"Being in the dorms was fun. I thought that it was kind of like living in an apartment. When we were bored late at night, we had late night (3 a.m.) karoake. Hungry? Don't fear! You can have food delivered."
"We were not used to small rooms and sharing with 40 other campers. We did not know what to expect."
Students who attended camp nearly all comment that living in the residence halls (or “dorms”, as they all say) was one of the most meaningful experiences of camp. For many NIU Club members, the week in the dorms was the first extended time spent away from home. Why is this important? What do students learn from this time?
The dorm experience helps high school students “see themselves” as college students. They learn that it’s not so difficult to live on their own and start to picture themselves as residents of NIU. More intangibly, the dorm experience helps students expand their horizons, see the world beyond Rockford, and see themselves outside of the limits of high school.
An unexpected benefit to campers of living in the dorms is that this intense experience of living in close quarters with their peers led campers to develop friendships with “people they never talked to before”. The narrow social barriers (cliques) that exist at the high school disappear when students live together for five days. As many students have said, they become “family”. Learning to live with, adapt to, and develop friendships with people outside of your normal group is a huge life lesson for the NIU Club campers and could not happen without the unique experience of living in the NIU dorms.