Class of 2020 Blog

Posts from the Johns Hopkins Class of 2020

My very asymmetric room

Getting to Know Your Freshman Dorm: Part II

This is a continuation from a previous post. Part I dealt with the furniture in the room, and can be found here. Part II deals with room layouts, floor plans, and amenities. 

Unlike in Part I, I can begin this blog by saying that unlike with room furniture, I did have some idea of what the floor plan and amenities were going to look like. In my analytical quest–definitely overly analytical–to find what freshman housing building fit me the most, I scoured the JHU housing pages for all the information I could find. No floor plan can compare with actually being here, though, so I hope that this blog provides some perspective on what your freshman year living situation will look like.

First off, Hopkins has 6 buildings that house Freshmen. They are: Alumni Memorial Residence (AMR) I, AMR II, AMR III Building A, AMR III Building B, Wolman Hall, and McCoy Hall. AMRs I and II are traditional dorm-style living, whereas the other four options are suite style. Find out more about the six buildings here.

I live in AMR II, and can’t really speak to what suite-style life is like. I wanted the typical freshman dorm experience, so AMR I and AMR II were my top choices. The AMRs are the more social buildings to live in, with doors often open and people in the hallway, mutually studying or just “chilling”. (I’ve even witnessed some raucous indoor hallway soccer being played by some of my floormates–before an RA quelled that game.)

the quaint AMR II

the quaint AMR II

That said, living in AMR I or II does have one major drawback: no air conditioning. Now, this only really matters for the first month or so, but 85-degree August nights are not too conducive to comfortable sleep. In an attempt to find a silver lining, I will say that this is a bit of a bonding experience–everyone laments the heat. It’s a great conversation starter, and if you live in AMR I or II, you will find that you discuss the joys of air conditioning with AMR III or Wolman peers during every orientation group meeting.

Once October comes around, the heat dissipates, and you’re left with only the pros of living in AMR I or II: you’re right in the center of campus, a 1 minute walk to the FFC, and in the position to make long-lasting friends with all your floormates. My advice to incoming freshman would be to really research the different buildings, and find what you like.

From here on out, this blog will primarily concern itself with AMR II (and to a lesser extent, AMR I) since that is all I’m really qualified to talk about.


Floorplans for all buildings can be found here.

AMR II has three floors. The bottom floor is split into two sections by the Res Life offices/Mailroom/Blue Jay Lounge, etc., but the upper two floors are continuous. AMR II is shaped in a sort of “H” shape. I live on the third floor in the central corridor–going up and down 2 flights of stairs five or six times a day helps a tiny bit with staving off the Freshman 15, I suppose.


Communal bathrooms. At JHU, they’re not as scary as they sound. Cleaned every weekday, they’re generally very clean. Having 3 shower stalls for a good number of people seemed like it would cause some problems, but I’ve never had to wait for a stall to open up. It seems like there’s a men’s and women’s bathroom in each wing of the building, so you’ll never have to walk far to get to it. There are also gender-neutral bathrooms on each floor.

Room Layout

My room is along the façade at the front of the building, so it has a corner cut out of it. As such, the furniture layout of my room is different than most people, with our furniture laid out around the perimeter of the room, rather than symmetric about the center. The asymmetry was weird at first, but the fact that all the furniture is along the walls makes the room seem much less cramped. Depending on your room’s window situation, the dresser-desk setup will probably look like one of the following drawings:

Typical Layout 1

Typical Layout 1

Typical Layout 2

Typical Layout 2

My very asymmetric room

My very asymmetric room

As can be seen on the official floor plans, the size of rooms vary, though they’re all similar square footage. My number one dorm tip, as I said in Part I, is get a shelving unit or something similar that can act as a nightstand. Beds are lofted, so your mattress is about 4 feet off the ground. You don’t want to be reaching down several feet to find a phone charging cord/get a drink/etc. while nodding off to sleep.

Social Lounge

Lest I forget to mention the AMR II Social Lounge. Located in the basement, it’s a very cool social space, with a TV with cable, a pool table, air hockey table, 2 foosball tables, and several couches–always a good place to unwind after a sometimes stressful week of classes and work.

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