Approximately half a year ago, many students were eager to be the first residents to live in the newly constructed Northslope Apartments, the most recent addition to the on-campus housing options at John Brown University.
Since living in the apartments for a full semester, the students have settled into life in the Northslopes, complete with its new furnishings and facilities.
However, many of the residents have realized that the community in this apartment-style living is significantly different from the typical dormitory-style living that they are accustomed to.
“It’s been totally different from living in the dorms,” Daniela Reyes, a resident in the apartments and a junior at the University, said. “In the dorms, you build community with freshmen and sophomore students, and I feel that, at the time, it was a good fit for me… but the transition to the apartments has been more than fabulous.”
Each apartment accommodates up to four residents and features a kitchen set, two bedrooms, a fully furnished living area, two bathrooms, a washer and a dryer.
“I think the facilities are really fantastic, especially the free laundry!” Reyes said. “As an international student, it’s a benefit to be able to cook your own meals and cook food that makes you feel almost like you’re home.”
However, while many of the residents appreciate the facilities provided by the University in the Northslope Apartments, some admit that the community within the apartments remains largely undeveloped.
“The community [in the apartments] is not as strong as it is in any other residence facility, especially Mayfield,” Reyes said.
Senior residents Rachel Palm and Lisa Hopper agreed.
“In the Northslopes, you generally don’t just go over to someone else’s room like you would in a dorm,” Palm said. “It’s really hard to develop community with this kind of group because most of us are seniors and we all have such different schedules. It’s hard making community.”
Hopper agreed, stating the community that she has had in the Northslope Apartments thus far has largely consisted of friends that she has made over the years rather than new people that she has met in the apartments.
Residents mentioned that they largely attribute the lack of well-developed community in the Northslope Apartments to the fact that most of the students who live there are upperclassmen with difficult and busy schedules.
They also mentioned that since the Northslope Apartments have only been open for one semester, most of the residents are still growing accustomed to this style of on-campus living.
According to Reyes, the most important community to build when living in the Northslope Apartments is with one’s housemates.
“This is a place where I can get comfortable with the group of girls that I live with. It’s a really good fit for upperclassmen who are very into their studies and just want to get away from the routine,” Reyes said. “I think what makes it most valuable is the community that you build with your housemates. The community and the friendships that you build when you live together makes the JBU experience different.”
Despite the differences in community, Reyes concedes that living in the Northslope Apartments with her fellow housemates has been one of the most rewarding seasons of her life at the University thus far.