Dorm life isn’t all glamorous, but with a few simple tips, it can be the best time of your life. This guide will let you in on all the tips and tricks to know before you step foot in your dorm room at the University of Missouri (or any college). Whether it be how to save money, save time, or meet new friends, this list is a must read before heading off to college, AND I’ve linked all of my favorite finds!
1. Find your roommate on Facebook.
Each year on Facebook you can join your Mizzou class page where incoming students post short bios in hopes of finding a roommate. I encourage everyone going to Mizzou, whether you know people headed to Columbia or not, to post on the Mizzou class page and message other students. Finding a “random” roommate this way ensures you the ability to find out his/her interests, background, and friends as well as plan your new room together in advance!
2. Join a FIG.
Don’t get me wrong, a “Freshman Interest Group” sounds quite lame, but don’t sell it short. FIG’s were formed to allow students to take courses with other students who live in the same corridors. When you join a FIG, you’re giving yourself 15-20 free friends in each class. You will also enroll in a one-credit FIG class with these students based on the title of your FIG, and it’s normally taught by your R.A. (although they like to be called P.A. for “Peer Advisor”) which gives you the opportunity to befriend said R.A.
3. Choose the right place to live.
Mizzou now separates their residence halls into four different neighborhoods, each veered to a different set of colleges (although ultimately your choice of school should not sway you from living where you want to be on campus). College Crossing consists of Hudson, Gillet, Gateway, College Avenue, and Hatch. College Crossing is the most convenient for food- Baja, Rollins, Sabai, Plaza 900, and Emporium are close- but the least convenient to get to Greek Town. Southwest Village holds two of the newest halls, Bluford and Brooks, as well as suite-style South, Center, and North Hall. Southwest village is near the dining hall Southwest, Starbucks, Southwest Mizzou Market, the stadium and athletic complex, and Greek Town. Truman central has Johnston, Wolpers, Hawthorn, Galena, Dogwood, and Defoe-Graham. Arguably the best located residence halls on campus, staying at one of these central dorms will give you a short walk to the Rec, Stankowski Field, and the restaurant Sabai. Lastly, Honors College is dedicated to students enrolled in, you guessed it, the Honors College. The only dorm in this “neighborhood” is Mark Twain. The only thing nearby Mark Twain is the dining hall with the same name.
4. Purchase a futon.
This is one of the things that is often talked about early between roommates, “Should we get a futon?”. The answer is yes. Purchase bed risers to make it fit in your room if you have to! Having a futon will ensure that your room is the social hangout, allow you to sleep overnight guests, and work as another place to keep storage underneath.
5. Have a bedside caddy.
Living at home, you never think of the importance of your nightstand. At college, you will want an area to put your phone, headphones, glasses, tissues, fan (bring a fan to college), chapstick, etc. without having to get out of bed. If you design your room isolating your bed from a tabletop, some options could be a bedside caddy bag, tray or a basket to hang from the side of your bed.
6. Get the smallest meal plan.
Although most would rather have too much of something rather than not enough, especially of food, if you eat 2-3 meals a day at Mizzou the smallest meal plan will work for you. There is no refund for unused swipes (the currency at Mizzou dining locations) at the end of the semester, so it’s smarter to just purchase extra if you run out on the smallest plan. Both of my freshman semesters on the smallest plan left me with extra, unused swipes.
7. Utilize your desk.
There’s not much space in a dorm room, so organization is key to utilizing the area you have and not losing track of any of your things. Your desk should be an easy place to study, a vanity, and a place for storage. Purchase a small makeup mirror and plastic makeup organizer to keep at one corner for convenience. Any cheap organizers will be useful, whether it be a classic desk supplies caddy or stacking shelves to keep your desk space open.
8. Bring clothes you will actually need.
In Columbia, Missouri we get some crazy weather. Some essentials you will want to have are a rain jacket, rain boots, and heavy coat. Do not pack every nice blouse you own, because you will not wear them. I suggest you bring T-Shirts and tanks (although sorority girls will be getting loads of these throughout the year), going out tops, hoodies, athletic shorts, leggings, tennis shoes, your favorite swimsuit, sunglasses, a couple hats, a good sandal/slip on, a pair of sneakers you don’t mind to get dirty, and a pair of booties. P.S. the best hangers to utilize space and keep your clothes hung are velvet. Another great thing I wish I would have thought about was themed clothing and accessories. If you happen to have a hula skirt, bring it! Whether you think you will need lime green leggings or not, bringing them could save the girl down the hall who’s getting ready for her 80’s workout themed date dash!
9. Get involved on campus.
The University’s of Missouri’s campus is very big, so if you only get to know your next-door neighbors you’re cutting off thousands of potential friends! Mizzou is known for having a large Greek community, and you can join it by going through sorority or fraternity recruitment. As a girl, joining a sorority can give you 80+ automatic friends your age before you even begin classes and throughout the year introduce you to hundreds of other Greek individuals through philanthropy events, socials, and date parties. If you’d rather skip fraternity and sorority life there are also over 500 different student organizations in which you can join.
10. Get to know your community.
Meeting those who not only live in your residence hall, but the residence halls beside you can give you study partners, someone to walk to class with, or at the least people to split a large Gumby’s pizza with at 2 am. Having friends in my neighborhood meant coming home from a night out to find a study lounge full of my favorite people. When moving into South Hall, I felt very alone, but by move out day I was saying goodbye to my best friends who I was now used to being just a few footsteps away. Living in the dorms is what you make it out to be! Live it up!