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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at American chapter.

Many college students think of dorming as a part of the college experience. This is where first-year friend groups form and adjusting to college life occurs. Dorms are also where many students develop the skills to live with others when it comes to sharing residential common areas. Nevertheless, this isn’t always the case because students hear of countless roommate horror stories or unpleasant communal bathroom experiences.

When college students move into dorms, they often don’t consider the intricacies of sharing their space with others. Many are occupied with making as many friends as possible and make every minute of their time in college an unforgettable experience. It’s especially the case for students who have never experienced sharing a room before coming to college. This leads to a lack of communication, respect and boundaries between the people living together.  

A big part of the learning experience happens between roommates since the shared space is often the size of a one-car garage. Even though resident assistants create written roommate agreements at the beginning of each school year, this doesn’t take away the responsibility of communication from the students. It is important to choose to room with people one’s emotional intelligence and cleaning habits are compatible with. Students aren’t obliged to become best friends with their roommate; nevertheless, creating a healthy relationship is crucial.

In traditional dorms, students carry the responsibility to respect their floormates and clean their share of it. This can look like cleaning one’s hair from the shower drains, leaving the toilets clean and not leaving any personal hygiene items around. Many college students don’t treat communal bathrooms as a part of their personal space which results in an unsanitary environment. Nevertheless, communal bathrooms are key to making the best out of the dorming experience. Not only does it make it easier for students to go on about their days, but it also creates a sense of responsibility for each student to follow.

Whether one’s dorming with a roommate or living in an apartment with friends, one must create boundaries and communicate with each other. It’s important to address issues with one another and find common ground to make it easier to live as a community. Many problems arise when one isn’t considerate about how they treat common spaces so one must get out of their comfort zone and respect the people they live with. For people who aren’t experienced in sharing their space with others, it can be a challenge to accomplish this at first. However, challenging oneself in college is key. Developing one’s interpersonal skills in these living spaces will prepare one to face real-life challenges after college.

Meliha Ural

American '25

Meliha is a sophomore at American University majoring in legal studies and journalism. She spends her time fighting for social justice issues, reading novels, and exploring her art. Her hobbies also include designing her own clothes and practicing her at-home barista skills.