Rice Hall isn’t that bad

Niomi Nunez, Features & Lifestyle Editor

 Every time I tell someone that I am living in Rice Hall this year, they seem disappointed in me. “Oh, I’m so sorry” is the typical response, or “Oh no, why did you do that to yourself?!” At this point, I’m expecting the next person to throw themselves on the floor and weep at the sound of the word “rice.” While I appreciate the superfluous empathy, I do not understand the pity.  

My sisters mock me when we Facetime and say I look like I’m in prison; I guess the cinder block walls and sink as well as the bad lighting don’t help. I can see why someone would be apprehensive to live in Rice Hall. I mean, you might as well be a commuter student with the distance you have to travel every day just to get some food, and the stairs are the cherry on top. However, Rice Hall to a good portion of students, including myself, is home—even if it’s only a temporary one.  

This is my third year at Iona, but this is my first year living in Rice. My freshman year I lived in East Hall, and I loved it for the most part. It sits perfectly in the middle of campus; when I lived there, everything felt like a skip and a hop away. This was before they started the Murphy Green construction, so it was always quiet and peaceful. Its serenity is what I liked most about it. Serenity is something you cannot get living on North Ave, which is where I decided to live my sophomore year of college. 

Hales Hall was a fun and rowdy experience. As much as it’s fun living with 5-8 other people, it is also, for some maybe more than others, excruciating. For me, it was physically excruciating too; I slept on a top bunk which was extremely close to the very hard popcorn ceiling, and every time I tried to even readjust my body, the ceiling would somehow manage to scrape chucks of skin out of my knuckles. There went the very slight possibility of me ever having a career in hand modeling. I mean between the never-ending sounds of car mufflers and the excessive amount of people allowed to co-exist in a suite, it seemed nearly impossible to find any down or alone time in Hales.  

Now I’m trying Rice. I like it a lot. I like the long walks I am forced to take—they make me feel better if I miss a leg day. I don’t have to spend money on toilet paper, and this is the ultimate win for me. I live in a single, and I like that I have my own space because that means my own décor and no color clashing with a roommate. The people there are kind. I like that it isn’t the most luxurious because it forces me to get out more, and it humbles me. I love that it’s quiet, because I genuinely feel like I am escaping the stresses of school and work.  

I think people’s adverse attitudes towards Rice Hall speak to something even greater—the subject of ungratefulness. Many are ungrateful, myself included, and I guess one of the reasons I’ve chosen to live in Rice is to work on that. I hear students complain about a lot, and we often justify these complaints with the fact that we are all paying an overwhelming amount of money. It’s okay to want a bang for your buck, but people choose to hate Rice Hall or pity those who live there for reasons that shouldn’t even concern them. The rooms are small, bathrooms are communal, no elevator, cinderblock walls, etc. Keep in mind, there are people not too far from campus who live in worse conditions or who have no place to call home.  

For clarification, by no means am I trying to convince anyone that Rice Hall is the best place to live, but it is a place to live and to cherish just as you would any other residence hall.  Also, I understand that complaining is something we all do, but just keep in mind things could be way worse. The point I am trying to make is this – Rice Hall, although it’s all the way at the back of campus and the rooms are the size of shoe boxes, is not that bad. I’m just grateful to be able to have some place to stay every night.  

No matter where you live on campus, just complain a little less and cherish what you have a little more.