One of the biggest questions incoming students (and their parents) have about Rice is: what are the rooms like? Am I going to have to live with a roommate? Is my bathroom down the hall? How much stuff should I bring?
The answer is: it depends. Each residential college is different in how they do rooming. There are usually standard living options for freshman, though, which give you the opportunity to live with others. At my time at Rice, I’ve lived two years in a double and one year in a suite of five people. Because there are different arrangements at every college, take my experience with a grain of salt. Here are just a few observations about my time at Rice (and specifically, living inside Duncan College).
My first two years at Rice, I lived in doubles with two very different people. My roommate freshman year was, like me, quiet and introverted, and we had similar sleep schedules, so we didn’t have many conflicts arise. My roommate sophomore year was a little bit more active in the community, but my very good friend, and we compromised with ease. These experiences were super valuable to me: living with another person can teach you to be conscientious of other people and their space and needs.
The downside in both cases is that it can be hard to really make your space your own. If you need to stay up late one night working on a paper, and your roommate wants to go to bed, you have to respect their wishes and go work on it somewhere else. If you have to wake up for a really early meeting, you kind of have to tiptoe around to not wake up your roommate. If you want to have your sibling visit at Rice, you have to make those arrangements ahead of time. Overall, it’s best to go into a year living in a double positively and thoughtfully. If you and your roommate agree to have a respectful, conscientious relationship, you will learn so much from living with someone else, and you’ll be able to share your life and things and day with someone in a really cool way.
The suites at Duncan are different from the suites at other colleges, but the concept is the same: we live in separate rooms connected to common spaces. My suite is composed of five singles and two bathrooms around our common living space. This is a more common arrangement for upperclassmen; most suites for underclassmen are suites of doubles. Personally, I prefer living in a suite. I like this for a few reasons. First, if I want privacy, I can just go into my room. But, if I want to see people and not have to go very far, I can go to our common space. Living suite-style is great for this compromise, but it also has its challenges. If someone in my suite wants to host an event or have a guest, the other four people have to approve, and if any one person disagrees, the event can’t happen. Usually, this won’t cause too much of a conflict, but it is something to keep in mind. Suite-style living teaches you a different way of getting along with people, too. It teaches compromise and sharing of items, being responsible for cleaning and maintaining a space you share with others, and planning ahead.
Many new students at Rice will be placed in doubles, or suites of some type, so these perspectives might be helpful when coming into Rice. If you have further questions, you can always check out the websites of the residential colleges, many of which show room layouts. But also, don’t worry about living too much. It’s an important part of living here, but it doesn’t have to make or break your college experience.