An Honest Discussion about Dorms

At some point or another, almost every UF student has lived in a dorm, and almost every incoming freshman is planning on moving into one as well.  Well, sometimes dorm life isn't as picturesque as the UF Housing websites make it seem.  Here's some aspects of dorm life that aren't really talked about, but probably should be.  

1. The pictures can lie

Before I even got an official acceptance into UF, I knew I wanted to live in the dorms.  I had a dedicated Pinterest board that I updated daily, a closet in my house that I had taken over for dorm essentials, and a growing allowance that I knew I would blow through as soon as Target opened up their infamous Dorm Shop.  Since I am an extreme planner, I had the pictures from the UF Housing website printed out and the dimensions of the room, the closet, and the bed written out; I was more than prepared.  But when I first unlocked my sought-after dorm room, it looked nothing like the pictures.  There was a built-in wardrobe where I expected a desk to be, no dresser, and a huge rod running down the walls that made hanging decorations difficult.  I adjusted my plans and learned to appreciate and personalize the space, but I was disappointed that the one thing I thought I understood about college life wasn't what I thought at all.  In hindsight I should've planned a lot less and just gone with the flow, but I find that “letting go” is something college as a whole as taught me to do, which I am extremely grateful for.

2.  It's basically a year-long summer camp

I feel like you can take one of two sides when it comes to summer camps: you love them or you hate them.  I was always the later; I liked hanging out with my friends and socializing, but at the end of the day I longed to go back to my room and recharge myself for another day of fun.  Living in a dorm means that solitude is a rarity.  Some people on my floor clearly love that aspect, and I'm happy for them, but I am simply not that type of person.  My roommate is super sweet and thoughtful, but the thought of having someone always by you can drive you nuts sometimes.  Going into dorm living, I naively thought that I would suddenly change and become a super out-going people person, but that did not happen, and it might not happen for you.  That's alright though; I love myself even though I love my alone time, but I also love my friends that love being with people all day long.  

3. You'll learn to be less judgmental

Trust me, I know this seems like a joke.  Perhaps you assume that being around people will make you even more critical than you were before.  But the upside of living with a bunch of college freshmen, who are probably the least mature people on campus, is that you'll see it all.  Girls coming back from class with their backpacks but still in their PJs? Yep, I've seen that.  Kids who may or may not have been intoxicated popping dozens of balloons at one in the morning on a Tuesday?  Yea, that happened last week.  Living in a dorm gives you the perfect opportunity to let go of a disapproving state of mind because you're in college now, and there is lots more things that you can judge, like politics and social injustices.  If anything, I have become more willing to help by living in a dorm.  There's always going to be a girl crying in the bathroom over an ex that will need someone to talk to.

No matter how much the college you chose tries to convince you that the dorms are the best way to go, know that there are most likely other alternatives, like apartments.  The type of person you are will influence your dorm experience, but I think everyone can agree that it changes you for good.  

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