College Advice 101: The Ins and Outs of Dorm Life

Fresh independence, making new friends, and living the best life… all things college freshmen look forward to as they part with high school and enter adulthood. What they don’t always consider are shady roommates, small dorm rooms, communal bathrooms, and hibernating in their dorm for most (let’s get real, the entirety) of the school year.  

But it doesn’t have to be a total freak-out fest! Dorming is one of the most fulfilling and beneficial experiences for a college student, filled with many opportunities to get involved with activities on campus and meeting new people. And hey, I’m a freshman myself, so I’m still learning the ropes and finding my way around! If you’re stressed, anxious, unsure or tip-deprived, fear no more—you’re not alone, and we’ve got your back. Here are the biggest, most important, most frequently-mentioned pieces of girl guidance about living on campus, offered by some pretty experienced ladies of the learning community. 

1. Storage, more storage, and uh, STORAGE

Let’s be honest—dorm rooms are not the ideal size. They’re often cramped, providing little to no space for your belongings. As a freshman myself, I was very unsure as to how much room I would have in my dorm when moving in. So, I made the decision to invest in bins. Let me and every college student living on campus tell you this: bins will be your savior! They will allow you to categorize your things, making it much easier to find what you need and keep your stress levels down. You can find some that are both efficient and stylish—so that way you’re saving yourself space, preventing a major headache, and keeping your room looking its cutest.

2.   Don’t hibernate in your dorm room

None of us can deny days in, cozying up to our laptops with a few blankets, some yummy snacks, and a whole series of TV shows to watch—it’s the true meaning of paradise. At the end of the day, we all need our own independent space to veg out and relax. But when living on campus, give yourself the opportunity to get involved and meet new people! Dorming provides convenience and resource, and it’s totally OK to enjoy your new “home away from home.” Although, don’t let it get in the way of you having the best college experience possible. In other words, let your dorm be a reason why you love college, but not the only reason.

3.   Communication is key

As sensitive and often introverted young adults, we tend to keep our emotions bottled up, our feelings inward, and our thoughts to ourselves. When sharing a living space with someone else (or multiple people), it’s super important to feel comfortable about having a conversation and discussing important matters with them. Nobody is saying you have to become BFFs with your roommate(s), but understand that you have someone to reach out to if you’re stressed, anxious, or even lonely. Also, remember that you’re entitled to speak your mind! If something is bothering you or you disagree with anything that your roommate does, talk to them about it.  They won’t know something is wrong if you don’t tell them! It’s your college experience and if you’re uncomfortable, your dorm will become less of a place you feel safe in. Keep that strong communication between you and your roommate(s) and you’re guaranteed to enjoy your space so much more.

4.    Be open to new experiences

As hard as it may sound, don’t come to college with crazy expectations. Instead, try your very best to keep an open mind, go with the flow, and try new things! Students (and people in general) learn a lot more through new experiences, good or bad. By keeping your mind open and the possibilities endless, you’re giving yourself the chance to make more memories and truly get the most out of what college has to offer! Of course, we all have different standards and lifestyles, which is totally OK, but know that loosening up and being a bit more flexible could really change the way you feel about college, especially living in a dorm.  

5.   Be proactive and organized

Make dorm life easier on yourself by planning ahead, keeping your things organized, and prioritizing. Ladies, college can be stressful, overwhelming, and extremely tiresome—therefore, you want your dorm to be a safe spot for you, a place where there is no chaos, no stress, and no discomfort. You might think it could be difficult to achieve that kind of serenity, but the first step in doing so is to take care of yourself and your needs. By thinking ahead and making structured plans for your life in college, you’ll enjoy your time around campus and in your dorm. Not only will you feel better, but you’ll be able to manage your time easier, be comfortable during the transition into college, and feel in control of your school career. Make those plans and achieve your goals, girl!       

6.   And finally... make the best of it!

We all know not everything can be perfect and that things go wrong all the time, but that doesn’t stop us from living life and enjoying every second! The same principle goes for living on campus. No matter what obstacle you may be facing, however busy your schedule is, how crazy your roommate is, or how scarce your meal plan, know that dorming is an awesome experience and great practice for when you’re living on your own one day. College is meant to build you up and help you out and as long as you remember that, nothing can stand in your path. Once you start embracing your dorm and all the resources it has to offer, you’ll settle in and feel more comfortable. Have fun with it!

And there you have it, the ins and outs of dorm life. We know college is super stressful and it’s nearly impossible to not be anxious. But, at the end of the day, you don’t need to worry so much about how many Command hooks you have, what your computer screensaver is, or how many clothes you can fit into that top dresser drawer. The biggest thing you should worry about in dorm life, is enjoying it. Have fun, cherish it, and don’t let the time pass you by.  Enjoy your year and your new home away from home!