Living in the YU Dorms: An Expose

By Elad Jerusalem and Shoshana Marder

Interviewed by Rebecca Kerzner


Ever wondered what life is like in the YU dorms? Ever considered crossing that terrifying threshold: the elevators in Morg? Have no fear! Perspective has all the answers! Thanks to Elad Jerusalem, a junior studying Business Intelligence and Marketing Analytics (BIMA) and currently living in Morgenstern Residence Hall for his second year, we now have a primary source to answer all the questions you’ve always so desperately wanted to know. You’re welcome.


Rebecca Kerzner: Ok, let’s start off easy! What’s the best part of YU dorm living, in your humble opinion?

Elad Jerusalem: I would say the community of it. Everyone in the dorms with you is usually in the same situation as you. If you’re in Rubin, everyone is a first year, so no one knows what’s going at ALL on with life. In Morg it’s usually more the second and third years, but still, there is still this environment where everyone understands that you are all in the same boat. It’s kind of like a built-in camaraderie. You have like 60 guys on each floor (maybe I’m exaggerating), but it’s a lot of guys on the floor and you become friends with them as you pass them in the shower, and it’s kind of like a recognition thing! Everyone’s pretty friendly.


RK: Do you guys ever pee in the sink in your room?

EJ: I heard that that’s a thing. But I have never seen or met anyone that does that. I heard it last year from a couple post-Pesach guys who I was friends with that that’s apparently a thing. I have never seen it nor have I ever met anyone who does that.

RK: But they wouldn’t tell you if they did!

EJ: See, so that’s what you would think, but it’s almost the exact opposite. I feel like people who would do that are maybe proud of it. So no. I would very firmly say nobody pees in his sink.


RK: Do you guys keep your rooms clean or is it just dirty all the time?

EJ: No, I think people keep their rooms pretty clean. They aren’t very big.

RK: Are you just saying that because people will be reading this?

EJ: No! I’ve been in people’s rooms! People’s rooms are generally pretty clean. I mean, it’s generally pretty easy to keep it clean. My biggest problem is that I just never take out my garbage. It ends up in this little garbage corner. We take it out once a week on Fridays. It’s like our Friday thing. We sweep, it’s fine, it’s good.


RK: Do you stay in for Shabbat?

EJ: Yeah, I do. I like the Shabbat community. It’s very relaxed, and it’s nicer than going out. It’s hard to be a guest every single week. You go to families, but you’re still a guest, especially if you are an out-of-towner. You always have to clean up the table, and thank your hosts profusely, and it just feels like a lot of pressure. When you stay in, you can just relax and hang out with friends and not worry about anything. We usually play Settlers of Catan lot. We waiter together. We have a little Shabbat crew. It’s fun.


RK: Do people hang out or do they keep more to themselves? Does it get raging at night? Any 12AM dance parties?

EJ: People mostly just keep to themselves. Well, it depends on the floor. Every floor sets a curfew, and after that time you’re expected to be quiet, so it depends on what the residents decide in the beginning of the year. Friends will stop by my room at night, but I mostly just hang out in the library.


RK: So you prefer the library over the dorms?

EJ: Yeah, because if you’re in your room, the amount of people you can hang out with caps at the amount of people in your room, but here, in the library, you can meet people late at night.


RK: So overall, do you enjoy dorm living at YU?

EJ: Yeah! It’s nice! You’re right there on campus, so it’s super convenient. Everyone is friends so there’s that community aspect again. The Morg lounge is nice. It can sometimes be funny to see people that are waiting for the shuttle. Also, my window look straight out onto the Shidduch Shuttle stop so it’s really convenient, because on the days I can’t make it to the library, I can just look straight from my room. But I can’t leave my blinds open! I can literally see right into the library from my room!


Given that Elad was so receptive to the questions that Stern students submitted, I decided to let him ask a bunch of questions about the Brookdale living experience, and he had many questions for me. By the graciousness of her heart, junior Shoshana Marder, double majoring in History and Psychology, has agreed to relieve Elad of his heart-wrenching inquiries of the frighteningly tall Brookdale and the people-watching opportunities on the Beren Campus.


Rebecca Kerzner: [Quoted from Elad] “I would like to know the deal with the amount of floors in Brookdale. It seems very tall and I don’t know how people get to their floors. Is there more than one elevator? We have seven floors in Rubin, and I remember that even that was a big deal. But I feel like if you’re on 7 in Brookdale you can’t even take the elevator because there are like 50 other girls. I want that explained.”

Shoshana Marder: Yes, buildings can be tall sometimes. There are definitely some unspoken rules. Its true, people are judged when they press the lower floors. I am personally on floor 6 and I’ve decided it is acceptable to take the elevator. When I do decide walk though, by the time I get to the 5th floor, I’m like OK, yes I’m walking, I can do this all day all night. But then I get to that last stairway going up to 6, and that’s when I lose it. That’s when things just go downhill even though you’re going up. But yes, there are definitely a lot of floors. There are two elevators, though one of them is always broken.


RK: [Quoted from Elad] What is it like to have the Brookdale lounge? Do you get to see all the guys that are coming for dates? That must be fun.

SM: So, I can’t say I’m so passionate about people-watching… it’s probably more of a side thing. It is quite exciting though. You really see the diversity of our school from the Brookdale lounge. You don’t realize how many different types of people there are until you just sit in the lobby and watch. There’s always a lot of t excitement going on. My mom actually had her engagement party in the Brookdale lounge back in the day. Apparently it used to be a thing to celebrate with your friends in the Brookdale lounge. I don’t think that happens as much now.


RK: Are the security guards nice?

SM: Oh my gosh, they are so nice. I consider some of them some of my closest friends. They definitely don’t let you get away with things. I always unsuccessfully try to sneak people up to my room just because it saves time, as opposed to signing people in. But they are very observant. Nobody beats the people in the uptown caf, though. Those are the some of the nicest people I have met in my entire life. I walked in, and I felt like I was a part of this community with the workers. I made eye contact with one of them and I just felt like Yes! Sister to sister. We’re in this together. There is just an understanding. So, they might not live up to that, but really, solid, solid human beings.


RK: How many girls have pets?

SM: It’s complicated. I guess it defines what you classify as a pet. In the classical sense, there are probably few pets. I do know a few people who had a hamster last year. It didn’t last for long though. Then there’s the occasional mice which you could interpret as a pet. Sometimes I like to refer to my friends as little pets, for my own amusement. However, I have yet to see dogs. We haven’t gone that far.


RK: How often do you guys go outside and walk to a big tourist attraction? Or just walk around at night?

SM: The cool part about living in Midtown is that you don’t even view them as tourist attractions. It just becomes a part of where you live, like part of your scenery almost. It’s also a great way to feel superior–nothing feels better than when a tourist asks for directions. The convenience of places like Times Square allows you to just go out, get cheap Broadway tickets and then just see a Broadway show!


RK: Where do all the beds go?

SM: Not a bad question. Last year, I was in a room famously known as 14G. The way it was set up, is that one area is its own corner, but the rest of us were lined up like 1-2-3 next to each other and I was in the middle.  It was definitely a bonding experience. Every time I went to bed and looked to my right or left I would just be looking at their faces as I fell asleep. Uncomfortable, I guess, might be one way to look at it. But also, a little beautiful. This year, I’m in 6A which is a very different set up. Actually fun fact about us! My roommate really wanted to be in 36th this year but, as many people, we did not get our first choice. To compensate, she  bought a tent for her bed, so all of us have normal beds but she lives in a bed tent. She can close it off and open it and there are windows, so she can look out at us through them. It just goes over her bed. I actually have a picture actually! It adds so much character to the room.


RK: So what’s your favorite part of dorm living?

SM:The best part of dorm living is definitely the roommates. The relationships you have with your roommates is just so special and unique. There’s lots of shtick opportunity. We enjoy decorating our room with a sketch/painting of Theodore Herzl and occasionally pretend we’re in an early 2000’s movie by opening the window and screaming ‘Good Morning New York City!’. One of my roommates is head of College Republicans, from the South, and a bit conservative, and the other is more liberal. So when the Liberal Roommate would leave, we would decorate her wall with radical Republican posters. That’s always fun. When you spend a lot of time with people, you see them through everything and you still love each other, which is a really enjoyable experience.


So that’s a wrap! Now that all our dorm-living qualms are appeased, we can rest.

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