Thinking about living in a dorm your first year in college? Just like any major decision you make about your higher education, you should carefully weigh the pros and cons of living in a dorm and determine whether or not the living arrangement will be ideal for you. For instance, you should definitely consider whether or not you’ll be comfortable rooming with someone you’ve never met! While the idea of living with a complete stranger might seem nerve wracking, just remember that they probably feel the same uncertainty about living with you. It might take some time to get used to living together, but as long as you’re both willing to give it a shot, then you shouldn’t encounter too many speed bumps.
Aside from the roommate situation, there are several other aspects to consider when deciding whether or not to live in a dorm during your first year or throughout your entire college experience. To give you a clearer picture of what to expect, check out the following pros and cons of living in a dorm.
Pro: Your roommate could become a lifelong friend.
Roommates often turn into best friends due to all the time you’ll be spending together. Be open to getting to know your roomie on a deeper level and encourage them to do the same. Remember, you’re spending the entire year with this person, so don’t be closed off or start on the wrong foot. You’ll also always have a buddy to walk around campus with, and your friends can instantly become their friends and vice versa. Take advantage of all your together time and bond as often as possible!
Con: You might get stuck with a total weirdo.
Conversely, there’s a very real and terrifying possibility that you’ll dorm with someone you don’t mesh with very naturally. You might have a roommate who is inconsiderate of your personal space or plays music really loudly while you’re trying to study. You might even get a roommate who constantly asks you to leave so they can carry out their “liaisons.” If you find yourself stuck in this nightmare, it’s best to have a calm conversation with your roommate to hash out your concerns and try to find some middle ground.
Pro: You don’t have to travel far to get to class.
Since you’ll always be falling asleep and waking up a few hundred feet from your classes, you’ll never have to worry about getting to campus on time, which eliminates some serious stress that students have to endure when they live far from school. You’ll also have more time to study and get your homework done since you won’t be spending much time behind the wheel during the week.
Con: You’ll probably get cabin fever at some point.
Staring at the same four (small) walls all year long will eventually inspire you to go out and possibly get yourself into some shenanigans. College students who live on campus are more likely to engage in frequent binge drinking than those who live at home, so be careful about the crowds you drift toward when the final class of the week lets out.
Pro: The possibilities for decorating your space are endless.
This one speaks for itself. Either decorate your half of the dorm with your favorite stuff or team up with your roommate to spruce up the entire space together. This is a great bonding opportunity where you can collaborate with each other and figure out what you both like. Remember: a pretty dorm is a happy dorm!
Con: Your roommate might be a slob—or a neat freak.
Honestly, which is worse?! If your roommate is a slob, be prepared to make peace with half the dorm being in a constant state of chaos. This won’t bother you too much unless you’re a neat freak, which is an equally terrifying possibility if you’re the messy roommate. If you feel that your roommate’s living habits—be they way too sloppy or way too OCD—are interfering with your mental stability, have a calm discussion about the issue and ask what you can do to make your own living habits more agreeable, as well. This way, you’re not “attacking” your roommate and asking them to change their habits without offering to do the same.
Pro: You’ll always have people to hang out with.
Even if you’re on the shy side, you’re eventually going to make friends with other students living in your building. Be social and get to know as many residents as possible, and that way you’ll always have something to do and someone to hang with during downtime. Avoid the cabin fever by visiting others in their dorms and hanging out in the community center between classes and on weekends.
Con: You might hate your resident assistant.
Resident assistants (RAs) are great resources for finding out about upcoming campus and dorm events. They’re there to keep the resident students safe and provide any assistance that is needed, from offering friendly advice to breaking up a brawl. However, some RAs abuse their power to the fullest extent possible and ignore requests for assistance. If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t feel comfortable asking your RA for help or even approaching them, speak with an RA at another dorm and explain your unease. Always get another official in charge; don’t just suffer in silence all year long!
Pro: Less cleaning
Even if the only space you clean at home is your own bedroom, your dorm space will be even smaller. The amount of clothes, shoes, and personal belongings will also be much smaller since you won’t be taking all your belongings with you. And if you’re in charge of cleaning the entire house, then you’ll really notice the decrease in time and energy when you go to clean your new half room!
Con: Coed bathrooms
Anyone who tells you coed bathrooms aren’t totally weird and uncomfortable are either closet nudists or just very confident in their own skin. A lot of students have mixed feelings about coed bathrooms, but one common misconception is that there is zero privacy. In fact, coed bathrooms in dorms have individual shower stalls and toilet stalls, so you’ll never be forced to be naked in front of anyone. Just don’t forget a towel!
The conclusion is that living in a dorm is not ideal for every college student, but those who are eager to embrace the dorm life to the fullest might just make some lifelong friends who expose them to new ways of thinking and help them grow as people. What do you think about living in a dorm? Give us your thoughts and share your own experience in the comments below!
Featured image source: https://news.illinoisstate.edu/2019/02/how-are-college-roommates-paired/
Jamie graduated from Cal Poly Pomona in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She is an aspiring writer, professional editor/proofreader, and piano player. In her free time, Jamie enjoys reading classic literary works, composing music, and playing Xbox with her husband!