The only thing harder than the transition from high school to college is the transition from home to college dorm life. Disclaimer: I am not trying to discourage anyone from dorming! Living in a dorm is a great experience and a quick way to meet new people, especially for freshman.
Here are 10 tips to know about college dorm life before you leave your parents (coming from someone who lives in a triple dorm room in a hall with a communal bathroom):
1. You WILL get sick
Between the change in atmosphere and lifestyle and the old dorm rooms (which sometimes have mold), you are bound to get sick A LOT. Take vitamin C everyday, I promise it will help – especially if you have a poor immune system to begin with. Remember that mom isn’t going to be there to make you chicken noodle soup every time you get sick.
2. Get a vacuum!!!
Your room gets dirty without you even realizing it. On top of the fact that the dorm rooms are already not very clean, walking in from the outside brings sand/dirt no matter what shoes you wear. Also, girls shed unbelievable amounts of hair. Before you know it, there will be piles of dust under your bed and lots of hair flying around. You will be living in a literal dust ball. Welcome to the college dorm life!
3. Wear flip flops in the shower
If you are going to live in a dorm hall with a communal bathroom, this is a MUST. There is no doubt that you will get fungus or some other kind of disease if you step into the shower barefoot. Girls tend to leave blood or piles of hair and guys leave semen (yes, apparently that is a thing) either way, it’s disgusting.
4. Communicate with your roommates
Communicating with your roommates is key to keeping a good college dorm life. Let each other know what your lifestyle is like and what you expect from each other BEFORE you actually move in. It’s good to know when your roommate(s) have class and when they don’t (that way you guys can wake each other up in the morning because there will be plenty of days where you sleep through your alarm). Plus, you’ll know when you’ll have time to yourself in the room to do whatever you need to do or just be alone. If you are not used to living with another person(s) in the same room (not the same house!), you’re going to want/need a lot of alone time…usually to cry about how much of a mess your life is.
5. Dorms are loud
Even through the cinder block walls, you hear pretty much everything; slamming doors, music playing in your neighbors’ room, and even the girls walking in heels on the floor above you.
6. Get a mini fridge
Whether you have a meal plan or not, a mini fridge is crucial!!! If you don’t have a meal plan, you definitely need one with a freezer because frozen food will become your life. If you have a school or sorority/fraternity meal plan, it is still important to keep snacks for midnight cravings.
7. Keep low expectations
Dorm rooms are very small with very little storage space. Whatever luxury you are used to at home, get rid of that mindset asap. Most of your belongings will end up in boxes in your closet or under your bed or desk.
8. Closet size
Speaking of small storage space… a part of college dorm life is leaving at least half or more of your clothes at home because it will not fit. You will also be surprised at the amount of things you can shove into small spaces. P.S. this is a picture of a real dorm closet.
9. Buy a mattress topper
This is definitely a necessity. The beds that college provides for you are horrible on their own – they are literally a stuffed sleeping bag. Sleeping on the bare mattress is almost guaranteed to give you back problems. This is where you’re going to sleep everyday, make it comfortable!! At the same time, it is going to make it very difficult to wake up in the mornings – everything has its pros and cons. 🤷🏼♀️
10. Your parents will not be there
This is the most important one. No matter how independent you were at home, living in a dorm teaches you a lot about growing up and being on your own. If you have never done your own laundry or made your own bed before, I suggest starting now. Nobody is there to do that for you. Also, nobody is there to tell you when you need to wash your sheets and towels, or when to take out the trash…except maybe your roommates. When you run out of razors or laundry detergent, you have to go buy some, not mom. Your dorm room is your new home and it is your responsibility to take care of it the way that you know mom/dad would.
Mom/Dad: prepare for lots of phone calls that include questions such as, how many Tide pods should I use for one load? Or, I know I said I wouldn’t eat on my bed because my sheets are white, but I did it anyways… so what do I do now?