Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Staying on Campus at GRIP

Summer is basically over as school is back in session this week. I had a wonderful summer with lots of travel, but it's nice to be home now and getting back to a more regular schedule.

Unfortunately, with all of the craziness of summer, I haven't been blogging much! So, I hope to rectify that and blog regularly.

One of my trips this summer was to Pennsylvania where I spent a week at GRIP: the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh. In this post, I'll share about my dorm room experience. In later posts, I'll share about other aspects of my week at GRIP.

Bold Hall at La Roche College
This is the main door to Bold Hall: the dorm room where many GRIP students and teachers make their home for the week. Since I'd been to GRIP before, I didn't have to wonder about where to go. The first stop is through these doors where we started the check in process and got our room assignments. (The rooms are reasonable with private rooms costing $330 and double/shared rooms costing $275. This includes your meals for the week!)

Room showing one of two beds, one of two dressers, refrigerator,
microwave, and one of two 'closets'
Although last year I stayed in a room by myself, this year I roomed with one of my friends I'd made last year: Jill. Jill actually picked me and another lady up at the airport and drove us to La Roche College. At check in, we got our room keys, class notebooks, name tags and more. Then, Jill and I got our luggage and headed up to the 3rd floor.

When we opened the door to our room... it was HOT! Now, Pittsburgh was having their hottest day of the summer at that point. I think it was around 90 degrees. But, our room's air conditioning was definitely not working. Our room was a lot hotter than the hallway. It was unbearable.

Bathroom area - plenty of space to store toiletries for two
We went back to the sign in desk to 'complain' and were told that a lot of the rooms on the 3rd floor were having a/c issues and someone was on their way to fix it. At that point, we decided to wait until after dinner to try to move in.

After dinner, we met one of the custodians in the hallway and he'd 'bled' our line and said it was better. It did feel a little cooler. By bedtime, it was bearable, though still slightly uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, as we were getting ready for class the next morning, our room started getting warmer. By lunch time, we knew our a/c was definitely not working. Before dinner that evening, we got new rooms on the first floor. It wasn't fun packing everything up to move down 2 floors and to the other end of the building. But, we were thankful for the a/c!

Frustratingly, the staff was never able to get our internet connection working properly in our new room. While taking classes with homework, that is definitely an issue! We ended up doing our homework either in the main building or on Bold Hall's first floor's common area.

Adding to the frustration of this year's a/c and internet issues, last year I had a similar problem with the a/c in my room. Like this year, they couldn't get my a/c fixed and I had to pack up all my belongings and move to a different room on the second day.

Oh, and the beds? Not comfortable! My first bed I felt like I was sleeping on chain mail. My second? More like a trampoline. I didn't get a good night's sleep until the 3rd night when I finally was tired enough that I had to sleep.

Will I stay in the dorms again?

The answer: probably. Although I've been frustrated with both the a/c and internet issues, having a room so close to the classes, dining room, and even other friends is a definite plus. But, I wish they could get these issues fixed!

5 Dorm Room TIPS

  1. Bring your own pillow. One is provided, but it is very flat and not very comfortable.
  2. Bring your own sheets. Then, use the sheets provided as a mattress pad.
  3. Bring your own blanket. One is provided, but it is kind of stiff and not fluffy. Also, if you 'happen' to get one of the cold rooms, you might appreciate having two blankets!
  4. Bring an extra bath towel, hand towel, and washcloths. You are only provided one of each for the entire week.
  5. Bring your own toiletries. It's a dorm room, so nothing is provided but the toilet paper. You might even bring your own toilet paper!


  1. You were kind with your remarks about the GRIP Staff. I found their unwillingness to help a bit aggravating. The young women from the college were the most helpful! I do agree with you though that staying on campus even with all the issues was easier than coming and going.

    1. Yes, the college staff were helpful! But, it was hard to get a good night's sleep.

  2. Sorry you had such troubles with lodging, but I'm so glad you were able to attend again. Will you drag me up there with you next year? :)

    1. Lisa, I'd LOVE to "drag" you up there next year! Yes, it isn't perfect, but it's an incredible time of learning from both teachers and other students AND just being able to concentrate on genealogy for almost a week.

  3. It sounds like you still have several positives of staying in the dorm, especially being so close to class. What about purchasing a memory foam or mattress pad for your bed? You may be able to find a twin size one for an affordable price. Pairing one of those with the extra sheets may help to create a more comfortable bed for you. And hey, get the air conditioning fixed too while you're at it.

    1. Tommy, There are definitely positives and negatives with staying in the dorms. And, some type of mattress would be really nice for the bed. But, I fly to Pennsylvania from Texas and my suitcase is already stuffed.

      I've been to GRIP the past 3 years. This summer, I'm attending IGHR for the first time. It'll be in Georgia and the rooms are more like hotels. I'll let everyone know how I like it!


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