College is an exciting new chapter of a person’s life. It is a journey to a whole new environment with new people and new lifestyles. It is your first step into adulthood. One of the big staples of college life is living in a dorm. You are not living in your family home anymore. Dorm buildings are kind of like apartment buildings, as they are multiple stories and it is where people live. However, it is a little different than your average apartment building. For starters, pretty much every dorm room is just one room. It just has beds, desks, dressers, and some other basic essentials. It may sound small, but it won’t feel that way after a while. You will be sharing your room with a roommate, with your first year roommate usually being someone that you have been randomly matched with and have never met before. This is all an exhilarating new experience that may be a little scary. It can be difficult to get used to this living situation and to figure out how to enjoy it. Here are some tips that will help you make the most of living in the dorm room so that you will be a true dorm room aficionado by the end of the year.
You are going to be living in your dorm room for around nine months. This means that you are going to be living with your roommate for that long. If you are going to be sharing a space with someone, it will probably be pretty hard for you two to end up as strangers. At least, you should never try to remain strangers. Even though you are forced to live together, by the end of the year, you should be happy to live together. Once you arrive at your dorm, try to talk to your roommate and ask questions about each other. Go to orientation events together and try to have a fun time. It will make your living situation so much easier if your roommate is also a friend. If you and your roommate never talk and don’t get along well, it will make living together uncomfortable and you won’t want to be in your room that much. When you see your roommate, start with a hello and get ready to have an awesome couple of months together.
Most dorm halls are not completely straightforward with just bedrooms. Down the hall, there should be a little lounge area on your floor. The setup of this lounge could vary based on the school, but it will most likely be a small setup with some chairs and couches. This is not an area to be ignored. This lounge could be the beginning of some beautiful friendships. If you ever have the time, try to hang out in your dorm hall’s lounge. Especially during the beginning of the year, you will be able to find a lot of people from your floor. This is a space where you and your neighbors can talk, study, play games, and more. These halls are meant to help students mingle and find some people to hang out with. Your neighbors should not just be people you nod at every once in a while. If you go to your lounge, you will get to know them and see the best parts of living down the hall from cool people your own age.
Why not take meeting new people in your hall a step further? While you should be talking to people in person, it is no secret that everything these days has gone digital. So, there is no shame for the interactions with your neighbors to be digital as well. That is why you should have a group chat with the people in your hall. This can be something that you make or someone else in your hall might have the idea. Even if it is made by someone else, you should still try to be active. A group chat can be a great icebreaker for your hall. This can be used for all sorts of purposes. When you’re starting out in school, everyone can use this chat to ask for directions for places. You can also learn who else is in your major and this can be a great place to get some study tips, maybe even arrange study sessions together. This also can be a chat where you make dinner plans so no one in your hall ever has to eat dinner alone. A group chat will be a terrific way for your school year to start easily and for the bonds with your hall to grow.
The beginning of the year can be a little difficult and you might need some help. There is one person in your hall that will definitely support you. That person is your Resident Assistant, otherwise known as your RA. Your school might have a different name for this person, but you will know who they are as they should be the oldest resident on your floor. Your RA is the upperclassman of the floor whose job is to help out the people on your floor. They will be the most useful when you are just starting college, but will be great all year long. They are someone who has been at your college for a while so they know the ropes. If you have a question about classes or getting assignments done, your RA will know what to say. They may also arrange some fun events for your hall to help make some friendships. And if you are ever nervous about eating alone, your RA will be there. Try to make sure you reach out to your RA so that you will have the best guide for your college experience.
A dorm room is your new home. It is a home where you don’t have your parents with you. Even if you are sharing your dorm room with a roommate, a lot of the space is completely your own. You should feel free to make that room feel like it belongs to you. The best way to do that is through decorating. You are no longer living in a home where your parents make all of the decorating rules. Now, you are able to have free reign. There is a lot you can do to make your room feel like you. You can hang up posters, put up some cute shelves, get some pretty string lights, and more. Whatever aesthetic you want to achieve, go for it. A room is place where you should be comfortable. If you didn’t change your room at all after moving in, it would look boring and unoriginal. Have some fun and try to make your dorm room your favorite place on campus.
Unfortunately, you are probably not going to get your own bathroom when you start college. There is most likely only going to be one bathroom for each gender in your dorm hall, at lest when you first start college. This also means that you are not going to have your own personal shower. You have to share your shower with a bunch of other people. It is possible that you could decide on taking a shower, but all of the showers are full by the time you get to the bathroom. Sharing is not going to be a great experience, so you need to figure out how to make it work for you. Try to figure out some times where you haven’t seen anyone in the shower. You could even ask around to see when people usually plan to do it. That way, you can come up with a time when you will shower when you don’t have to constantly check to see if a shower is empty. It is not fun walking back and forth in your robe. Living in a dorm is going to mean you won’t have a bathroom to yourself, so try to make that lifestyle just a bit easier and quicker.
College campuses can be big and there will be different buildings all over the place. It is not high school where everything is all in one place and all of your classes are one after the other. Your classes are going to be a lot of different buildings and there will probably be a lot of breaks in between. You are not going to have your mom drive you to and from school everyday. All of the arrival planning is now up to you. That means you need to figure out right away when you are going to leave. First, you are going to need to know how far your dorm is from your classes, maybe by checking the classes out before the first day. Then think about how long it is going to take to get everywhere by timing yourself. You are probably going to want to spend as long as possible in your dorm room, so you need to work on the timing so that you know how much time can be devoted to staying in your room. You don’t ever want to be late to class, so make sure that you know when is best to leave everyday so that you will be exactly on time.
You should be getting your schoolwork done, but that does not mean you should be working 24/7. College may be a little stressful, but you can do more than studying. Try to make some time for yourself where you can just relax. You now have a dorm room where you can do whatever you want. From playing music loudly to take some naps to snacking on some tasty treats and more. There are no rules made by parents which means you now have a lot less restrictions. You might want to spend some of this relaxation time outside your dorm room, but you should really take advantage of your practically private space. Go crazy in your dorm room and take a break from the outside world. Figure out some time for breaks, like days when you don’t have a lot of classes or evenings when you know you are not going to have a lot of homework. Never overwork yourself. Appreciate your dorm and take some time to just chill.
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