Not sure what to expect from dorm life? You aren’t alone.
Living in dorms could play a role in your college life. But it can be a shock to the system when you’re leaving the nest for the first time. Luckily, a few basic survival tips can carry you through the rough spots, leaving you to enjoy your college years.
That’s why we’ve put together these 10 tips for surviving dorm life in college.
Make It Yours
A dorm room is a cardboard box disguised as a bedroom. When you first move in, you won’t have any of your familiar comforts.
Be quick to make it your own. Put up posters, photographs, and get out your favorite stuffed animals. If anyone judges your taste in decor, remember they’re just trying to cover their own panic.
Making your dorm a home can help reduce feelings of homesickness. It will also ease your stress levels when things kick into high gear.
Warm Your Dorm
Made some friends? Invite them to your room for a dorm-warming.
This is another great way to transform your dorm into a temporary home. Making friends and showing them around will make you all feel more at ease.
Try to include your dorm mate in the proceedings. At the very least, make sure you won’t disturb them.
Figure Out the Housekeeping
If you’re lucky, your dorm mates will have done chores at the family home. If you’re not, you may have to teach some new habits.
Either way, it’s important to get the housekeeping stuff down early. Figure out a cleaning schedule and stick to it religiously. And don’t be afraid to speak up if things are getting out of hand.
If this goes right, you’ll cut out one of the biggest causes of stress and drama in dorm life, which is a win for everyone.
Scope the Town
Once you’re settled in your dorm, it’s time to hit the town.
Check it out early so you can find the best nearby stores, coffee shops, libraries, and parks. These will all make your student life easier help you avoid cabin fever in your dorm.
It’s also a great opportunity to expand your horizons. There’s a good chance you’ve never lived in another city, so immerse yourself in the culture of somewhere new and learn a little about your town.
If you’re planning to work while you study, this is also a great chance to scope out some potential employment opportunities.
Guard Your Stuff
Sharing is caring, but get used to guarding anything you don’t want to share like Benedict Cumberbatch sits on his dwarven trinkets.
Dorm mates don’t always have the best sense of ownership. The idea that you have to give permission to use your stuff might be a basic societal law you have to introduce. Be very clear about what you’re willing to share – and do what you can to protect the rest.
Communal dorms can do unspeakable things to your bathroom products, so keep them out of harm’s way if you don’t want to find stray hairs in your soap.
Get Used To Noise – Or Wear Earplugs
College students are loud. And frequently drunk.
Getting used to this truth will prepare you for the marching elephants stomping down the hall – and many other horrors.
If you’re a light sleeper, get some earplugs. Or listen to music (on headphones) to drown out the noise.
And do your bit to avoid contributing to the hubbub. Spare a thought for the poor souls already in their beds when your squad rolls in.
Find Your Zen Zone
College dorm life can be a little like living in the laxest prison ever. Technically you’re free to leave any time, but most days you’ll see the same faces and the same locations.
This is why it’s important to get out into the town. Find a place that no one else goes. Make it your zen zone and use it to hide out when you’re done with dorm life.
You won’t always feel social, and the stress of college is enough to make anyone want the occasional time out. Find your secret space and retreat there whenever you feel like it. It’ll save you freaking out and attempting to drive across multiple states to get home.
Don’t Burn Bridges
It’s great fodder for a TV drama, but avoid starting fights and spreading rumors in the real world. At least until you really find out who deserves it, anyway.
Burning your bridges early won’t make you friends, it’ll just mark you out as a drama queen to avoid. Try to approach every situation with understanding.
Oh, and never say something about someone if you wouldn’t want it repeated to their face – unless you’re very sure you trust the person you’re talking to.
Stock the Pantry
Okay, you probably won’t have a pantry, but keeping a good store of food is vital to maintaining your mood and your health.
The cafeteria won’t always be open, and you’re still young enough to have weird eating habits. Sometimes only six bags of pretzels will carry you through your studies.
Keep food on hand for these emergency situations. Buy in bulk so you’re not tempted to purchase expensive on-campus snacks. And always discuss with your dorm mate whether it’s open season on your snack drawer.
Ask Questions and Have Fun!
It’s not all paranoia and survival tactics, though. Most students in freshman dorms will be just as out of their depth as you are. So make friends, ask questions, and laugh about the things you’ve all been too embarrassed to admit.
Making friends with an older student is also a quick route to becoming the most prepared student in the dorm. They’ll let you in on all the dorm hacks they’ve learned over the years.
Living the Dorm Life
With these tips in mind, you won’t just survive the dorm life, you’ll live it. College dorms are a great place to spread your wings, make new friends, and create memories that will last you a lifetime. So relax, and enjoy the ride.
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