People think that Onondaga Hall, commonly referred to as “'Daga,” is where all the loud and wild freshmen live. The building can definitely be loud, but often it's the energy and diversity that each resident brings to 'Daga that gives it such personality. This is why I'm proud to call 'Daga my home.
Some people fear the first-year experience residence halls because they seem restrictive or like another year of high school. To me, however, 'Daga was a community in which I met other first-years who were similar to me in that they were new to Geneseo but also were so different from me based on their past experiences. The combination of both factors made for a diverse community in which everyone could find their niches.
What I found most valuable about living with all first-year students was the ability to collaborate and bond with people who were going through the same transition as me, which would've been more difficult for me personally if I lived in a mixed-year building. I was able to surround myself with people who were also experiencing the registration woes, change-of-major debates and late-night studying struggles. It was a support system, and even if we all weren't great friends, we understood and learned from each other during our moments of transition.
Not all our bonding was dramatic, of course. Through our community and our Resident Assistants, we learned about the beauties of the Geneseo campus, like the famous sunset. Sometimes we were just so tired that we coordinated a movie night in the basement to relax.
'Daga's size can be a bit daunting to those who don't call it home, but it didn't bother me at all. I still met people through hall council and other programs, but it was also nice to see new faces up until the last days of second semester. What mattered most was that, at the end of the day, we felt comfortable in the building and had a support system.
This year is my second year in 'Daga, but not as a resident. Because of my positive experiences as a 'Daga resident, I applied to be an RA to give back those positive experiences to incoming freshman.
Watching my residents go through the same transition as I did has been rewarding. I have given them advice based on my breakthroughs and downfalls and have seen them either embrace it or learn from their new solutions. What's most rewarding is seeing when I've made a difference in a resident's transition. Nothing beats walking back into 'Daga after a long day and being greeted by excited faces waiting to tell me about their days or asking me for my advice.