It’s usually a given when you start your undergrad years that you’ll seek out “the college experience.” This might encompass eye-opening conversations with people from diverse backgrounds, living for the night after having a few too many adult beverages at a frat party, or using candy and friends’ company to struggle through an all-nighter of studying. For me, the key component of acclimating and being introduced to college life was living in on-campus housing.

M.A.S.T.E.R. Plan was an amazing way to get to know the rest of my floor, most of whom were freshmen. My resident assistant for my freshman year was an absolute sweetheart — a mother goose to her fledgling ducklings — who had no problem enjoying our childish antics and joining in. She chose our eighth floor of freshies on purpose to help with orientation week and act as the first on-campus aunt we could go to. After getting to know each other during that week before classes, I met what was to be my core friend group here at WKU. I also became familiar and friendly with the rest of my floor.

Bemis Lawrence Hall has been a fantastic place to find friends and make new connections. We called ourselves “eighth floor’s finest” that year because we really were. We were boisterous and diverse, sometimes catty but usually sweet. It was a great way to be thrown into college.

Dorm life is interesting because you’re being put together with a bunch of nasty girls. However, there’s a lot of realness and fun that comes along with it. Some of my favorite memories are when my friends and I would spend hours hanging out and studying on our hallway floor. I remember one crazy night that turned into a sleepover so loud we were sure someone would complain.

That’s not to mention all the times when walking down the hall on a lazy Friday afternoon turned into multiple conversations with floormates from all walks of life. All the while, RA’s would conduct floor checks while smiling and laughing at our antics because just about anything goes.

You live in such close quarters with these people, and that proximity makes way for an easier entrance into friendship. You all have different majors and goals in life, but still they become your close friends.

We’ve moved floors, and this second year at Bemis has been quieter, but it still has some of those good vibes filtering through. Things are different, but that’s okay. We’ve matured and gotten through that first year, figuring out a little bit more the trajectory of our lives. An old floormate has become an RA, and my current roommate will be one next year. I’m glad they are continuing the kind and authentic attitudes that meant so much to me my freshman year.

When I look at my past two years at WKU, I greatly appreciate the opportunities I’ve had to get involved in student media, work for fantastic faculty at an on-campus job and be challenged by my courses. Still, it’s difficult to imagine what my experience would have been without calling Bemis home.

Now, three friends and I have signed our leases for our first apartment together next semester, and I can’t be more excited. We’ll still treasure some of our most personal, serious and ultimately silly experiences that transpired in Bemis.

So to Bemis and to all the lovely women who live, work and create its welcoming culture there: thank you for making Bemis all that it is! It’s been real.