Many of us remember our college dorm rooms: the bare walls covered in band posters or table cloths serving as tapestries, all in a lame attempt to create a decent home. Even those now surrounded by prestige were subject to the same dreary conditions (let us not forget Barack Obama's reported "Barf Couch").
But were dorms always like this? Indeed, there was a promising beginning for the American dorm room, as evidenced by those oldest dorms at Princeton or Yale, where ivy sneaks up the side of a stone facade and huge windows open onto a New England style quad.
How did the dorm room transform over hundreds of years? Where is it headed?
Well, for those approaching college, you may be in luck. The ever-advancing 21st century has not left dorm rooms behind, and if you play your cards right you may end up living in a dorm with a smoothie bar, a jacuzzi, or a rock climbing wall.
Click the slideshow to see how college dorm rooms in America have evolved from the Founding Fathers' to others with swimming pools:
The Oldest Dorm
The College of William & Mary was established in 1693, making it one of the oldest universities in America. <a href="http://www.wm.edu/about/history/historiccampus/wrenbuilding/index.php" target="_hplink">The Wren Building</a>, built between 1695 to 1700, was the first building to be constructed and housed the master and the president. The students did not live on campus until 1723, when Brafferton Hall dormitory was built. (Photo credit: <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wren_1859_william_and_mary.jpg" target="_hplink">Wikimedia Commons</a>)
The Founding Fathers' Dorm
According to legend, Founding Fathers John Adams, John Hancock, Samuel Adams, Elbridge Gerry and James Otis were all residents of Harvard University's Massachusetts Hall. The building, which still survives today, was <a href="http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2011/10/the-newest-live-in-the-oldest/" target="_hplink">built in 1720</a> and was designed to house the growing student population. Today the president's office is located on the first floor, while the fourth floor houses freshmen.
First Women's Dorms
Historically, universities in America were separated by gender. Women's colleges were created to educate women. Wellesley College, which boosts of alumnae such as Madeleine Albright and Hillary Clinton, is just one example.
African American Dorms
Similar to women, African Americans were forced into separate living quarters in colleges. One example is Penn State, which had an unofficial housing policy until 1946 banning African Americans from living in white students' dorms. The university actually created a specific dorm for those few African American students called <a href="http://www.collegian.psu.edu/archive/2012/04/23/ceremony_honors_first_black_dorm_on_campus.aspx" target="_hplink">Lincoln Hall.</a> From the 1930s until the 1950s, the dorm housed about eight black male students.
The 70s saw a new wave of dormitory architecture. These unfortunate dorms, which are still widely used today, are identifiable by their cinderblock wall interior and harsh exteriors. (Photo credit: ISU Housing)
Greek Life Dorms
Greek life has existed on college campuses since <a href="http://www.elon.edu/e-web/students/greek_life/glhistory.xhtml" target="_hplink">1750s</a>, and the sorority and fraternity houses often provided alternative dorm options for the members. This living situation is known to have some drawbacks though, as greek life has a reputation for revelry.
Though dorms have advanced -- they are co-ed and integrated -- most college freshmen still live in a double shared with a person of the same gender. While the rooms are often not impressive, students experience more perks as they gain seniority, such as suites or apartments.
Today some dorms have become so luxurious that they resemble high-tech hotel rooms. Unsurprisingly, MIT is included on that list.
Scripps College takes advantage of its sunny California location, giving its all-female student body fairy tale dorms. The college is listed on <a href="http://www.forbes.com/2010/03/01/most-beautiful-campus-lifestyle-college.html" target="_hplink">Forbes</a> as one of the most beautiful campuses.
Though there are many competitors, the University of California Irvine might win for most luxurious dorms. The Vista Del Campo dorm even advertises a <a href="http://www.housing.uci.edu/photo/album.asp?album=39" target="_hplink">"resort style swimming pool, jacuzzi, movie theater, game room, fitness center, and computer lab.</a>" (Photo credit: UC Irvine Housing)