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BJU Dorm Life

If you want the straight scoop on the dorms--um, residence halls!--check out http://www.bju.edu/become-a-student/accepted-students/expectations/resid... : that's far more up to date than my "made in the 1990's" viewpoint.

What are the dorms like?

In a word, I'd say: functional. Like a room-mate of mine once quipped, "This ain't the Radisson," but it's fine if you keep it clean! Ever notice that "dormitory" rearranges to spell "dirty room?"

Your maximum desk, shelf, and dresser-top space will be a grand total of roughly 10 to 12 square feet, with about 12 inches maximum altitude, assuming generous roommates who let you have a desktop, dresser top, and 2 shelves. Overhead bin and closet storage will greatly exceed this, however, and should be ample.

In general, there are 2 dressers, 2 desks, 6 shelves, 3-6 overhead bins (about 5 cu. feet each), and 2 or 3 closets with about 5 feet of horizontal hanger-space each. The girls dorms have more closet space--no, I'm not joking! There is "long-term" storage space under one of the bunk bed units; it's the size of a single-size mattress and about 12-16 inches deep. It's great for stashing the luggage out of the way. You do have to shove the mattress and its support panel out of the way to get to it.

A sink, mirror, vanity shelves, and a cabinet under the sink round out the amenities. There are usually enough outlets, unless someone owns a computer or a curling iron. You might want an extension cord if you like to have your alarm clock in your bunk instead of on a desk. The lights are adequate, but fluorescent-style. I'm not a fan of fluorescent lighting myself, so consider a 50-watt desk lamp instead. The library lighting is better; I think it's either sodium-based, or it's well-diffused fluorescent.

Dorm-Life's Little Suggestion Book

These vary wildly in their effectiveness, ranging from the quaint traditions to being necessary for survival. In no particular order, then...

Read your Bible and Pray!
OK, this one is first because it really is first! It's easy to forget your own devotional life at BJU, since there's chapel, Sunday services, prayer meetings, and Bible classes. Don't neglect your personal devotional life. You hear this hammered over and over again in fundamentalist circles; it's because it's important. There is nothing that terrifies Satan more than to see God's children diligently studying God's Word to find out its truths for themselves!
Laundry. Learn to do it before leaving home, guys!
One thing I learned quite early was that "whites" does not mean "cotton dress shirts". This resulted in the need of a hammer and anvil to get wrinkles out.
A friend of mine, Brian Thompson, helped me develop what I shall now call the Thompson Strategy of Collegiate Laundry (TSCL). The primary drawback of this method is that, if followed by everyone, it would be rendered ineffective, making it quite like multi-level marketing. However, for those lucky few who will stumble across it here on the web, it's now available here.
Where to Study.
In ascending order of effectiveness, the prime locations are:

  • Your room with room-mates playing computer games.
  • Your room with room-mates studying quietly.
  • Your room with no room-mates present.
  • Your room with no room-mates present and no friends dropping in to visit.
  • The dormitory study lounge.
  • The Mack Library.
  • Somewhere off-campus even quieter than the library: relative's home sans TV, a book store or local library, or so on.

In short, go to the library, do not pass Go, do collect at least one entire GPA point. Trust me!

Off-Campus Tips: Getting Around Greenville

My wife and I come from completely different cities. She's from Manassas, VA, which is basically a suburb of the Washington, DC metro area. I'm from Wheatfield, IN, which isn't a suburb of anything and has no stoplights. Greenville, thankfully, is somewhere in between those two extremes.

Note: We've moved from Greenville, SC to Atlanta, GA. Would anyone like to help update this material? It's getting out of date with each passing moment...

Malls, Arcades, and Shopping Suggestions

At the time of this writing, BJU runs buses on Saturdays to local malls and some other stores. For a minimal fee (was $1 when I was a student), you can ride the bus to several places. The bus generally runs to a local WalMart shopping plaza, Haywood Mall, and McAlister Square Mall. It might run to Greenville Mall now, but I'm uncertain.

Haywood Mall is the most popular mall in the upstate--and its size and variety shows it.

  • The food court is big, but incredibly noisy during lunch hour. With the addition of video monitors playing "Cafe USA" all the time, it sometimes is intolerable. Try Greenville Mall if you need to relax a bit more.
  • Park in the garage near JCPenney's: there are usually good places to park on the lower deck.
  • The CyberStation arcade is a waste of time--but I think that of any arcade that doesn't carry enough Sega games. They used to have San Franciso Rush, but it's gone now.
  • Natural Wonders is a warm, fuzzy kind of store with lots of environmentally-aware stuff; if you're into that sort of thing.
  • Another tip: Please, don't leave Haywood Mall less than 10 minutes before your off-campus permission runs out. It's not a comfortable trip--been there, ridden that, didn't like it! (To this day, a fellow BJU grad and I snicker whenever one of us says, "Uh, stoplight. Stoplight! STOPLIGHT!" It was one of those 5 minutes trips back from Haywood Mall... don't remember if we made it on time. I'm just glad we made it intact.)

McAlister Square Mall was pretty small, but attractive. McAlister Square Mall has been basically closed.

  • Guys, the McAlister Square Barber Shop is a great place for a haircut. Ask for Mel Payne! You'll pay about $12 here, but Mel does a fine job on my stubborn hair. (Note: they've moved. This might soon be referred to as "Laurens Road Barber Shop." Call 864-232-3559 for an appointment.)
  • The Tilt arcade is (was) pretty good--I hang out briefly before and after my monthly haircut, usually playing Virtua Fighter 1 or 2.
  • Historical note: After graduation and before marriage, I hung out in Tilt on Saturday mornings with a few friends of mine. We trained on VF 2 for a few months--and pretty much dominated at the arcade. The owner got to recognize us--in fact, after deciding to spend our arcade allowance on something else for a month, we went back for a visit and the owner said, "Where have you guys been? Business has been dead around here!" *sigh* But no one plays VF2 anymore.

Greenville Mall is nice, especially after its recent multi-million dollar expansion and rebuild. It sprawls and is rather pricey overall, with posh New York wannabe stores like Parisian.

  • The Intimate Bookstore is OK, though not as comfy as the Barnes and Nobles near Haywood Mall, nor quite as large as Books-A-Million on Laurens Road.
  • The Greenville Mall food court doesn't have a lot of variety, but it's quite nice to lounge in with a large pavilion and fountain area.
  • The Pocket Change arcade (in the food court) had the best-maintained Virtua Fighter 2 machine in Greenville county as far as I can tell. (It's now a Zero Gunner machine. Oh well...) The Daytona USA machine is set to "Endurance Mode" (that's 2.5 times longer race time: 20 laps instead of 8 for the Beginner track, 10 laps instead of 4 for Advanced, and I think 6 laps for Expert) for only 50 cents per game. No matter how poorly you play, you will always get at least 3 minutes of play.

PharMor is nearly unbeatable for the consumable non-food items you'll need: toiletry items, bulk quantities of storable food, school supplies, film, 2-day film developing, and over-the-counter medication. They even have an edge on WalMart on many items.

  • If you have access to a vehicle or a friend with a vehicle, beg a trip to PharMor! The money you save can pay for your share of gasoline.
  • Though the bus doesn't run to PharMor (it should--and might by next school year), it's possible to walk there from the Haywood Mall: allow at least 20 minutes each way.
  • Keep in mind that you have to cross Haywood Road itself during the walk--a nearly suicidal act in a vehicle, let alone on foot.

PharMor Shopping Center has some other features... just down the way from PharMor...

  • Computer fans, stop by the Gateway Country store and take a look at their showroom. Don't stay too long if you're not going to seriously spend money; it's a store after all, you know.
  • Fellow PC geeks: don't miss Computer Renaissance if you like to buy used PC hardware or are a hobbyist.
  • CiCi's Pizza is a step in quality above Little Caesar's, just below Domino's, and less greasy than Pizza Hut. It's all you can eat for less than $4--hello? Can you say, "Chow down?" Friday nights and Saturday nights are crowded, needless to say--go early, before 5 PM if possible. Try going when the NBA, NCAA, or any other college or pro sports playoffs are on TV. Everyone else in town is at home watching the game--you'll have CiCi's and its 60" widescreen TV (or most of Greenville for that matter) all to yourself.

Mountasia is an arcade and miniature golf course on Congaree Road behind Haywood Mall. Well, this is now past-tense, because it no longer exists, either. *sigh* I'm feeling old now!

  • The arcade has a poor price-to-play ratio: for example, they have only Virtua Fighter (the original), and it's set at 2 tokens per play. Hello? This game has been released for the PC already, and there are 2 more versions! Let me guess--VF2 would be a dollar a game, and VF3 would be three dollars, right?
  • The minature golf course is pretty compact, but crowded on weekends. Try a Thursday night, perhaps.
  • Note that the new "game" center next to Mountasia is members-only and is more of a video poker/pool/bar affair. I suspect they don't exactly have a BJU discount...

Tropical Island was a few miles down Wade Hampton, almost in Taylors proper... but alas, it's gone too. I used to say... Give yourself lots of travel time: if you hit every light red with only 10 minutes left on your off-campus permission, you'll be hating life...

  • One of the more grungy (dare I say High-Tech Redneck?) but popular hangouts, Tropical Island had a respectable arcade, miniature golf, go-karts, laser tag, a couple pool tables, and several small Midway-style kiddie rides. And music. LOUD, brainwave-jamming volume at times. Can't stand that aspect of it, personally.
  • I played laser tag here for the first time--and many times thereafter. They had a system called Q-Vector, I believe. It's not bad, though on weekends was embarrassing to have the "old pros" (12-year olds and 21 year olds alike) wipe you out all the time. $5 per game for about a 15 minute game, last time I went.
  • Laser tag sounds expensive, I know, but comparing the price-per-minute of real play against paintball, this seems like a great deal--getting shot disables you for 5 seconds, instead of the rest of the game. And you have no bruises the day after. (Note: loud music gives you headaches? Bring earplugs or Advil. This is a major rush for the un-initiated.) Oh, by the way, when they say no running, they really mean it. A friend of mine got kicked out one game for "walking fast" (his words). Just duck, don't run.
  • Historical note: I played my best-ever set of Virtua Fighter 2 rounds at this arcade, though their machine has since fallen into disrepair. I played 21 successive winning rounds against human players. Hey, but I'm humble, right? :-)
  • This arcade had my favorite pinball machine, based on Star Trek: The Next Generation. If I ever were to buy a particular pinball machine model, this would be my choice.

Lost yet?

We're not living in Greenville anymore and can't update this accurately without some help. Anyone have an update? Email us: bjuqa @ troyandjessica.com

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