College Dorm Tips

Meraal Hakeem, Senior Editor

As the school year comes to a close, the class of 2016 begins to decide which colleges to go to and what they want to do with the rest of their lives. Once those decisions are made, another new experience beckons them closer: college dorm living. College life is an exciting adventure seniors are ready to dive into. However, careful considerations must be made to prepare for living independently and responsibly all while making the most of the college experience. These tips will help incoming college freshman stay organized and adjust to their new lifestyle.

  1. Keep Storage Solutions in Mind- Packing for dorm life can be a challenge. Keep in mind that you have a limited amount of space. You need to be sure to pack any and all essentials. From clothes to extra food to toiletries to a sentimental hometown keepsake, students must be able to make the most out of their limited dorm space. Space beneath beds can be utilized for easy storage. Since many dorms do not allow students to put holes in the walls, hanging shelves are out of the question, but talk to your roommate about bringing a standing bookcase instead. You can both house your extra stuff in it, like toiletries, school supplies and snacks.
  2. Split Responsibilities with Roomies– Adjusting to a completely new lifestyle can be a struggle, but it is important that everyone should learn how to pull their own weight. Some work is better shared and it is crucial to settle on a work schedule where chores are evenly distributed. A schedule will make life simpler and keep you organized while adjusting to a new lifestyle that can be a rather tumultuous vortex of chaos at times.
  3. Find Your “Me” Place- Privacy can be a hard thing to find in dorm situations. Not only will you be living with a roommate, you will also be in close quarters with everyone else in your building. This can turn out to be rather stressful when homesickness strikes or you just need time to think. Finding your own privacy can be difficult to adjust to since you do not have your own room or a corner in a house to relax in. Make sure you have a fallback place that you can turn to whenever you need some “me” time. This can be a nearby café, public library or even a spot in the park. Remember to flush everything and everyone out and focus on yourself. Learn to center in on your personal space since it can be hard to come by.
  4. Get to Know the RA– Your residential advisor (RA) will turn out to be the closest thing to a parental figure during your freshman year. Introduce yourself on move-in day and have a follow up chat later in the week. Putting yourself out there early is a strong way to make an impression. Keep in mind that your RA is a student too, just an upperclassman who strives to look out for you while juggling their own college life. Getting to know your RA will help you get in their good graces, keeping you out of trouble and into the smooth waters of dorm life.
  5. Take Care of Yourself– Remember to take care of yourself and keep on top of your medical and hygienic needs. Bring flip-flops in the shower to keep from developing a bacteria or picking up any chemicals used in cleanup on your feet. A shower caddy (which you can purchase at a your local body store or order online) will also prove to be a valuable addition when you are trekking back and forth from the showers. Keeping your shampoo, conditioners and body washes in one handy unit is a lot easier than attempting to carry them under one arm. Bring a bathrobe with you as well if changing clothes proves to be difficult in shared bathrooms. Taking care of yourself is extremely important. Make sure you get enough rest and exercise, are eating right and doing what makes you happy.