One of the most memorable experiences of college is dorm life. While it is exciting, it can be a bit nerve racking for those who are not used to sharing rooms in general, those who are concerned about living with a stranger for a year, and those who are concerned about living on their own.
But worry not! Here are 6 things you can do to survive living in the dorms:
Packing may be stressful because you might not know what to bring or what you would actually need. The first rule of thumb is if you use it regularly at home, bring it. Bring the bare minimum first, then put your room together so that way you can fill in the gaps. But weed out the multiples. You don’t need to bring every sweater you have, every mug, every bottle of face wash, and so on. Your dorm will not be that big, so you will have to keep that in mind.
If you plan on going home every so often, consider swapping your fall clothes for winter, and winter for spring. Also, if you’re moving from different areas, consider how the seasons are and what you would need for that. For example, if you live in California and are going to school in New England you might need to look into winter clothes. If you are going to school in Florida you will need an umbrella and some rain boots.
By leaving your door open, you are signaling to others that it is okay for them to stop by and say hi. It is an easy way to meet new people as you walk down the halls. You will want to get to know people on your floor, so it is one of the easiest ways to do so. But remember, safety first. Only do it if you feel comfortable, and never leave your door open at night. Remember to lock your doors when you are asleep.
Dorm events are another fun way to meet the people on your floor and in your hall. The events are run by RA’s (Resident Assistants) and usually range from activities, to games, to study nights. This is a perfect opportunity for those who struggle to make friends because you are in the comfort of your new home and most times, a handful of people show up.
Honestly speaking, you will either become best friends, acquaintances, or just roommates. Not everyone becomes super close with their roommates and it is okay. We are only humans. However, it is very important to be respectful of your roommate and their space. You may have different sleep schedules, different habits, one may be messy or clean, etc. It is important to be considerate of one another. If there are any issues, communicate that to them to prevent any issues. But if that does not work, here is another thing you can do:
Your RA’s job is to help you transition into dorm life, provide college advice, and initiate fun. If you have any issues, you can speak to your RA and they will help you by either providing their input or recommending you to a professional, depending on the issue. Plus, by interacting with them you may be inspired to become an RA in your future years.
This looks different for each individual because we all do it differently. We all grew up in different households where responsibilities were different. To ensure you have a smooth transition into living on your own, learn how to cook simple meals (because most dorms have a small kitchen), learn how to do laundry, learn how to clean your room, learn how to set up a routine/schedule, and learn how to take care of your well-being.
Transitioning into dorm life may be easy for some or it may be hard. It is new for many students and it is okay to feel scared. Do not be afraid to cry in the bathroom stall after your family leaves (like I did), and do not be afraid to go home every weekend until you become comfortable (like my roommate). Everyone’s experience is different and these tips are to guide you. In the end, dorm life is what you make of it.
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