Learning How to Live in the Dorms Again Sophomore Year

Welcome back to school everyone! I am starting my sophomore year at the University of Iowa and living in the dorms again. This year I took it upon myself to get into the newest, and one of the closest dorms on campus. You guessed it, it is Catlett. It is way different than my dorm from last year a.k.a Slater Hall on the west side. Yes, it does have similarities like 12 floors and co-ed dorms (which means pod bathrooms). But, other than that they could not be more different.

Choosing to live in the dorms again was not something I was expecting to do. The plan was to get an apartment or a house with some of my closest friends and live out the rest of my college life as an independent student who cooks, cleans, and has her own bathroom. But, as the semesters went on I realized that I was maybe not ready to be on my own completely yet. I felt like I needed time to make new friends and experience a different outlook on dorms than my first time around. As I am entering week 5 of living in the dorms and let me say it is nothing like last year, but I wasn't expecting it to be. My floor is completely different because I don’t know as many people on this floor, my best friends live in apartments, and I don’t eat at the dining hall when I know I should be using my meal plan more.

 Here are some things I knew going into my second year of dorm living: 

  1. ALWAYS check the bathrooms before entering and make sure to wear shoes! I have seen too many freshmen decide not to wear shoes already. 

  2. If you can, walk to class! Walking is better than standing on a bumpy cambus ride.

  3. Meet people on your floor, because they can turn out to be your life long friends.

  4. Use your flex meal swipes! They come in handy when you are in a pinch.

  5. Don’t always eat at the same dining hall, because you will get bored really fast of the food.

  6. CLEAN, CLEAN, CLEAN your room at least once a week.

  7. Wear shoes in the bathrooms, please.

  8. Random roommates are sometimes the best roommates.

  9. Get a Britta! Especially during the winter/spring season because you don’t want the snow water that just was melted trust me.

After these five weeks of being a returner student in the residence halls, this is what I learned.

  1. Just because your friends live in apartments, sorority/fraternity houses, or different residence halls doesn’t mean you will never see them again. Yes, you will have to make more plans, but they are still there for you.

  2. Don’t pick a higher up floor (especially in Catlett) the elevators may be slow and there are hundreds of other students living there, so you have to leave early for your classes.

  3. If you live on the east side of campus or closer to the downtown area, yes go out and eat every once and a while. But make sure to use the dining hall more because you are spending way too much money on the dining hall not to eat there.

  4. New roommate? No problem! It will be different from last year, but it’s a way to get to know more people, connect with others you may have never met, and learn more about yourself!

  5. Don’t bring 50 T-shirts, 10 jackets, 15 pairs of jeans, and whatever else you think maybe necessary (trust me if you didn’t wear them at home, you most certainly won’t wear them here).

  6. Make the room your own. Hang up lights, pictures, art, whatever you need just to make the room a comfortable place for you!


Yes, I do miss my dorm from last year and all my friends. But, I love my new dorm now for different reasons. West Side is the still the best side in my heart, but the east side has its perks too! Living in the dorms again will be a new experience, but I am excited and ready for dorm life part 2!

Image Credit: 123