“Your UW-Madison Housing Assignment.”
I had been waiting for this moment since I put my deposit down. My heart pounding, I opened the email, praying it would say Sellery or Witte. “Welcome to the Bradley Fam,” the email read. “Bradley? Who the hell is Bradley?” I thought to myself, realizing my placement was in a dorm I did not know even existed.
Bradley was not listed on my dorm preference sheet. I thought it must have been some mistake. Confused, I researched the dorm to see what I was getting myself into. This had to be a mistake.
Bradley was ranked the worst dorm in 2019, the year before I moved in. It was a small building with about 200 residents. Google Maps showed a 30-minute walk from State Street. It was said to have overbearing RAs and tiny rooms. Not attractive looking from the outside. At all. It did not even make the second round in Badger Barstool’s “Best Residence Hall” bracket. That says something.
Rumor had it if you didn’t get a Southeast dorm you would have no social life. In all honesty, I sulked for two weeks before getting to school. With complete tunnel vision, I thought my freshman year was going to be completely ruined. I thought this was going to completely change my Wisconsin experience.
It did, but not in the way I thought. Despite its weaknesses, this crappy dorm was one of the best things that happened to me.
Bradley is a hidden gem. Those statistics turned out to be its greatest strength. Because it was a small dorm, it created a small community within such a huge school. That is something a new student might want. Being 30 minutes away from "all the action" gave me a peaceful home to return to after a night out. Not to mention, the Lakeshore area is beautiful, and my RAs, Julio and Hlee, became friends with everyone on the floor.
People bonded over not wanting to live there. I met some of my closest friends, and we are still friends as I enter my junior year. So if you didn’t get the dorm you wanted, don’t worry. Things will turn out the way they are supposed to. And if you still don't like your dorm, you can always switch. However, be sure to keep an open mind and give it a chance.
Wherever you end up, you can make the most of it and find the "fam" I did. I am beyond grateful to the people who assigned me to Bradley, as they gave me an experience I never knew I needed.