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BJU Dorm Life, for the Ladies

Note: Last update was in 2007. Some of these rules may have changed. Email [email protected] troyandjessica . com if you are a current student who wouldn't mind sharing details.

Hi! Jessica Thompson here. My husband, Troy, gives a pretty good account on what to expect as a Bob Jones freshman, but it does lack the female perspective. I'll try to give you specifics about the girl's dorms, rules, and what to expect. I'll start with dress standards.

Side note: There's an eye-opening survey on modesty at http://therebelution.com/modestysurvey/ : highly recommended reading for women!

The Dress--and Skirt, and Blouse--Code

If you're graduating from a typical Baptist Christian high school, you probably won't have much trouble adjusting to BJ's standards. The rules are pretty much the same. Just a few set-in-stone guidelines:

  • Dresses or skirts have to be worn to all classes and non-recreational functions. A neat, Sunday-evening-church type look is expected. Again, probably no more than what you're already used to, if you're from a Christian high school. Hemlines of course must come to the bottom of the knee and all slits should be sewn down to the same point. While at school, you'll hear this "sewn, not pinned" rule emphasized. But the truth is, if the slit is sufficiently closed, whether it's with a stitch or a pin doesn't really matter.
  • A new rule about necklines also was put into place a few years ago when deeply scooped necks became popular. You have to hold your hand on your chest with your first finger on your collarbone, and your neckline cannot be below your little finger. If it is, you can fill it in with an extra piece of matching material or lace.
  • Denim is only allowed on Saturdays or during casual activities like going to ball games.
  • Start stocking up on hose! You will need them! Hose must be worn at all times with skirts or dresses. (Yes, even when you're wearing socks) The idea is that legs must be covered at all times when you're outside your dorm, either by hose or by pants. Which brings me to...
  • Sweatpants or other loose fitting exercise pants are worn when playing sports or exercising. There are also a few other functions like skating activities or certain outings when pants are allowed. Jeans, however, can only be worn in the dorms; so bring at least one pair to relax in.
  • Here's a personal tip. There is one type of skirt that's actually long enough to cover the legs without needing socks. It's called a riding skirt, and I found one in a JC Penny catalog. It's actually made for horseback riding, so it easily fits the three L's of Bob Jones dress standards--loose, long and lots. It makes a great knockabout skirt, and I threw mine on whenever I wanted to make a quick trip out of my dorm to the laundry or to check my PO box. If you can find one, it's a good investment.
  • Hairstyles are of course expected to be feminine. Short hair is permitted, but not any sort of military or buzz cut, obviously.
  • Double-pierced earrings are allowed as long as they match. Have any more holes in your ears than that? Just don't wear anything in them.
  • Purses are not usually carried by students. In fact, one of the quickest ways to distinguish campus visitors from students is whether they're carrying purses. You're going to need a backpack to carry your books, and it's just easier to transfer the contents of your purse into your backpack as well.

Dorm Life Tips

Okay, let's move on to the dorms. As you can probably surmise, the girls and guys dorms may as well be on different planets as on opposite sides of campus. The "authority structure" is the same. You'll have a dorm supervisor (normally called the dorm soup), dorm counselor, hall leader (who will most likely not be a ministerial student!), prayer captain, and assistant prayer captain. These folks will greatly range in ages and majors, you'll meet many different sorts of people.

The rooms themselves is where you'll start seeing some great differences between guys and girls dorm life. About 3 or 4 years ago, one girls dorm was made strictly a dorm for graduate students, and all the undergrads had to move into the 4 remaining dorms. For that reason, it's now normal to have 4 girls to a room. With that in mind, let me tell you how much personal space you're going to have:

  • 3 dresser drawers and 2 desk drawers (don't panic here, the drawers are very like the old Bible song, deep and wide!)
  • 2, maybe 3 bookshelves.
  • A 2-shelf headboard over your bed. The shelves are about 3 inches deep and 6 inches high.
  • Half of a desk top and half of a dresser top.
  • Two overhead cabinets
  • About 3/4 of a closet (Here's a hint on the closets. There's actually two "big" closets and one "small" closet in each room. If you can get yourself to school early enough to be the first one in the room, you can claim the small closet and not have to share it)

Tranquility Tips

As you can see, personal space is at a premium. To keep peace with your roommates, consider these do's and dont's:

  • Don't bring a lot a decorative knick-knacks that just sit around. Sadly, I have been involved in altercations that included things like, "Her flower vase was on my side of the dresser."
  • Do bring some, but keep most of it to what will fit on that two-shelf headboard. And please, please don't bring one of those huge wooden jewelry chests! You'll do fine with a simple box.
  • Also, don't bring any big Caboodles or other large box for your makeup unless you can keep it in an overhead cabinet.
  • You get only one shelf by your sink for toothpaste, hairspray, and the like.
  • Don't bring a lot a stuffed animals either. One or two that you can't live without is fine if you keep them on your bunk.
  • What you do want to bring is any and all posters, pictures, and unframed photos that you can hang on the wall with sticky-tack. You're not allowed to drive nails into the walls, so sticky-tack decorating is a popular way to personalize a space.
  • You'll need a shoe rack that will hang over the top of your closet door. Again, no nails.
  • You'll also want some extension cords and power strips for things like your curling iron, stereo and hot pot.

Things That Go Beep in the Night

This brings me to the subject of electronics. Computers are not as prevalent in the girls dorms as they are in the guys, but this is fast changing. In the 2000-2001 school year, all dorm rooms were wired for internet connections (filtered, of course) in order to send e-mail and do research on the web. So, if you have a good computer system and can purchase a network card from the school (somewhere around $50), bring it but be prepared to share it. Most girls will be happy to sacrifice the space in order to have such a convenience in their room.

For a stereo or sound system, here's the rule I followed: If you can pick it up and carry it easily with one hand, bring it. If not, don't fool with it. Most likely every other girl in your room will have some sort of boom box or another; your listening needs will be well taken care of.

As far as cooking is concerned--hot pots, little sandwich makers, and small two cup coffee-makers (if you've just gotta have that coffee!) can be gotten away with. As you read on Troy's pages, there's only one refrigerator per dorm. Don't expect to use it. Stock up on dry goods with "infinite" shelf lives and things that can be made with boiling water.

And Just a Few Steps Down the Hall...

Okay, now for the bathrooms. Just two things to remember.

  1. One, bare feet are not allowed in the showers. I know, it sounds kind of strange. But if you think about it, for hygienic reasons, it makes sense. A cheap pair of beach flip-flops will take care of it. (Note, this no-bare-feet rule also applies to the halls, so you'll need a pair of soft slippers. I got "expressive" with this rule one year and got an absolutely gigantic pair of slippers in the shape of ducks. They got quite a few laughs.)
  2. The only other thing you'll need for the bathroom is a shower caddy that drains water well; the more holes, the better.

Your Time Budget

One more thing that you're absolutely going to need, and that's a Daytimer. I resisted getting one for two years. I said that I was organized enough already and resented the idea of having to have my whole life written down in a book. Then, after I completely stressed myself out and was overwhelmed by all the things I had to remember, I broke down. Get yourself a good, concise Daytimer and learn how to use it. I still use mine today.

And Don't Panic!

On a final note, these guidelines are just the basics. The longer you spend on campus, the more you'll get a feel for life there and how to make it more comfortable. Just don't be intimidated. When you first get to Bob Jones, everything may seem a little overwhelming at first. For example, coming from a small Christian high school where you knew everyone to a much larger college where everything is different is going to be a bit of an adjustment.

But, in the words of Douglas Adams, "Don't Panic." If ever a group of people existed to make your time easier, it's the faculty and student body of Bob Jones. Don't be afraid to ask them for anything. When my younger sister was set to begin her freshman year at Bob Jones, she bombarded me with questions - "What will I do in such-and-such situation?" My answer to her was almost always, "Ask your roommates." I remember one freshman roommate of mine who had just opened her first checking account before coming to school, and she asked me to show her how to write a check. I admired her willingness to "look foolish" in front of her roommate to ask for help; because in doing so, she didn't look foolish at all. So really don't be afraid to ask for help with anything.

I hope my tips here will be a help in preparing you for what can certainly be the most rewarding four years of your life. Thanks again for your interest. God bless.

Jessica Thompson

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