So, as readers of UNH Tales will know, I live in Fairchild Hall which I personally believe has the best community of all of the dorms on campus (but maybe I’m biased). Having primarily international students mixed with a large number of out of state (I’m from Connecticut and my roommates are from New Jersey and Maine) and in state students encourages a lot of socials—there’s something going on everyday here! And even when there isn’t a social planned, Fairchildren (our name for our residents) still gather in our main lounge to study together, watch movies or the League of Legends tournament, or play any number of video games ranging from FIFA to The Last of Us. Members of my floor gets together every Monday for Dancing With the Stars because of Bill Nye the Science Guy and Tuesdays for New Girl on Fox.
One of the most unique socials that Fairchild has yearly is the Big-Little, something generally associated with Greek Life. Big-Little, in its simplest form, is when an upperclassman takes on a freshman as not only a friend but a mentee. The relationship is about friendship and helping them get through their first year of college. Starting on Wednesday the 18th, Bigs were given their Little and had to sneak at least three clues to them before the 25th’s Big reveal (pun intended). I knew my Little from my stats class so I was able to come up with some pretty great clues. For one, my Little and I both love Doctor Who so I made her a Who themed gift with a list of my favorite things about the British TV show. Before that I left little notes and candy since everyone loves receiving chocolate when there are exams coming up! My final note included a list of my favorite shows, books and an “assignment” for my Little—Google the lyrics I wrote into the mini-book and find my favorite songs.
The Big reveal was great. Littles, when reviewing their clues for the group, either knew exactly who their Big was or had no clue. Some of the best reveals were from my Little, Mercedes, and my roommate Alona’s Little, Chandler. Mercedes was so excited and bubbly and made everyone laugh while, thanks to Alona’s serial killer style magazine cut out notes, Chandler seemed a bit scared. But whether they knew or not, the social was full of laughs and a great opportunity to learn about the residents of Fairchild. And this social event, which will continue throughout the rest of the school year, is one of the best examples of community building I have seen in a dorm. Yes, all dorms have floor and, at least one, whole dorm social. But socials as simple as an arts and crafts night don’t necessarily create the supportive community that students need.
College is stressful and having someone, especially as a Freshman, who has experience and who you can turn to is an invaluable asset. The Big-Little event at Fairchild is really a way to create a support system within the dorm. And as anyone can see when you walk in, the community that has been built here is as strong as any family. Something like this may be harder in a larger dorm like Stoke (Fairchild has about 150 residents vs. Stoke’s 611) but it’s a great idea for any floor or whole dorm around campus!
And on a side note, if you feel like you need someone to talk to and don’t have the support system you’d like,the UNH Counseling Center is a great tool for any student!