Category Archives: Dorm Life

Grateful for Gateway: the Honors Student Perspective

By: Erika Dietrick, Undergraduate Director of Marketing and Communications

gateway 5

The first class of Gateway Hall moved into East Carolina University’s premier residence hall in August. Boasting a number of amenities from music practice rooms to basketball facilities, Gateway sits atop College Hill as the new home of the Honors College Living-Learning community. Now, after a semester of dorm living, both Honors College freshmen and upperclassmen are sharing why they are proud to call Gateway home. (Photo, left, by Patrick Fay.)

The Lucky Ones

As told by Shamin Jamadar, Honors College Freshman

“‘Oh my gosh, you’re so lucky!’ is most definitely a phrase every resident of Gateway has become accustomed to hearing. It also goes without saying that this is a very accurate statement. From both lounges and study rooms on each floor, to wide closet spaces, Gateway has it all; although, what is even better than Gateway itself is the people that inhabit it.”

New Dorm Provides a Learning ‘Gateway’ atop College Hill

As told by Jason Schodt, Honors College Freshman

study rooms

Photo by Patrick Fay

“Living in the new Gateway dorm atop College Hill was an experience that I looked forward to before I entered ECU in August. I anticipated I would find a modern dorm that would be comfortable and an enjoyable living environment. However, Gateway is more than just a new and spacious living space. It is also an incredible learning environment that has assisted my academic development as an Engineering and Music student.

The multiple study rooms that can be found on each floor are an incredible resource for my fellow Honors College students and I. These rooms are a great place for Honors freshmen to meet with their community service groups from Honors 2000. My group and I meet each week to discuss the progress of our work with a community organization. Additionally, housing the Honors College students together facilitates collaboration and discussion. I have several Honors College students on my floor who are also Engineering students and they are an excellent collaborative resource.”

Second Year Perspective: a Light-Hearted, Heart-Felt Review of Gateway

Roommates Kevin Nguyen and Cameron Worthington finish unpacking in their new home!

Roommates Kevin Nguyen and Cameron Worthington finish unpacking in their new home!

As told by Kevin Nguyen, Honors College Sophomore

“If I could say one thing about Gateway, it would be that it’s gigantic. If you haven’t seen it, it’s five floors full of the smartest people you’d ever have the pleasure to meet. Coming from my last dorm into Gateway, there’s no comparison between the two. Literally no comparison. Gateway has an elevator, albeit you can’t jump in it, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that we have an elevator. Very handy. The washing machines are fantastic and not old and will not leak water all over the floor, which is generally just very agreeable. However, I’d have to say that the best part about Gateway is the fact that people rarely stay in their rooms. I can’t say if this is a result of Gateway or the people, but it is quite enjoyable and honestly one of the best experiences I’ve had in a dorm. I may have had only two years of experience with one of them being Gateway, but that’s no matter. Gateway, at its core, is the people in it. And the people in it are some of the best I’ve ever befriended.”

Grateful for the Gateway Experience

As told by Tricia Malcolm, Honors College Freshman

Inside of Gateway

Photo by Patrick Fay

“I love living in Gateway. It is the best place to live on campus. I am so thankful to be in the Honors College so that I can live in that beautiful dorm. If I was not in the Honors College, I would have had to live in an older dorm with rooms that aren’t nearly as nice. Gateway has big rooms with tall ceilings that do not make me feel confined. Gateway also has very clean bathrooms with plenty of showers and toilets.

My experience living in Gateway has been overwhelmingly positive. The Hall Government and RA’s put on little events with free food all the time. The events can be informative or even just a dance party. There was this one time when they held a “Netflix and No Chill” event–they also provided free chick-fil-a nuggets and sauce. That was a lot of fun. Sometimes people gather in the lobby to watch football games or Harry Potter.

If you are a sports lover, Gateway is a great fit for you. We are right beside the football stadium, so if you want to head on over to a game you do not need to walk far! If you are not into football, you still have the feeling of school spirit as you walk down the hill toward campus on almost any day. You will pass the school’s marching band rehearsing, the dance club dancing, and several groups practicing. It is a lot of fun to walk past and listen to the band’s rendition of several James Bond songs on the way to my Chemistry Lab.”

first class

Dear College Freshmen

By: Jessica Rogers, EC Scholar and Honors College Sophomore

10440198_10205924317618613_8649788947709316001_nThe following blog post was originally featured on The Blog of Jessica. Photo: Jessica (right) and friend (left) graduate from Nash Central High School in 2014.

Dear college freshmen,

Wow… even though you are all still in school right now, you have officially gained the title here at college as “the new freshmen”. You’re mere months away from moving away from home and starting a new chapter of your life!

A year ago, I was right where you are. I had no idea what this next year had in store for me. I was excited, I was scared, I was depressed, I was every feeling you could possibly imagine and more. And secretly, I bet you feel like that, too.

So, as you play your final sports matches, perform in your final school musicals, and finish up those last exams, I wanted to give you some advice that I wish someone had told me at this point last year.

Don’t pack more than you need. You’ll be happily surprised at how little you can live off of. And you’ll be thankful for the space in your dorm room.

The freshman 15 WILL happen. No matter how much you try to avoid it, there’s a 9 in 10 chance that it will happen. It just comes from living a new lifestyle and the stress that comes with it. You’ll get rid of it soon. Don’t let it stress you out.

Communicate with your roommate. Set boundaries and know each other’s pet peeves. More importantly, KNOW YOUR PET PEEVES BEFORE YOU GO TO COLLEGE. I cannot stress that enough.

You are at college to learn. That should always come first.

….but also, know when to take a break from school, step back, and have fun. Watch Netflix. Go sit in a dining hall with your best friends for 3 hours. Go out partying at least once. Don’t be afraid of letting loose a little bit.

The schoolwork will be challenging. You’ll feel like giving up. Don’t. And don’t feel bad if you start feeling like you can’t do it, that’s natural. Just believe that you can, and you will.

But also, don’t be afraid of change. If you feel strongly like you need to change your major, go for it, but only if you know that it’s what you want and it is what will make you happy.

Absolutely NO ONE has their life together, but everyone likes to fake like they do. Don’t let them fool you. Don’t feel bad if you feel lost or stressed, everyone else does, too. You’re all in this together, going through the exact same transition at the same time.

It is perfectly okay to go home. If you go home over breaks, that’s awesome. If you go home once a month, cool. Once a week, still awesome. Sometimes in the middle of the week? As long as you’re back for class. If you feel like you need to go home, don’t be ashamed.

(And if absolute worst comes to worst, and you decide that college isn’t for you right now, it is always okay to go home.)

You are going to be around the same people for long periods of time. You are going to love most of them, but there will be a few that make you want to scream. Learn how to adapt and cope with that kind of energy. It’s hard, but you’ll get it eventually.

Don’t lock yourself in your dorm room for longer than 8 hours at a time (unless you are sleeping). Get out, hang out with friends, do some laundry, take a walk, go to the library, anything just to keep your blood flowing and your social energy alive.

Let’s face it, 80% of college kids drink alcohol, and you may want to as well. It’s your decision, but know the risks going in, especially since you are underage. Keep in mind that if you are caught underage drinking, you can lose scholarships, respect, even admission into the school.

If you do decide to drink, and it is your first time drinking, make sure it is in a safe place with people you trust. Large parties are absolutely NOT the place to drink for the first time. Watch your drink being made. Keep it in your watch at all times. Drink lots and lots of water. Make sure you eat before. Do everything that you possibly can to make sure that you stay as safe and as in control as possible.

And I swear, if I find out that any of you are drinking and driving, I will come find you and kill you if your stupidity doesn’t do it first. You risk not only your life, but also the lives of the people you pass on your way home. It’s a selfish act and absolutely unacceptable. Find a trusted DD or stay wherever you are until you are sober.

Don’t be afraid to talk to your professors. They are mainly around to help you grow. They will answer your questions and be your guide as you attempt to pass their class.

And my small pieces of fun advice: save the number of every delivery person who calls you, so you know exactly who is giving you your food each time. (Lots of delivery guys are SUPER cute, so you need to know when to be presentable.) Do not pick up dollar bills off the street. If you stick around in Starbucks a few hours, you can usually pick up a free drink that someone abandoned at some point. If you eat Chick-Fil-A every day, you will get sick of Chick-Fil-A. Going into a 24 hours grocery store at 2:00am or later is a good idea maybe once.

But finally, and this is the big one, do not be afraid to let go. As you finish high school, you’re going to want to hold on to those times forever, because right now, they’re the best times you have. College will be so much better, but in order to embrace it, you have to truly let go of high school.

It’s a proven fact that 25% of high school friendships last through the first year of college. You will lose some of your friends. That’s okay, you’ve got amazing friends coming. You and your younger boyfriend/girlfriend will try the long-distance thing, and there’s a high probability that it will fail. That’s okay, there’s more fish in the sea. You will return to your high school, and you will see that your AP classes, your drama department, your sports team, etc, are doing great without you, and it’s going to make you upset. That’s okay, you are off doing bigger and better things. It’s all about learning to accept that what’s gone is gone, and while you can remember the good times, you have to embrace the new world you’re about to live.

Get ready for the most intense yet rewarding year of your life. You’re going to feel on top of the world at some points, and at other points you will want to crawl into a hole and die. But in the end, you get to come out knowing that you conquered living on your own and being an adult. At least for now.

And if you ever need any help or advice, you know where to find me.

All the best, and good luck!


Jessica Rogers, your newest college sophomore

Home Away From Home: The ECU School of Music

By: Maggie Mullis, Honors College Junior

Maggie MullisIf you have never been inside Fletcher (The ECU School of Music), you have missed out on one of the most magical places on campus. Music fills the halls, echoing and colliding to create an atmosphere that I have grown so accustomed to that I even find it comforting.  From the melodic voices of the vocalists humming their repertoire to check their memory; to the percussionists finding surfaces everywhere to practice their impossible rhythms upon; to the classical guitarists hidden under the stairwell and in various corners impressively strumming at rapid rates, music follows you everywhere.  This haven of music is one of the few places I have come to call home.

Fletcher has not always felt this way for me.  Three years ago, when I walked through the heavy doors wearing my polka-dot rain boots with a professional skirt and sweater, this building seemed far from comforting.  This was the day of my audition.  The day I willingly stood in front of experts in my future field of study and vulnerably sang for their approval.  When I close my eyes and reflect on this memory, I cringe at everything about that day, from my song choice to my meticulously planned outfit (thankfully, I did bring a change of shoes).  Despite my complete lack of classical technique and confidence, the professors at my audition saw something in me and asked me to come back.  A few months later, I did it all again, implementing their suggestions of repertoire genre and key, and I was accepted.

As I began classes in the fall of the following year, Fletcher became my home.  I spent more time there than in my dorm, stumbling through piano, music theory, and a style of singing I had never before experienced.  There were many nights after late practice sessions that I would trek across campus and sneak into my room after my roommate was fast asleep.  Learning to manage my time so that these late nights became less and less frequent was one of the most valuable lessons I learned freshman year.  Now, two years later, I am rarely at Fletcher late, but the time I spent there early in my career cannot be forgotten.  Every now and then I will realize that it’s one a.m. and I’m still in a practice room.

Inside of this building, the people are amazing.  Every professor is supportive and extremely passionate about what they do.  Taking lessons from one of the most talented sopranos I have ever heard was intimidating at first.  However, after three years in my voice professor’s studio, I look forward to lessons and feel as though I can tell her anything.  I remember one time during my freshman year, I was on the way to my lesson I busted open my lip on the door to the stairwell.  When I came to my lesson crying, my professor ran around the school of music looking for ice, and when she couldn’t find any, she offered me her frozen dinner as an ice-pack.  Instances like these help me feel at home where I am.  All of my professors have been where I am and know all of the stress involved so they want to do anything they can to help.  It is a true blessing to feel supported by an entire faculty of professionals, and I am so glad that I get to call Fletcher home.

Choosing a Community of Camaraderie

By: Ann Marie Ballance, Honors College Sophomore

Ann Marie

One of the most exciting days of my high school senior year was receiving my acceptance letter from the ECU Honors College. As an education major, I wanted to attend ECU because of their reputation in producing great teachers; however, I still questioned whether or not I would to attend ECU because I was considering the other schools to which I had been accepted. Receiving my acceptance letter from ECU’s Honors College changed the indecision. I was certain that I wanted to go to ECU because I saw an amazing opportunity to grow in academics and leadership through the different programs offered in the Honors College. Besides the scholarship and other experiences, a main selling point was the ability to be part of community of students who were interested in learning. I knew that while living in the Honors Living Learning Community during my freshman year, I would meet amazing students who had similar interests and were motivated like me.

Looking back, I can see that the Honors Living Learning Community was one of the most important parts of my freshman year. As I had thought, I met people who were motivated both inside and outside the classroom with interests in improving themselves and others. As a History Education major, I always love to see people sharing their knowledge and passions which is at the core of the Honors College. Many students come from different majors; however, all of us are truly interested in helping others through our interests. I never expected that many of my friends would come from varying majors and the Honors College; although, I am really glad that they have.

Dorm Room Dish: Eating Healthier in College

ECS 2013By: Sarah Lisson, EC Scholar and Honors College Junior

Inspiration often strikes at strange times. In my case, it happened to be in the middle of a four-hour bus ride to Virginia for a living-learning trip in April 2014. I was talking to a friend (who also happens to be a blogger) about my desire to write more. I had kept a blog while studying abroad in London, but I hadn’t had anything to post in the nine months since I’d returned. My friend suggested starting a food and nutrition blog to combine my love of writing with my major, and the proverbial light bulb instantly went off. I started brainstorming potential titles and topics and even drafted a few posts. In mid-August, Dorm Room Dish was born.

Dorm Room Dish’s tagline is “Nutrition tips and tricks for college students, by a college student.” I started Dorm Room Dish to help fellow college students eat well and make the most of their meal plans or tight budgets. I still live and eat on campus, so I understand the struggles many students face when trying to put together healthy meals and snacks. Through my blog, I’ve been able to share recipes and tips that have worked for me and highlight some of my favorite healthy options on and near campus. The feedback I’ve received so far from my peers and professors has been very positive, and I’ve had a lot of fun working on each post.

I publish a new post every Monday morning at If you’re interested in making healthier food choices, cooking in a dorm, or simply adding a little more variety to your diet, I encourage you to check it out!

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