Getting Settled In a Dorm Room
It's Not All About the Furniture...
For many college students, dorming is a first step toward living away
from home. Mom and dad are not there to supply meals, clean laundry, supervision or mediate disagreements with the people sharing the
same living space.
It's a welcome challenge for most new college students, but it isn't
always an easy transition.
These tips can help you get off on the right foot with roomies and make
sharing dorm space a lot more pleasant...
Find out about the options for dorming at your school before you get
there. Some dorms are smoke free or focus on a vegetarian diet while others are more relaxed with mixing different lifestyles. If you have an choice between several residences, find out which one will be the best match for you.
Ask about what is allowed in the dorm. Don't arrive with a whole dorm room kitchen ensemble only to find out that fire regulations
prohibit cooking in your dorm.
Find out who your dorm mates will be and get in touch before you start
school. Many new students try to get to know their roommates early enough to coordinate who will bring the TV and the room 'fridge. Getting to know the person, or people, who will be sharing your living space makes moving in together a bit easier. Find out what kind of music they like and what they do for fun. If the match is perfect thank your lucky stars.
If it seems that you've been paired with someone who you'll find it impossible
to live with you have time to contact the college and explain why you need to find another roommate. Some good reasons for asking to be switched might be getting paired with a smoker if you don't smoke or getting matched with someone who has strong objections to your values or lifestyle choices.
Define responsibilities. Many dorms are in an apartment setting and that means you'll have a shared bathroom and kitchen... read that as a bathtub and dishes to clean. Unless who does what gets set up in the beginning it can lead to a very rough semester of arguing about the mess and who's not doing their fair share of cleaning. Even if you just share a room together, dirty laundry piled on every flat surface may be something you or your dorm mate find unacceptable.
Draw boundaries. The college may have put you with someone from a family where everyone wears everyone else's clothes. If you don't want to share your favorite blouse or sweater, make that clear from the beginning. If you're planning on getting your own phone, make sure that your roommates know that they can't make long distance calls on your bill. Most experienced dormers will tell you not to get a phone in your room - use your cell phone and keep it close to you.
Find out how far your dorm is from the campus buildings where your classes
will be. The sad fact is that freshmen normally get the least lovable dorms.
Students who have been there longer have already grabbed the best spaces and the incoming freshman get what's left over. Long walks to class or the cafeteria are common. Ask about on campus transportation. Can you bring your own car or does everyone ride a moped or bicycle? Try getting in touch with some people who've been at the school for a while and can give you some information on the layout of the campus and what other students do to get around.
Bring quarters. Vending machines and coin laundries need quarters and there are never enough to go around.
Expect some bumps in the transition to college - including dorming - and be
ready with a sense of humor to laugh about the things you can't fix. You can always look forward to next year when you'll be the experienced one! Have fun and don't forget to study in between dorm parties and all night gab fests.