Dorm life is one of the major changes of going to college. It comes with ups and downs, and you’re bound to experience things that will seem crazy at first, but will become standard after a few short weeks of living in a college dorm.
1. Hall meetings. At the beginning of the year you’ll have an initial hall meeting during which your Resident Adviser (RA) goes over rules and safety regulations for the semester. This initial meeting is pretty boring, but these hall events can get stranger, and also entertaining. As time goes by, your RA will schedule these meetings to solve issues between students. And this is when you grab snacks, get a nice corner spot and enjoy your live local version of The Jerry Springer Show. You’ll finally find out who actually stole Maggie’s care package while everyone finds a way to somehow get involved in the issue.
2. The rooster. You do not know this person yet, but you will, all too well. It is the evil spirit that every dorm is haunted by. I am of course talking about that one girl who’s going to take early morning classes every day, but leave the dorm without turning off her alarm (which will be loud enough for all to hear) in her obviously locked room. To be fair, it is a special skill to annoy all of your neighbors without even being in the building.
3. Communal bathrooms. This is a big source of worry before moving in, and will definitely take some adjusting. There’ll be arguments about hair in the sinks or showers, dirty toilets, vomit and sex. Everyone rapidly realizes that college students, of any gender, are very good at making a mess and running away from it.
4. Babysitters. I mean Resident Advisors. If you’re lucky, your RA will actually care about the job without taking him or herself too seriously. Unfortunately, odds are your RA will just be a glorified camp counselor. You’ll get an idea of how he or she runs things over the first few weeks, but will quickly see that the RA’s level of involvement varies as there is no one really checking up on them.
5. The old folk. Visiting parents are a double-edged sword. On one hand, they can bring food and supplies. There’s nothing like coming back to your room and seeing that your roommate got a care package. On the other hand, your room might not be “parental-proof,” let’s say. If you live with someone who grew up near your college, there’s a chance parents show up every now and then so be aware.
6. A free show. This one is actually rather comical. The one day you decide that you finally know your hall mates well enough to walk around in your underwear singing Bad Blood, is the one day a campus tour goes through your hall with 30 high school students and their parents.
7. Cardboard walls. It is not a myth, walls in college dorms are freakishly thin and you can hear what’s happening on the other side way too well. While sex noises might make you laugh for the first night, they will become like white noise you might not even be able to sleep without after moving out.
8. Laundry Thieves. There’s a good chance your building’s laundry room will have two washers and dryers for some 50 people or so. This horrendous ratio means that not only is laundry a pain, but it is also a privilege. Doing laundry will somehow turn from a one-hour process that you can complete in between commercial breaks, to the reason you stay in for the rest of the night and miss Margarita Thursday. And if you’re not on time to switch loads, good luck picking the floor dust off your damp underwear.
8. Party returners. If you’re lucky, people returning from parties will be somewhat behaved and civilized. But because everyone in freshmen dorms are testing their alcohol tolerance, the opposite will happen more often than not. You’ll learn to be okay with five of your neighbors having a food fight in the lounge at 3am while two others are vomiting in the bathroom – which brings me to number nine.
9. Cleaning crews. Chances are facilities workers are nice and quiet people. But don’t overestimate their good-will, they will have no problem refusing to clean part of the hall if it’s unreasonably dirty, and I can’t blame them. Stay out of the doghouse because you’ll regret being able to see how much damage you and your hall can do when it hasn’t been cleaned in two days.
10. The stranded. The same way every hall has a rooster, every dorm has a stranded individual. This person cannot go more than a week without getting locked out of their room. It will become so routine that you’ll start worrying when you don’t see them shivering in his cold towel while waiting 45 minutes for campus police to let him back in the room.
Dorm life as a whole is an unforgettable experience. Despite the weird things you’ll encounter, they will all remain as essential memories of your first year in college. Tell us your crazy dorm experiences!
Alexandra Smith is majoring in Psychology, with a minor in Creative Writing. In her free time, she enjoys running, hanging out with family friends, and roaming the world with her camera in hand.