Cockroach Karma


Mollie Shiflett ’26 is an undecided major who will probably end up majoring in History. She plays on the Gold Women’s Club Soccer team for the College of William and Mary and is an avid fan of most sports, except golf. Email Mollie at

The views expressed in the article are the author’s own.

As proud proponents of an incredibly storied stress culture, we, the students of the College of William and Mary, have returned from a calm and relaxing winter break — hopefully — and immediately found new things to stress out about. For those rising sophomores — such as myself — that has by and large been the crisis that is selecting housing for next year. Whether that crisis is, “Oh my god, I still don’t have a roommate” or the extremely oft-used, “If I get Richmond Hall I’m transferring,” or even the, “Wait, we have to select housing now?” we’ve all picked something to stress about since the housing contract went live on Jan. 30. For me personally, I have picked the, “What time is my housing selection going to be?” This is by far the most pivotal, and least controllable, aspect of housing selection for next year since it’s a random assignment. Never fear, I have a solution.

Now, keep in mind that this solution is completely theoretical, and most likely will never be put into use, since it might not be considered “fair,” but to my mind nothing could be more fair. The solution is this: those poor freshmen who were saddled with the worst dorms on campus get the first selection slots for choosing sophomore housing.

This, of course, means that we have to decide which freshman dorms on campus are “the worst.” If we consider all of the general lore regarding this housing, I believe that the worst two dorm complexes are GGV and Botetourt. Botetourt because it’s miles away from literally everything, and GGV because it is A) the old frat housing and B) it is infested with both bugs and mold.

It’s time for a disclaimer. I have the distinct pleasure of being a resident of Lion K, and for the most part I’ve enjoyed my time here, but the only reason I’m in this dorm is because I had one of the last selection slots during the summer, and while the people here are good, I do have certain experiences that I believe should qualify me and my fellow residents for housing that is as upgraded as possible next semester. The instance that specifically comes to mind occurred on my second day here when I was sitting in my desk chair and felt a strange sensation on my arm.

I thought it was just a hair, so I brushed it away, but all the sensation did was move, so I looked onto my arm to see a giant cockroach sitting on my shoulder. I feel like that experience alone should qualify me for monetary reimbursement, or at the very least free therapy. Not to mention the amount of times our laundry machines have broken or the strange things in our ceiling — although I’m still afraid to check mine. There is also now the brand new problem of ants, which colonized my room over winter break and don’t seem to want to go away.

This is not to say that GGV is unquestionably the worst dorm on campus, but whenever I say that I lived in GGV, I always get a sympathetic wince, which I feel is representative of something. 

Maybe it’s not the most important thing in the world that GGV picks first, but I definitely think that there are certain dorms that should pick last. Lemon is the one that springs most obviously to mind, and any dorm that has AC, since my dorm room is always just a little too warm even right now in February.

There aren’t many things in this world that can be easily balanced, but I think it would be fairly simple to balance the karma of those students who have been unfortunate enough to be stuck in dorms that — good as the people might be — are nothing but one pain after another. We collected the good karma of making the best out of our freshman housing situation, I just think it would be nice to cash it in.


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