Sherman Ave Freshman Guide: Living in Willard
Ah, Willard—the largest dorm on South Campus composed of freshman and some brave sophomores and upperclassmen. Located right next to the bustling metropolis of downtown Evanston, Willard can be a great place to live if you have classes down South (School of Communication.) Or, maybe you just like being near capitalistic American staples like grocery stores, government buildings, and the homeless. On the contrary, do you know what other important things were labeled as “in the South” by America? The Confederacy. But, any dorm is what you make of it, so here’s what you need to know.
Like I mentioned earlier, Willard is in a relatively amazing location. Smack dab in the middle of the Sorority Quad, Willard is just a block or two away from venues like CVS, Chipotle, Starbucks, and other downtown must-haves. If you care about only having to walk a block to get a bottle of toothpaste or a nice cup of coffee, Willard is the place for you. However, Willard is also far from North campus, where the frat quad is located. Walking in the early fall and late Spring to an off-campus party with your home boys/girls is great when Evanston’s weather doesn’t want to ruin your life. If you want an accurate description of what walking up North in the winter is like, do the following: open your freezer, put your hand in the freezer, and slam your freezer door on your hand repeatedly until it falls off.
2. Dorm Rooms
Imagine you’re one of the leading ladies from Sex and The City, living the dream in New York City. Visualize it. Now, imagine you’re not as pretty, not as wealthy, your apartment is the size of a generously designed handicap stall, and your life is so sexless that HBO has now decided to call your show Just The City, No Sex, Have Fun Masturbating in Your Shower. I’m making it sound worse than it is, but Willard rooms can run either pretty big, or pretty small. Sophomores/upperclassmen usually snatch up the bigger ones because they know the difference between shitting in a hole in the ground and shitting in a Port-o-Potty. There’s no air conditioning, but that’s only bad in the beginning of fall and end of spring. Buy a fan, and you’ll survive. Regardless, it’s still a great place to call home if you make the best of it.
Willard used to be a women-only dorm. This means there are no urinals—only stalls. It’s great for when you need to vomit, which if you do college right, will be often and not in the toilet. Just do everyone a favor and don’t leave your hair in the fucking drains. Also, get excited for that one day in the winter when there’s no hot water, because that’s when you understand what it feels like to want to drink at 8:00 AM.
Willard has a kitchen, two basement rooms for events, a study lounge, TV lounge, dining hall, and a laundry room. These are (mostly) functional places that fit their designated purposes. They’re thinking of building a gym in the basement, but you’ll burn enough calories doing fun activities like walking up North or sobbing to not need a workout.
Northwestern has the #12 dining hall food in the country, meaning you’re not as likely to find glass in your food, but still pretty likely to find glass in your food. As far as dining halls go, Willard has good days, and it has bad days. The dining staff is composed of some of the nicest, most caring people you’ll ever meet, so even if the food isn’t that great some days, the people who work there are the bomb.
6. Partying and CAs
Don’t be seen carrying alcohol, don’t be heard from across the other side of the building, and make it to the toilet and to your bedroom by the end of the night. From experience, I can tell you that CAs do not like it when you are being loud, throwing up in the sink, or lying in the middle of a hallway at 2:00 AM cradling a bag of Franzia like it’s the only thing keeping you warm.
7. Partying, Friends, and the Community
Meet the right people, and you’ll have a good time. Willard is the kind of place where if you want to go hard, you can definitely do it. But, if you don’t want to go hard, that’s cool too. Chill in your room and Netflix the night away. I know I dorm drank many a night. I also found people to walk to the frat quad with me many a night, many of whom I am still friends with today. At the same time, I also found people who just wanted to not drink. It’s a dorm of almost 300 people; you’ll figure it out, and you’ll make plenty of amazing friends. Willard is a great place to bond and work with people if you make the effort to do those things. Challenge by choice, people.
At the end of the day, Willard is what you make of it. Just don’t be the kid who sets off the fire alarm and causes the evacuation of 300 people from their rooms at 5:00 AM during -19 degree temperatures. It happened, we still don’t know who it was, and we’re still not over it. Tread lightly.