The Dorming Life
Unless your immediate family lives in the college town area, chances are you will be spending at least your first year of college in a residence hall… a.k.a. the dorm. This move from home to dorm often give college students mixed feelings. While you know you will miss being surrounded by your family, you are still ecstatic for the independence and adventure.
However, if you think you can quickly pass Dorming 101 based on what you saw in Hollywood movies and TV shows, you’ve got another thing coming for you. Entertaining as it may be, Hollywood movies have created some interesting spins on the dorm life with films featuring scary roommates (The Roommate), absolute freedom (the Van Wilder series), and endless drama (She’s the Man). These movies don’t prep you with the right info of what living in the dorm really is like.
This is the part where we come in. We have a cumulation of 15 years worth of dorming experience from academy to college. Check out what we learned (sometimes the hard way) along the way:
- You can turn your dorm room into a home. You might not have your mom and dad a door away, but if you enter that room with an open mind, you can transform it into your haven filled with memories of your college years. Check out Pinterest for some great ideas!
- Your roommate can be your best friend or worst enemy. You don’t have to room with someone you previously know. Rooming with a stranger can lead to another lifelong friendship. The important thing is to COMMUNICATE your needs and expectation.
- You both have a responsibility of keeping your room neat and clean. Numerous pieces of research have uncovered that people are significantly healthier and sleep better with clutter-free rooms.
- Your suitemates can become your lifelong friends, too! Don’t be shy to introduce yourself to them at the beginning of the semester. You do share a bathroom, so try to establish some bathroom rules and make a cleaning schedule off the bat.
- Your RA can help you get the ins and outs of dorm life, but do not take advantage of them and their friendship with you. Respect them, and they will do the same with you.
- You do not get to blast your music late at night and not expect your neighbors to bang at the walls or leave you a passive-aggressive note. If they are the ones doing it, knock on their door and nicely relay your concerns to them.
- You have a better chance of nabbing a washing machine and dryer in the middle of the week than on the weekends. And try not to leave the kitchenette when you are washing your clothes. There’s a high chance you will forget it! If you decided to go, set a timer or reminder on your phone for 30-35 minutes if your clothes are in the washer, or 45 minutes–1 hour if they are in the dryer. Be considerate of the other dorm residents who may need to use it as well.
- You need to reserve at least one drawer for food for late-night cravings or on-the-go meals. Try not only to store junk food. Balance it out with healthy snacks like fruits, nuts, and granola or energy bars.
- You can find valuable things in the free pile, so search diligently! The free pile is a stash of clothes, cleaning supplies, food, etc. that others students leave behind if they don’t need it. At Southern, the free piles are in the kitchenettes. Don’t be too proud to look for what you need; they are free, after all. (Make sure you are taking from the designated free pile and not someone else’s laundry!)
The dorming life is not to be feared. Just follow the Golden Rule of “doing unto others what you would want them do to you,” and you'll survive living in a dorm setting just fine.
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