A Fresh View: Housing Lottery Shenanigans

Hi everyone! My name is Jee Won Diane Kang and I’ll be your correspondent for A Fresh View this year. This column will chronicle some of my experiences as a freshman at Brown, and will include the highs and lows of that incredible journey.

Hello everyone, and welcome to another post of A Fresh View!

I hope that you all have been doing well these past couple of days; I’ve been struggling to keep on top of things, especially since this week has objectively been the worst academic week of my entire life. A bunch of papers hit me all at once and without even a chance to catch my breath I got slammed with a couple of midterms as well.

Me versus all my work (feat. amazing animation by Studio Ghibli like look at that water it’s gorgeous)

To make matters worse, I had upwards of 300 pages of readings to do per night which means that I am currently very behind…


So please excuse the brevity of this post while I try to catch up to the mountain of work waiting for me~

Instead of talking about how miserable I am because of my workload, let’s instead discuss another thing that’s crushing my soul: the housing lottery and the process of figuring out who to live with and where to be. I’ll touch a little bit on what you have to consider for sophomore housing, and how I personally feel about it.

It’s common knowledge that the housing lottery at Brown is a sort of necessary evil – no one really likes it, it doesn’t make much sense, and as a result of all these factors, it’s an undue amount of stress during an already stressful time of year.

The housing lottery is how everyone besides first years chooses where they’ll be living and with whom. Luckily, housing is guaranteed all four years at Brown so it’s not like you have to worry about being homeless or anything. First years and sophomores are required to live on campus, but you can start living off campus starting your junior year. The process for finding out where you’re living as a first year is actually very low effort on your part – you fill out a survey, and ResLife tells you where you are. You find out who your roommates are over the summer so you can get to know each other, because all first years are required to have random roommate selection.

As a sophomore, you don’t have to deal with any of that, though, because you get to pick your roommates as well as your room (sort of). Basically, after  your first year you get entered into the infamous housing lottery…

Can’t seem to shake my nostalgia trip from last week…

The worst thing about the housing lottery is the fact that it makes itself unnecessarily confusing by having you form a housing group that is not necessarily who you’ll be rooming with. Basically, you form a housing group and designate a leader within that group. When the time for the lottery comes, you’re assigned a number, which tells the time when you can pick your room. Now this is where it gets confusing, because the group leader assigns rooms and roommates. Obviously, you should discuss things with your leader beforehand so they don’t make terrible tyrannical decisions, but do you see where my frustration comes from? The process is unnecessarily convoluted and it, of course, disadvantages sophomores.

In the end though, I realized that part of the reason that I was so stressed about the housing lottery was because I heard that there was a very strict hierarchy when it came to the best rooms to have for your sophomore year. I had heard that Perkins was a death sentence, and that everyone wanted Barbour Hall apartments. But really, having been to a lot of the sophomore dorms, including Perkins, I will say that there isn’t one that is objectively worse than the others. It all depends on personal preference and need, and Brown is pretty accommodating about those things. The only big thing that mattered to me was getting substance free housing, and that is something that Brown guarantees.

So even though the housing lottery is unnecessarily confusing and it kind of sucks, it’s not the end of the world. There are plenty of more important things to be worrying about, so when it comes time for you to deal with the housing lottery, don’t sweat it. It’s really not a big deal. No matter what, you’ll have a roof over your head and a bed to sleep in.


That’s almost all for this week – since no one objected to that “what I’m listening to” tidbit last week, here’s another song recommendation, an old favorite of mine: “Step It Out Mary” by The High Kings.

Okay, that’s really it for me…

Stay classy, and I’ll see you next week!

Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments! You can reach me at jee_won_kang@brown.edu.


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