Childhood Memories Friday: College Living, 1983 vs 2015

Willkie North IU dorm

Childhood Memories Friday

During last week’s New Student Orientation, while my daughter was meeting with a counselor to schedule her classes, I took off on a memory walk past the places I’d lived at IU. Last Friday, I told you about revisiting Robert and Cynthia’s.

Today, let’s look at college living and how it has changed, beginning with my dorm buildings (or, as the session speaker insisted, “residence halls”).


IU Willkie North IU dorm

Here’s Willkie North, where I lived during my freshman floor. Eleventh floor, I think? Regardless, it was near the top. It was not air-conditioned. We had a box fan, but pretty much all it did was circulate hot air. So a lot of sweating went on — until we got cold. I seem to remember that the university turned on the heat November 1, regardless of temperatures. There were some pretty chilly late October nights.

Willkie North was girls only. Willkie South (not pictured), was guys only. In between …

Willkie cafeteria IU

… was this building, the cafeteria. Well, it used to be. Today, although it was locked, it looked like it held meeting rooms, and possibly a small dining commons, but it wasn’t like 30 years ago.

Forest Dorm IU

Walking on a ways, I came to my sophomore year dorm, Forest. There were two buildings, East and West. I lived in West, on the left. Forest had all girls. The top floor was referred to as the “virgin vault,” as guys were not allowed there at any time. I didn’t live there, although honestly I rarely ever remember seeing a guy on my floor anyway. Still, it was a bit of a burden to live on that restricted floor, as it seemed to connote that your parents didn’t totally trust you. I had a single room this year, and absolutely loved it. Communal living is a challenge for an introvert …

Forest Dorm IU 1980s

Forest 609A, 1984

Here’s a photo of part of that beloved room. Note my modest collection of cassettes on the shelf, as well as my Halley’s Bible Handbook. I have a few plants, royal wedding pictures on the wall, and the ubiquitous-at-the-time collection of ribbons to tie around my neck inside the mini Lane chest on top of my fridge. Have I mentioned how much I loved this room? I have? Okay then. Here’s another photo with my awesome loft bed.

IU dorm 1980s

I headed over to the center building, home of mailboxes and the dining commons. And holy cow, check it out. Not sure if I’d landed in Disney World or what, but how snazzy is this? Definitely a step up from the no-frills dining room the place housed in the 1980s.

Forest Dining Room 2015 IU

Forest dining IU 2015

I mean. This reminds me a lot of a place where I ate earlier this year, in Hollywood Studios. Dorm dining has really come a long way in 30 years!

IU dorm mailboxes

But some things never change. Here are the mailboxes, exactly as I remember them.

 Do you have any memories of your college days? Have you ever returned to campus and seen differences?

3 thoughts on “Childhood Memories Friday: College Living, 1983 vs 2015

  1. I have not one memory of my college days because I never spent a day of my 73 years in college. I guess I graduated from the school of Hard Knocks! But don’t think I haven’t, and continue to, learned! One thing that stood out to me in your photo of your dorm room was the table that my folks bought me for my 16th birthday from a used furniture store in Holland, Tucker’s Swap Shop. The owner, Claude Tucker, was my bus driver for 12 years. He began when I started first grade and his final year was my senior year. I always smile when I think of a sign in the Swap Shop’s window, “If You Can’t Stop – Wave!” When I worked later at Holland Dairy, I still remember a coworker, Jeanie Swinghammer (that was her name folks) laughing about that sign!

  2. I have revisited my college alma mater and on parts of the campus, I would have to have a guide to get around. There has been so much construction since I left there, I hardly know the place — seriously! And my nursing school — if all goes as planned, I plan to attend to attend my 50th anniversary there this summer. If my sources are correct, the building in which we lived has been torn down in the name of progress. I guess I’ll see the progress, if I don’t chicken out on making the trip down there.

  3. When I have gone back I feel at home. I too am amazed at what it takes to “sell” university housing today. Private bathrooms, food courts, form gyms for working out, kids bringing big screen tv’s and a vast array of game systems. Plus the marketing of all sorts of “must haves” for form rooms– most of which we did just fine without!

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