Staying close

Twins reflect on their four years living with Residential Life.

Madison and Noah Johnson
Madison (left) and Noah Johnson. “Being on campus is a crucial part of the college experience,” Noah said. Sam O’Keefe/University of Missouri.

By Jesse Berlin

Twins Noah and Madison Johnson have lived with Residential Life all four years of their Mizzou careers. The siblings from St. Joseph have enjoyed benefits missed by students who live off campus.

“You never have to drive anywhere,” Madison said. “I love just being able to walk outside and go straight to my class.”

“[My friends] had to wake up an hour before to get to class on time,” Noah said. “I got to roll out of bed 15 minutes before class, get dressed, get my bag and start walking.”

Living on campus put the pair close to activities. “There are so many things to do on campus,” Noah said, adding that his proximity to activities was essential to his involvement. “Being on campus is a crucial part of the college experience.”

For instance, his freshman year, Noah participated in a triathlon and trained at MizzouRec. “I don’t think I would’ve done anything like that if I was not here,” he said.

Noah also joined the Mizzou Mock Trial Association, which provides undergraduate students with the opportunity to practice trial law. “I’ve never poured so many hours into something that I never thought would be so big in my life,” he said, adding that he recommended the club to students interested in law or acting.

Madison roomed with someone she knew her first year at Mizzou. Given the chance, she would choose a roommate she didn’t already know. “I think that that would be such a better experience,” she said. “I had friends that roomed with people that they didn’t know and they loved it.”

Although Noah and Madison haven’t lived together since leaving home, they’ve become closer. “When we were bored, we would go up to each other’s rooms and hang out,” Madison said. “I would message Noah all the time and be like, ‘What are you doing tonight?’… His friends and my friends, we all hang out.”

Noah lived in Discovery Hall, a suite-style residence hall his freshman year but moved into Hudson Hall, a community-style hall, his sophomore year. “It was a different atmosphere,” he said. “What I learned from the community style is that there’s always something going on.”

Their sophomore year, Noah and Madison both became resident advisors (RAs). Madison was inspired by her own RA. “You could always go to him for anything that you needed,” she said. “He introduced us to a lot of different people and got us engaged with Mizzou … I really enjoyed that.”

Noah came to understand how critical RAs are in curating students’ experience, especially when they first arrive to campus. “They’re the first person you’re going to get into contact with,” he said. “They really have the knowledge base that you’re searching for … It’s really cool having somebody there who already has your back.”

RAs have had the same experiences as incoming students and can guide them accordingly. “When you’re coming in, you’re a little nervous. You don’t really know what to do, what tools you need,” Madison said. “They really give you those tools.”

Noah offers advice to incoming students: “Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there,” he said. “It’s always a little weird at first, right? It’s awkward [but] you’re growing in a different way. It’s important to know that these changes are good. And that can be fun.”

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