One of my favorite things about Northwestern is having classmates who come from so many different places and backgrounds. I’m from Arizona, but I’ve met people from all over the United States and beyond during my time here. Northwestern has definitely been a school where I’m able to learn from people with a  wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives. However, one of my concerns as an incoming freshman was making friends. Luckily, my first year residence hall eliminated my worries pretty quickly.

I lived in 1835 Hinman during my freshman year, which is one of the larger residences halls on the south end of campus. It’s arranged in a semi-suite style where every 6 or so rooms shared a lounge area and a bathroom. There were 6 of these suites (3 for guys, 3 for girls) on my floor, all connected so we met people in all of them. My floor in particular took advantage of the lounges; there was always someone in there working on their reading or watching a movie. I really liked this setup because I could go in my room to focus on homework, but whenever I needed a break, I had people around to talk to.

Luckily, we were a pretty mixed group. We had the aspiring sports broadcaster from California who could tell you anything you wanted to know about any sport. We also had the pre-med movie expert from Maine, and down the hall was the home-schooled student from Michigan who was pursuing dual degrees in Music and Engineering. Clearly we were an eclectic floor, but I think it was our diverse interests that helped us get along; we were each passionate about something and often more than willing to share that passion. Of course, we also always found things that we had in common.

The movie and TV marathons we would host are among my fondest memories from freshman year. We watched The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars trilogies, and a few of us watched The Amazing Race every week. We all found it easy to connect with each other through these common interests. Another great time to connect was over meals. Hinman conveniently has a dining hall on the first floor, and those who were around often ate together so I never lacked company.

The connections we made transcended freshman year. During my following years we had reunions as a floor, and groups of us still live together even in our senior year. As someone who was both excited and worried about making friends, my residence hall gave me a great first year experience.

–Jason Smith

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