Ask an RA: Ray Schechter answers your burning questions about living at SLC

Ray Schechter '15 is not only a superstar RA, but also one of the most hilarious people you'll ever meet. Here, she answers the questions incoming first-years are dying to ask.

Ray Schechter '15 is not only a superstar RA, but also one of the most hilarious people you'll ever meet. Here, she answers the questions incoming first-years are dying to ask.

Despite all of our guides about first-year life that we have published, there are a lot of questions that I’m sure we were unable to answer. The list goes on and on of worries for that first day of college. So, in order to answer some of your burning questions, The Phoenix has recruited the help of veteran RA and senior Ray Schecter to get you in the know for the vague scenarios and issues that you might have.

Nervous First-year: How can I make move-in day run as smoothly as possible?

Ray Schecter: Move-in day is the most exciting event all year for the residence life staff. They look forward to it all summer so everyone you interact with will most likely be shitting sunshine anyway. To make the day go even smoother, you should take a deep breath, kiss your parents goodbye, and internalize the fact that this is the first day of the rest of your life.

NF: What do I do if I catch my roommate masturbating? Alternatively, what do I do if I have to masturbate?

RS: Masturbate! You’re in fucking college you can do whatever the hell you want.

NF: How infrequently can I shower and still be socially presentable at SLC?

RS: I had a friend tell me once, “it’s been six whole days since I’ve showered.” This was NOT during conference week, it was just a regular day during the semester. I remember looking at him and thinking, “damn, your individuality is sexy as hell.” Maybe this means six days is the limit, I’m not sure. Interpret this story as you will.

NF: What do I do if I hate my roommates?

RS: Here is a short list of procedural steps for the situation that is NOT AS BAD AS YOU THINK:

a.) Voice your opinion. If you don’t say anything about a problem you’re having with your roommate, how will you solve anything?

b) After talking about your points of conflict decide on specific things you can both do to prevent these problems.

c.) If your roommate is not receptive to your angelic voice or your rooming problems, TALK TO YOUR R.A. They have many hours of training in this exact situation. Use this resource as your guiding light.
    d.) If your R.A. isn’t receptive for some weird reason, the next step is to talk to the director of residence life.

e.) You’ll be fine (by the way). Worst comes to worst, if you have a roommate you don’t get along with, residence life will help you find a new one. Remember everything is temporary. You’ll be FINE.

NF: Ugh I got a triple room -- is it possible for me to coexist with two other people?

RS: Um triple? Can you say THREESOME? No, no just kidding I wouldn’t endorse having a threesome—this causes undesirable tension in the living space (learned that one from experience). If you get a triple, or even a double for this matter, make sure to voice your opinion on things that are important to you in your living space. This is the only way your roommates will be on the same page as you to set the vibe of your room.

NF: I’m a neat-freak but my roommate is a pig. What do I do?

RS: This question I seem to have answered already. If you have a strong opinion about the standards of your living space, voice it in the beginning of the year. If it is a shared space among many young peeps, it’s tricky but you got it. Make your opinions strong and clear. Remember compromise is your friend. Listen to your roommates just like they will listen to you. DO NOT WORRY!

NF: Where’s the best place on campus to get a cup of coffee?

RS: Your own kitchen.

NF: Will upperclassmen make fun of me if I ask them for directions?

RS: Upperclassmen won’t make fun of you in general. They are looking for friends just as much as you are. When I stepped onto SLC campus as a first-year I asked two juniors how to get to Hill House. They walked me across campus to my apartment and I continue to be friends with them to this day. Give the kindness you think you ought to receive. That is just general advice. You’re welcome.

NF: How do I get the key to my room on the first day of school?

RS: You will receive your key when you check-in at the library on the first day! Don’t lose it. It [costs] money for a replacement.

NF: How do I make friends?

RS: Just be yourself! If you came to Sarah Lawrence to study and learn, you will make friends here. There are also a lot of crazy clubs and sports here to spark interest in things you might have in common with other people. If you feel like you’re not making friends and you’re anxious about it, you should check out Health Services. They have a lot of ears there and a lot of time to listen.

NF:  How do I make friends if I’m super super super shy/weird/awkward?

RS: Coming from the shyest person on campus, I can say I’ve experienced this at SLC. I know a crazy senior who is a redhead. She can help you. Find her and say “I Want friends.” She will point you in the right direction.

NF: SLC is supposed to be super-hip and trendy. What should I wear? Will people judge me if I don’t look cool enough?

RS: Secret to being cool: you are cool. Wear whatever you want! Be who you are! People will follow.

NF: Everyone at SLC is so artsy. What if I don’t write/sing/act/dance/paint?

RS: Do something you enjoy. This makes you artsy.

NF: Real talk, which dining hall is the best and what should I eat there?

RS: There’s only one dining hall that is truly a dining hall, making it the best and worst dining hall on campus. Bates. My suggestion is to get creative. But it is good in the beginning of the year, so you’re fine.


Ray Schechter '15 interviewed by Wade Wallerstein '17 &

Nervous about moving in? Here's what you should bring for the best move-in day ever

photo courtesy Chris Taggart

photo courtesy Chris Taggart

We are quickly approaching the excitement of Move-In Day – a day that can seem daunting when facing the challenging task of deciding what to pack. “You don’t need to bring as much as you think you do,” explained Connor Simcox ‘16, “you want to bring a bunch of books from home because they look nice or you want to read them, but you only ever end up flipping through one or two.” Within the first few weeks of school your book collection will have doubled, adapting to your new tastes and your curriculum. “Just bring the books that might work well as reference material,” he said.

It is important that you acclimate yourself easily to your new home, and to do so you should bring familiar objects with you. “Things I was happiest to have brought were things from my childhood, like books that I had already read, my dad’s pillows or a pair of my mom’ socks, just to remind me that I was home,” said Aly Tippett ‘16.

You should buy tape to stick things on your walls that remind you of home (tacks are not allowed). “Bring photographs of your family, of your friends, of your pets, and of the neighborhood café that was the site of so many high school study sessions. Keep those people and those places with you. They are your foundation, they are what brought you to who, and where you are now,” said Sophie Needleman ‘16

You will also need a few essentials to make your life a little easier throughout the year. “Shower shoes for communal bathrooms and a robe will save your life,” said Katya Goncalves ‘16. In addition, bring “a fan, and slippers so you can walk around comfortably,” said Tippett. The beds at Sarah Lawrence are twin-sized, so bring a comforter, bed linens and two pillows sized for your new bed. Your new room will be smaller than what you are accustumed to, so you have to make the most out of the little space you have. Bring clothing hangers for your closet, bed risers and storage containers for your shoes and some of your clothes to nicely sit under your bed. Some of the rooms are not furnished with lamps, so try to bring a desk lamp and a larger lamp. The desk lamp will come in handy when you will need to work late nights and your roommate is sleeping and the larger lamp will bring some warmth to your new home. Typically, the lamps that the school gives you (if you have one in your room) will have a bright white light that is disagreeable. We recommend you bring yellow-tinted light bulbs to bring a comforting glow to your room.  Add to the list a full length mirror and a rug. The rug will make your room more cozy. If you live in the new dorms where the floors are bare and quickly get dirty, a rug is essential. If you live in Hill House, most rooms have a carpet thus a rug will not be necessary. You should also bring an over-the-door hanger; it is a great way to save space and a practical spot to keep your coat, robe and towel. To maximize space in your bathroom, you should bring a shower rack to easily transport everything you need.

Laundry will probably be the more challenging task as a freshman, but you will only need two things: detergent and a small laundry bag that you can easily carry up and down stairs. Try to buy one large case of detergent with your roommates, you will always end up borrowing each others.

When it comes to school supplies, do not forget to bring a hard drive or a small USB stick (depending on how much storage space you need) to backup your work. You do not want to risk losing all your notes and homework during conference week. The school’s bookstore sells binders, folders, paper and writing utensils but you should only use the bookstore for things that are urgent because it can be quite pricey. You can also splurge on some Sarah Lawrence merchandise if you want to; however, there is a Staples near campus that offers more choices for a better value. You also do not need to bring your own printer. Printers are available in almost every dorm. You can also print in the library, at the Pub, in Heimbold, or Slonim. On your first day, you will receive a lot of “printing money”  on your One-Card. This money does not roll-over from year to year, so make the most of it (in other words, use it all!). For late night studying do not forget to bring a coffee mug. Refills at the pub will be less expensive and it is ultimately better for the environment to use a mug instead of paper cups.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, remember that it is “better to under pack than to over pack, as the year goes by you will have a better idea of what you need. You can build off that,” said Ramisha Sumar ‘15. You also happen to live five minutes away from both Cross County Shopping Center and downtown Bronxville where you will be able to purchase almost anything that you need. Most importantly remember to “bring your big heart and bring your wisdom,” said Needleman. Within your first few hours you will meet a lot of people who are willing to help you get anything you might need. If your parents are not with you to help, most likely one of your roommates will have a parent that is more than willing to help you get everything you need, from additional storage space to food. The biggest move-in essential is a calm mind and positive attitude.

by Julia Schur '15
Managing Editor


SLC Phoenix

The Phoenix is a non-profit, student-run publication representing the voices and opinions of Sarah Lawrence College community members. Our print edition publishes bi-weekly on Tuesdays, and our online edition is updated multiple times per week. Anyone may attend our open meetings at 9:00 PM on Wednesday nights in the North Room of the Pub.