses honor students — as home to the nerdy kids, according to Jacob. However, the neuroscience major, who is not a member of the honors program, doesn’t entirely agree.

“A lot of people I know who live in Francis are not in honors, and even if they are, people still go out,” Jacob, 18, said. “It’s just that we don’t interact with each other as much. I think that’s the issue.”

Francis’ reputation has remained consistent over the past year. Morgan Reeb, an elementary education major who lived in Francis last year, said non-Francis residents assumed the dorm was full of honors students who were pretentious and stuck up. Last year, the lower floors housed the honors students, while the upper floors were random, according to Reeb.

“They [other students] called it ‘the penthouse’ because all the non-Honors kids had to live up there, so there was obviously some ridicule for that,” Reeb said. 

Social work major and Mertz resident Evelyn Garcia said students from other dorms see Francis as the newer, nicer residence hall while assuming most people there are arrogant about being in the honors program. She said she believes Francis and honors go hand in hand. 

“You never hear one without the other,” Garcia, 18, said. 

Garcia’s roommate, Marianna Alcantar, said she agrees with the stereotypes about Francis and is aware of what people say about Mertz. The psychology major said she can’t deny that Mertz is social and noisy compared to other dorms, yet ensures that it is not as bad as it seems. 

Mertz is the largest building on campus which towers 19 stories high, according to Residence Life. Alcantar said Mertz is typically perceived as the worst place to call home because of its high volume of residents.

Both Alcantar and Garcia said Mertz’s stereotype is infamous for scandals and constant screaming, and they know other students perceive Mertz residents as the wildest among Ramblers. However, Alcantar and Garcia believe it’s worth it for the view and social interactions. 

“People think it’s the worst dorm, but I think it’s one of the better ones,” said Alcantar as she emphasized it isn’t as crazy as it seems. 

While they take pride in living in Merz, both Garcia and Alcantar said they would rather live in Simpson Hall. Characterized by its relaxed, friendly and laid-back atmosphere, other students tend to view Simpson residents as introverted and quiet. 

First-year Katie Hudgens believes in the stereotype that Simpson is the most challenging place to meet people. She said she expected the dorm to be more social but was disappointed with the lack of mingling amongst residents.

While Francis and Simpson seem to fall short in the social scene, and Mertz is the loudest of the dorms, the consensus across campus holds Campion Hall as the worst of Loyola residence halls. Alcantar said she’s reminded of rat sightings when she thinks of the dorm, and Reeb said the building is isolated from the rest of campus.

Camila Estrada, a sophomore who lived in de Nobili Hall as a first-year student, said she sees the chaos of Mertz as superior to the grime of Campion. 

Estrada said unlike this year’s stereotype, last year’s de Nobili residents became known by some for keeping to themselves.

To an outsider like Jacob, de Nobili, or as she calls it “de No,”  is known as the extroverted yet less rowdy dorm where everybody knows everybody. Jacob said the dorm is the perfect place to meet people due to the pool tables and the shared kitchen. 

“If you live in de No then you know a lot of people in the entire building,” Jacob said.

Jacob said she believes the community-style living and massive lounges cause others to label de Nobili kids as the social butterflies of campus.

Reinforcing the stereotype that there are always people to meet and friends to make in de Nobili, resident Thomas Erskine loves the social aspect of the dorm. Erskine said from his experience, there are almost always people in the lounge and community areas. 

Similar in setup to de Nobili but not as wild as Mertz, San Francisco Hall and its stereotypes remain mostly untalked about across Loyola, according to Amethyst Valadkhani. However, San Francisco’s fire alarms are known around campus to wake up residents in the early hours of the morning, Valadkani said.

 “I live in fear that I will be awoken by a fire alarm,” San Francisco Hall resident Valadkhani said. 

Last, but certainly not least, the stereotype about St. Joseph’s Hall is simple: some students don’t know what it is. Across the street from the backside of Mertz, St. Joseph’s students must keep as low of a profile as their dorm, because some students can’t identify a single resident. 

“That’s a freshman dorm? I don’t know anyone in there,” Valadkhani said.

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