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The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

CUMMINGS: Declassified survival guide: 11 tips to coping with O’Donnell

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I remember telling my mom I wasn’t going to Marquette anymore. With my first CheckMarq update, I learned my freshman year of college would be spent in the all-male freshman residence hall: O’Donnell Hall. As an ignorant and party-hungry 18-year old, questions raced through my head: What would this same-gender residence hall do to me socially? Will girls even talk to me? Did my dad secretly change my list of preferred residence hall while I wasn’t looking?

After listening to my mother continuously say “it won’t be that bad,” and my little brother laugh hysterically at my misery, I set out for Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and reluctantly moved into room 308 of “Bro-Donnell.”

It wasn’t until leaving O’Donnell in May of 2014 that I realized living there was the greatest thing that had ever happened to me. I met my best friends there in that hall. Two years later, we are still roommates. Although I didn’t know it as an incoming freshman, my friendship with those people was thanks to O’Donnell.

The key with O’Donnell — as with all things in life — is to appreciate it for what it is, not what it isn’t.

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For those of you who may currently be sharing my disbelief in your first few weeks at Marquette, here is a declassified survival guide to help you cope with O’Donnell Hall:

  1. Utilize the “Mancave.” Although right now it may seem lame to watch a Brewers game instead talking to girls in McCormick, you won’t have a projection screen like that again until you are CEO. Enjoy it now.
  1. Get to know the desk receptionists and resident assistants. Contrary to popular belief, they are not “out to get you.” They are really nice and genuinely enjoy getting to know you. They might just let it slide if your guest checks out a few minutes late on the weekends.
  1. Go to Cobeen for food. It is worth the walk across campus. Don’t avoid this dining hall because it’s “too far away.” You will regret it as a junior with no meal plan.
  1. Use the field next to the hall. That grassy area is practically as big as the green in front of the Alumni Memorial Union. Bring every last piece of sporting equipment you have from home and get out there.
  1. Go to Miss Katie’s Diner. You are among the closest people on campus to this diner — take advantage of it. Located on the corner of 19th and Clybourn, Miss Katie’s serves a breakfast that will make any man feel better. You can even be productive — there’s free Wi-Fi.
  1. Throw your trash out. People say O’Donnell smells bad. It does. Half of it is man-pit, and half is overfilled trash bins. Guys are too lazy to take trash out. Leave 30 seconds early for class and just do it. Sleeping will be easier.
  1. Put the toilet seat up before you go. For those of you who don’t know, there are no urinals in OD. No one wants to deal with that half asleep at 3 a.m., gents.
  1. Don’t leave your toiletries in the bathroom. They will be gone tomorrow.
  1. Move the room around more than once. My roommate and I didn’t find a setup we enjoyed until the last month of school. Try everything.
  1. Be friendly. Everyone in O’Donnell is in the same boat. Say hello to the people you live next to. You will be living here for an entire year, whether you like it or not. Life is what you make of it; don’t make it miserable.
  1. Utilize the “stoop.” Whether you are coming back from the library or a Friday night out, the front steps are a fun place to sit and chill with “the boys.” Some of your most memorable nights could be spent out on that stoop, especially if the weather is nice. We were out there so often that we affectionately called (and still call) ourselves “The Stoop Kids.”

If there’s one thing that the “Bro-Dizzle” taught me, it’s to have an open mind. I walked into that hall my freshman year, head hung low with embarrassment, but left with my best friends.

Take it all in. Freshman year comes and goes quickly, but “stoop kids never leave the stoop.”

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