Marina and her roommates enjoying the fireplace in Winchester House.

One of the best decisions I made during my junior year was agreeing to apply to a Winchester House, a house that is across the street from the main Connecticut College campus.

Looking back, it was a risky move. One of the girls I knew well, one I had met two months before, and the other I knew from freshmen year, but she had been abroad in Africa and we hadn’t really spoken two years. I was also worried because of the time I had spent living in an apartment abroad. Cooking, cleaning and making sure everything was OK, on top of being a full time student, was extremely stressful. Despite my hesitations, however, my three roommates and I moved into the house when we returned to school the following September. 

I love my house. There is nothing better than coming home after a long day and being able to sit on the couch with what have become my three closest friends, make some dinner and watch a movie. I also have the option to come home, go to my room and have some alone time in a space that is really mine. It is a space that doesn’t also have to serve as a study area, kitchen and hangout space, which is what my three previous dorm rooms have been like.

It is nice that our house has become a space for the four of us to really live in. For Valentine’s Day this year we made a fire in our fireplace, roasted marshmallows and watched The Notebook (classic, I know). It was SO nice; we didn’t have to leave the house for anything (it was blisteringly cold that weekend). We had everything we needed in our house: food, company and warmth (which we made ourselves)!

Our house has also turned into a fun space where everyone in our large group of friends can get together for events and celebrations such as game night or watching the Super Bowl.

While dorms do help you form a sense of community your freshman year, it’s nice to have the option as a sophomore, junior or senior to live a little more independently. I call my house “my apartment on training wheels." It allows me to feel more confident graduating knowing next year I will be living in an apartment of my own.