Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Winterbreak Hero
Winterbreak Hero
Neula Ha/ Her Campus Media
Life > Experiences

My Experience In The Dorms

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at CU Boulder chapter.

When people reminisce about their freshman year experience, they typically remember their friends, the parties, their roommates, and the dorm experience. I will remember this year as a year of growth and experience. I learned a lot about myself and others throughout my freshman year – particularly through the dorms.

I wouldn’t say that my dorm experience is the best, but it certainly isn’t the worst. I got lucky in my room type selection because I am in a triple with a bathroom attached, so no communal bathrooms! While that aspect is amazing and I wouldn’t trade it for anything, I am just not happy in my dorm. I can rarely spend time in there to wind down or to relax alone unless I am sleeping or showering. I am not the type of person who can consistently be out and about around campus or out on the town all day every day. I need some solitude and relaxation built into my day to re energize myself and charge my social battery. I’ve had to readjust my lifestyle to fit my circumstances.

At the University of Colorado Boulder (and most universities) you can take a personal lifestyle survey to see who you best match with according to your dorm and room type. My sister and most of my friends chose that process to get their roommates. However, I could not pick my roommates because I had such a limited room type. I got my roommate assignment around mid-July or early August and I talked to them before moving in. We could all get along okay. But, I think we all came in with different expectations around how each of our living situations would be. I expected to possibly be friends with them, but that wasn’t necessary to me. One of my roommates didn’t expect us to really be friends and my other roommate expected us all to be really close friends. It was not the best idea to go in without discussing important and hard topics to get to know each other on a deeper level because based on the surface-level conversations, none of us really had anything in common.

For the first few months of the first semester, none of us were very close to one another. I got along with my roommates pretty well – I could coexist but also have fun conversations with both of them. We were all fine with each other. In October, we had a miscommunication and while one of my roommates and I handled it maturely, the room dynamic was forever changed. I began getting anxious about returning to my room to engage in fake and stressful conversations. My room turned into a hostile environment that no one really wanted to engage in. The loaded silences and curt responses began to be unbearable to handle for me and one of my roommates, so we decided to talk about it openly with all three of us. The conversation was mature and I felt as though we reached a solution, but we hadn’t.

My room dynamic continued to be uncomfortable and taxing for all of us. Throughout it all, I got really close with one of my roommates. But, we couldn’t act like friends when all three of us were in the room. We catered to the expectation that either all of us would be friends or none of us. We continued to grin and bear the hostility until winter break and then I thought the month-long break would be the reset we needed to get back to a comfortable place to be. The break made no difference. At the end of January, one of my roommates that I was very close to moved out. She couldn’t do it anymore and I don’t blame her. I miss living with her everyday. 

While my roommate experience didn’t turn out the way I planned or wanted, there are aspects of dorm life that I do enjoy. I enjoy living on-campus because I am in the center of campus life. I live right next to the CU Rec Center, so in the mornings I can just wake up and walk two minutes to get a morning workout in. I love being able to be out super late at night on campus and I can just walk back to my dorm in ten minutes or less. I loved being able to decorate my portions of the room however I wanted with a blank state and vision from my room back at home. I don’t regret meeting the people on my floor either, because while I don’t remain friends with them, I had fun with them in the beginning of the year when I craved community. I love that I live right next to the market within my building so if I ever forget something or need anything, I can just walk down two steps and get it. I loved creating a bubble with my own personal touch to it. The shopping process was exciting for me and I dedicated so many Pinterest boards to it. It’s an exciting new phase of life and I do think the experience is so worth it. 

The dorm experience makes or breaks friendships. Some people meet their lifelong best friend from sharing a dorm and the traditional freshman experience and some never get along with their roommate and count down the days until they can move out. I met one of my closest friends during this process of trial and error, so for that I will forever be grateful. I bear no negative feelings toward my experience because I have learned a lot about myself and others throughout this experience. 

Dorm life is certainly an experience which I believe every freshman should undertake because if nothing else, it’s an opportunity for learning. You learn how you live with other people, you learn what schedule works best for you, you learn effective communication and how important it is, you learn more about how to be a good friend, sibling, or roommate, and you learn independence in a controlled form. The way I like to look at the dorm experience is that at best, you’ll make so many good memories and lifelong relationships – but at worst, you will always have a story, and no one can take that away from you.

Lachlan is a new member of the Her Campus Chapter at CU Boulder this 23-24 academic school year. Along with being a new writer, she is also on the social team, working with a team of fellow writers to create posts for the HCCU Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and VSCO. Lachlan is a first-year student at CU Boulder majoring in Psychology with a minor in Business. In HCCU, she hopes to find a new passion and to expand her creativity. She's very passionate about anything food/coffee related, feminism, discussing social media, and mental health. Outside of writing and school, she loves to cook, read romance books, listen to new music, stalk her Spotify Daylist, and explore new restaurants and coffee shops. You can usually find her either watching the same 3 rom-coms on rotation or scrolling through Pinterest.