A Day in the Life: The Ten-Man Suite

One 10-man suite's door. Photo by Sean Sonneman.
One 10-man suite’s door. Photo by Sean Sonnemann.

The big day has finally arrived. You walk up the hallway scanning for your room number with your family behind you lugging boxes and bags filled with your belongings for the first semester. But even as the numbers continue to climb, you still don’t see your name scrawled on any of the assorted tags taped to the suite doors.

You start to worry and double-check the room number written on the note card handed to you by the RA you just met downstairs. You have reached the end of the hallway and thankfully there you finally find your name on a door. However, much to your surprise, nine other names are placed around it.

For the Manhattan College freshmen who live in the infamous 10-man suites located at the ends of each hallway in Horan Hall (including yours truly), this was the reality of move-in.

Most freshmen entering college have to worry about adjusting to life with one roommate and maybe two to three other suitemates at most. For those lucky/unlucky enough to be placed in a 10-man suite, this was their initial thought as well. That is, until they arrived on campus to find out that they would be living in a five-room compound complete with two bathrooms and nine other personalities.

“Life in the 10-man is interesting, very interesting,” Alec Simon, a 10-man resident on the 10th floor, said. “There is never a dull moment, it’s certainly fun.”

“Interesting” only scratches the surface of a proper description for what it is like to have nine other roommates. While 10-mans may be arbitrarily split up into two doubles and two triples, residents quickly discover that these room boundaries blur as the year goes on.

“You really don’t have actual privacy. There is never enough space and you are always around someone,” Simon said.

Another 10-man resident, engineering student Stephen Toscano agrees that space can often be an issue at the ends of the hallways. “It’s a little cramped, to say the least. But we seem to manage it pretty well,” Toscano said.

While the potential problems of limited privacy and lots of noise may make it seem that the 10-man suite is an unfortunate housing assignment, most members seem to have embraced the lifestyle despite its flaws.

“Living in a 10-man was a great opportunity for me, especially being from out of state, to make friends,” 10-man resident Michael Moon said, who is from California and is currently living on the third floor of Horan.

“While I witnessed a lot of disagreements, both verbal and even sometimes physical, I still made friends that will carry throughout my time here at Manhattan and hopefully afterwards,” Moon said.

This deep level of friendship seemingly makes up for the problems that will inevitably arise from having 10 people living in close quarters, never mind 10 18-year-old college freshmen. At some point during those first few weeks after orientation, camaraderie and brotherhood develops inside the suite into what many residents have even described as a kind of family.

As you might have observed on your daily trips to Locke’s, you can frequently find large groups of freshman boys sitting together at a table. More often than not, these are 10-man suites traveling as a pack to dinner.

In my own suite, mealtimes are just a fraction of the “suite-wide activities” that take place throughout the week. These group events range from video game tournaments and movie screenings to poker games and even sessions of Kan Jam in the hallway separating the bedrooms. On one of this semester’s numerous snow days, the suite ventured to Van Cortland Park for an afternoon snowball fight. The 10-man size also seems to be ready-made for intramural teams, complete with pick-up basketball games in the off-season to build team chemistry.

The 10-man suite's intramural team. Photo by Sean Sonneman.
The 10-man suite’s intramural team. Photo by Sean Sonnemann.

With nine other roommates, it can sometimes be hard to keep track of where everyone is around campus. One common question often heard throughout the 10-man is, “Where is (insert name here)?” While it can be rare for the 10-man to have all of its members in one place at the same time during the day, even rarer are the moments when a resident finds himself alone in the suite.

Since the year began, I have twice walked through the suite door to be surprised by an eerie silence far different than the normal shouting between rooms and background noise of a TV or music.Yet, these moments only lasted for a few minutes, just long enough to wish that some of my suitemates would soon return.

Like all families, the 10-mans have their respective disputes and black sheep. At times, a suite might require a room change or different housing assignment for one of its members. Some suites have bonds stronger than others, mostly due to pure chance of who is assigned to it.

“It’s a gamble though because you got nine potential friends, but then you could also have nine potential people you don’t like,” Toscano said.

However, Toscano and many other 10-man residents feel that the benefits of immediately knowing nine other freshmen upon moving in, having a built-in study group for some of your classes and never needing to look far for a dining companion outweigh any costs. Most would not want to have their housing any other way.

“If I had to do it again… yeah, I’d probably still go with the 10-man,” Toscano said.

The boys create a make-shift poker table for games. Photo by Sean Sonneman.
The boys create a make-shift poker table for games. Photo by Sean Sonnemann.