Northwest Dorm Life Through the Eyes of a Freshman

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Hi, my name is Yifei. As a freshman at the school of NWS, and also a member of the dorm, this article will cover what I’ve learned so far about life in the NWS community, based on my own experience. 


To ensure the safety of me and other students, when I got back to school on April 4th, which was the last day before trimester 3 began, the first thing that I was facing was quarantine. 

I learned something about quarantine before I got back to school. It sounded pretty scary- we weren’t allowed to go out of our dorm room! But in fact, the flexibility was way better than I first thought. As long as you are sure there are no other people around, you are actually allowed to hang in a common space for some fresh air. Also, if you took a Covid test, and had a negative test result, you could finish quarantine earlier, so I only quarantined for four days!

a dinner left outside my door

And totally no worries about how to eat meals or use the restroom. Restroom use was totally free. And for meals, RAs would bring meals for us to the dorm, so we could eat them in our room and finish them without needing to come in contact with anyone else. 

RAs would knock on my door, tell me my meals were here and leave the food so I could just open my door and grab them. 




Before coming to NWS, I had a lot of worries and uncertainty about the meals of our school. From the website and lots of other ways, I heard that our school’s meals are delicious, but I’m more used to eating Chinese dishes. Maybe domestic students love those dishes our school provides but does it also suit international students?

some of the dishes we’ve had

Then when I got to school, I found that my thoughts were totally unnecessary worries! 

Dishes our school provides not only suit domestic students but also for students from all over the world. Rice that Chinese or Japanese students like, bread that American students like… And we also provide vegetarian dishes! So students who are more likely to eat meals without meat can also get what they want!

By the way, there’s juice, milk, soda, and ice cream provided in the dining hall’s refrigerator. The cookies-and-cream ice cream is my favorite! 

Weekends in the dorm

On weekends, the dorm will provide activities led by RAs, maybe going out to the park, or maybe even to the mountains outside of the city. Other than that, we can also choose to hang out at malls or cafes.

flowers I brought back to the dorm

I always like to go to the Whole Foods that’s a ten minute walk from school. Just to buy some fruit, drinks, or maybe even a bouquet of flowers. It’s always great to feel the sunshine and take a little walk. However, to ensure students’ safety, we are only allowed to go outdoors when we have two or more people together. 

Study life at the dorm

Studying at the dorm is actually, for me, way better than studying at home. I’m more efficient and have people around that can provide help at any time. 

During the day, when we are taking online classes alone in our room, RAs will come around and knock on our doors, reminding us it’s time for class, which is actually very helpful for me, because when I was at home, I would sometimes run late for my classes because I forgot about the time, or my time for lunch somehow had conflicted with my class time, which won’t happen now at the dorm. 

Then after school, we have a study hall from 8:30-9:30. Students go out to the common space to study together, and RAs will provide studying help for us especially at this time (even though you are welcome to ask for help all day long). It’s a concentrated time of learning that’s quiet and without interruption. After study hall, the gym will be open from 9:30-10:30, you are welcome to go and play or exercise. 

At 10:30, the common area will be closed, 11:00 for room checking in, to make sure you are safe and in your own room, and the Internet connection will be shut down at 1:00 AM. 

cherry trees on the street near the dorms

For me, the dorm feels like home, as well as feeling like school. 

You get all you want and might need here, as we approach each other as family, and we are as free as we are at home. RAs are not like teachers here, but more likely to be part of your family, your parents; they help you with homework, and also maybe sitting together to play games. On weekends, if you can’t find a friend to go with you, you can also find a RA to go out together. You are allowed to organize your own time, and do what you want during free time, just like at home. 

On the other hand, it’s also like school, with other students that can study or just play together. You have people around that can provide you with academic support, and it’s a better study environment for me. 

So now, in less than two weeks, I already feel infused with the dorm’s life and it’s going along pretty well.

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