Dorm Life: 6 Helpful Tips for Freshman Dorm Life
The dorm rooms. The showers. The roommates. There is so much talk about residence life on college campuses. Before you leave for school you will hear plenty of horror stories, "I lived in a room the size of a closet with three roommates who didn't shower." While the occasional horror story is true, there are also plenty of amazing stories that come from residence life. The friendships, and all the great stories that come with them, are made in residence halls. Although I was petrified to live in a dorm at first, looking back now there are a handful of tips I must hand down to incoming first-years.
Be honest on roommate surveys. Residence life really does try to make compatible matches. It is easier for them to do it over the summer than deal with arguing roommates trying to move out in the middle of the semester. My roommate and I were both totally honest on our surveys and we are very compatible. Don't be afraid to answer the awkward questions that you think may get you in trouble. They won't. It’s better to answer the survey accurately now than dealing with a roommate who yells at you every time you step outside for a cigarette because you checked off "No" next to the box that asked if you smoked (true story).
Ease into your roommate relationships. Don't try to be best friends with your roommate on move-in day, (or worse) the summer before. Hang out, get to know each other, but also find other friends and activities that interest you. However, don't stress if you don't automatically click. Sometimes it will take a week or two for you both to be comfortable around each other. Remember, this is a wildly new experience for everyone involved.
Create home. In all honesty, dorm rooms are just about the complete opposite from home, save for a jail cell. The beautiful thing about the blandness of a dorm room is that it is yours to decorate. Go crazy with it. Decorate so it reminds you home. Bring pictures of friends and family, keepsakes and your favorite blanket. Or do what I did and make it the totally opposite of your room at home and, in turn, make it a second home. If you don't add personal touches to your dorm room, it is going to be quite depressing coming back every day to plain white walls.
Space. Space is limited in a dorm room and it is meant to be shared with one or more people. Don't bring every article of clothing you own. The summer before, clear our your closets. Give everything you don't want to a friend, relative or charity. You don't have to bring every single T-shirt you got in high school – those "Thank Heaven for Class of 2011" shirts won't have much use in college. Another space saver is to avoid bringing an entire year's worth of clothing. This of course depends on where you go to school.
Keep it clean. Unfortunately, your parents will no longer be cleaning up after you in your dorm room. At least I hope not. Make sure you get some basic cleaning supplies. Clorox wipes kill germs and you can use them on almost every surface. A bottle of Windex for your mirrors and windows is a must. Also get a broom, dustpan, trashcan, paper towels and hand sanitizer.
The bathrooms. The restroom situation really varies not only from college to college but residence hall to residence hall on campus. I lived in a small, freshmen-only residence hall, so it wasn't the worst once everyone got used to it. Just remember to keep it clean because you and dozens of other people have to use it every single day for 10 months. I'm begging you – please don't go into the shower without flip-flops.
Residence life is definitely a big adjustment. In all honesty, it isn't for everyone. You will see a lot of people decide they want to commute or switch to schools closer to home. Once you get into the swing of things, it becomes normal. It’s an experience that I love and wouldn't change for the world. Make the most of it and go in with an open mind.
By: Lauren Sale | Image: Source