Svea McNally / Gavel Media

Navigating the Clown Car of BC Housing, Aka The Forced Triple

With the gut feeling that housing assignments had been sent out, I walked outside of my cabin in order to get the cell service I needed to check my email, something that is hard to find in the thick wilderness of northern Minnesota. Once I found a decent amount of phone service on the edge of the lake, I scanned the multiple unread emails from family members and clothing websites until I caught a glimpse of “Housing Assignment & Roommate Information Now Available!” in the subject bar. I opened the week-old email, followed the link, and logged onto Agora. It took me a while, as I was still an Agora newbie, but I eventually found and read my assignment: “Triple – Forced.”

Since I didn't have cell service, my roommates reached out to me first through Instagram DM and Facebook Messenger. We created a group chat, getting to know each other and working out who wanted the lofted bed, the top bunk, and the bottom bunk. For my roommates and I, this process worked out pretty seamlessly, as we worked out who would get each bed on the first try. We tried to look for pictures of what a BC forced triple looks like, only to find one picture on the BC housing website, even though it did not show the same setup we walked into.

As the room started to fill up with our stuff during move-in day, it really dawned on me how little living room we had. A slight feeling of stress and panic began to set in, and I was concerned with the ways that our time in the room would be affected by living in such tight quarters.

After learning to live in this space for the first two months of the school year, I feel that my roommates and I have learned, and are still learning, how to just live with it. We have been able to develop some forced triple “hacks,” per se, in order to make our tightly packed living experience a little more enjoyable. So, if you are reading this right now in a tight corner of your forced triple, if it is July of 2019 and you have just gotten your forced triple room assignment for your freshman year of college, or if you’re just reading this because you’re curious to know what it’s like, let me give you five helpful tips for how to survive in such tight quarters: 

  • Organize. Organize. Organize.  

The importance of keeping your room organized and neat is something that I can’t stress enough. With three people living in a room meant for two, space is already little to none, and with a room that is messy, unnecessary things are taking up space that could be being used in more significant ways. My roommates and I also found that having a small vacuum is incredibly beneficial for keeping the room clean, but that really goes for any dorm room. Another organization tip I have is that it’s really helpful to store things in bins and boxes. Not only does it make you feel like all of your things have a designated space, but it makes the room’s appearance a lot nicer.

  • Set-Up is Important

We seemed to get a somewhat bigger room compared to some others, but I think it is because of the way our room came and the way we moved things around. We switched the desk and the dresser under the lofted bed, and also moved the ladder over to the bunk bed. We kept the other side of the room the way it came, with the desks placed on opposite sides and the dressers placed next to each other. As of right now, we have found that this is the ideal set up, but a forced triple definitely forces you, (no pun intended), to be creative, so I’m sure there are plenty of other ways to make these rooms better.    

  • The library is your best friend.

Since we are in Kostka Hall, we are lucky enough to have the lounge and study room one floor below us when we don’t feel the motivation to walk to O’Neill or Bapst. However, when there is a HOWL or a Bachelor watch party happening in the lounge, it can get pretty loud. I have found the library to be very helpful when I need to finish a paper or do a large amount of reading, especially since both of my roommates are nursing majors and I want to give them control of our room when they need to study together for their science exams. O’Neill and the dorm study room are available for use 24/7, so whether you are doing a simple assignment or pulling an all-nighter during midterms and finals, libraries and study rooms are great places to spend your time.     

  • Closet space is the biggest problem.

In my opinion, the biggest issue we have run into in my forced triple is closet space. The tight closet, four hooks on the wall, and places to put Command Strips can only go so far, so it is important that you don’t have all of your clothes in the room at once. Nobody wants a heavy winter jacket to be taking up space when it is 90 degrees outside on the first day of classes. If you live close enough to BC, only bring the clothes that you need for a specific season, and once it becomes too cold or too warm to wear them, simply replace them with the next batch of clothes. If an extended family member or friend lives in the area, you can do what I did and ask them to store your extra clothes for you. If neither applies to you, try asking one of your friends who lives in a double to see if you can store some of your stuff in their room.

  • Learn to live with it.

We were recently able to fit about 30 people in our room, which just goes to show that anything is possible when it comes to a forced triple. Rather than sulking about the fact that you got thrown into this situation, try not to pay attention to all of the negatives. I’m not going to lie, it sucks if you were the person that Housing and Residence Life chose to squeeze into a forced triple, but it’s all about finding contentment, and maybe even happiness in it. Not only do you get money off of room and board, but your housing can only go up from here, so any future housing assignment will feel like a palace compared to what you experienced freshman year. No matter what, don’t let the fact that you got placed into a forced triple have a negative effect on your first year, because since BC is a school that asks a lot out of its students through academics and extracurriculars, you won’t be in your room a lot anyway!  

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