All About Middle Earth
Living on your own can be scary, especially if you’re used to being around your family and loved ones to then all of sudden sharing a room with people you’ve never met before. I get that.
In order to make your transition into college as comfortable and easy as possible, choosing the right dorm for you at UCI can make a huge difference. Although it’s easy to say that dorms are just dorms, each one is unique in its own way that may cater to you more as an individual and a student. So here I am to tell you all about Middle Earth, one of two dorming options on campus, and share what Middle Earth has to offer for first year students.
The Middle Earth community houses 24 residence halls all varying in size, occupancy and themes. If you’re looking for a more close-knit and smaller community, our smaller halls house between 49-60 people, while our high-density halls can hold up to 118 students, if you want a larger pool of first-years to live with. Within that, each floor has two suites that can either be a single gender or co-ed, depending on your living preference and hall theme. A majority of the rooms are double and triple occupancy, which basically means you have roomates! However, if you absolutely prefer to have your own room, Middle Earth does offer a very small amount of single occupancy rooms in each dorm hall. Also included in all the halls are laundry facilities, a kitchen and a common living room area to study or hang out!
Most of the residence halls in Middle Earth are co-ed, however there are a few exceptions! The hall that I’m an RA for, Oakenshield, is actually an all-female hall, for those who feel more comfortable living with other girls or just really love girl power (like me hehe). There is also Open House, which is the hall that aims to create an all-inclusive and LGBTQ+ friendly space for folks of all backgrounds, identities, orientations and expressions. This dorm is the only hall that has gender inclusive roommate assignments, so students can preference roommates of any gender/expression if they would like!
There’s also quite a few themed halls available to first-year students who want to live with others who have the same interests or career paths! To name a few, Middle Earth houses a music/performing arts hall for the creatives at heart, a technology and engineering hall for those who take an interest in innovation and mechanics, as well as an undergraduate research hall if you’re planning on conducting your own research while attending UCI! No matter what your interests are, all the halls and their RA’s strive to help their residents academically, socially and everything in-between, so don’t feel as though you’re missing out with living in the general interest halls!
If you’ve visited UCI recently, you’ve probably walked past the humongous construction that is going on right in front of Middle Earth. For that reason, I feel like the Middle Towers deserve an honorable mention. Opening in Fall 2019, the Middle Towers will make available up to nearly 500 new spaces for first-year students, as well as limited space for second-years too. Following the design of the Mesa Towers, the expansion will also include a new dining commons, a fitness center, study spaces and recreation facilities all available for students to use on a daily basis!
Pippin Dining Commons
Whether you live in Mesa Court or Middle Earth, a perk of living in the dorms is access to the dining halls on campus and basically all the food you can ever imagine! Okay, not really but it’s still a lot of food! Pippin Commons is the main dining hall in the Middle Earth community. Opening at 7:30am, Pippin Commons serves meals all day long varying in cuisines from different cultures and regions. Catering to those who study late into the night, from 8:30 to midnight Pippins hosts “Late Night” every Monday to Thursday and serves the perfect guilty pleasure study snacks, such as nachos, sundaes, buffalo quesadillas and much more.
If you need another distraction that’s non-food related, Pippins has that too! Connected to the dining hall is a small recreation room called Tolkiens, where you can gather up a few friends and play pool, ping pong and foosball—all for free!
Community Study Spaces
If you’re anything like me, you don’t like studying in your room. It always ends with me on my phone or falling asleep on my bed, so a majority of my school work gets done in other places: outside, the library, coffee shops and of course, study spaces. Luckily, Middle Earth has got students like us covered. Arkenstone and Bucklebury are the two academic study spaces that are open to students on a daily basis. Open 24 hours all year long, the public study spaces in Middle Earth are the perfect distraction-free tools that all residents should take advantage of. Arkenstone is also home to many of Middle Earth’s academic advising programs and other peer tutoring sessions that are available to students every quarter.
So as you can probably see, Middle Earth is a great place to live! Aside from all of the amenities and facilities that the community has to offer, I highly recommend to any potential first-year students who plan to live in the dorms to actually come visit us and get a true feel of what it likes to live in Middle Earth. In the end, the dorms are where you will spend a large portion of your first year of college and more often than not, your dorm becomes more than just where you sleep. In many ways, your dorm can become your home if you let it. When you do, Middle Earth will be here with open arms.