The thought of college elicits no response stronger than that of the dorms, and for incoming college students that response can be a fear of uncertainty.
The inevitable questions will line up with roommates, space, cleanliness, bathrooms and other floor mates. However, in reality, don’t stress yourself out about the dorms. You could be worrying about what could potentially be the best year of your life.
We will have another article dedicated solely to roommates.
You will be able to view your dorm’s size before college. Your college’s website should list every dorm room’s amenities and size. Most of the dorms are about 13x13 feet; however some can be much larger. Your dorm room is likely to be about the same size of your own bedroom at home. Imagine fitting two beds and two desks into that room. It is small; however, there are many ways to maximize space.
Some roommates find it beneficial to either loft or bunk their beds. Your college will offer both options. If you decide to bunk your beds, ask your roommate if he/she has a history of wetting the bed. Buy a lie detector test before accepting a stoic “no” if necessary. You do not want to be on the bottom bunk of an embarrassed liar. This will give you more room; however, if your roommate crawls up into bed later than you do, then he/she might wake you up.
Many students loft their beds, which opens up a lot of dorm room space because students can then put their desks or a couch under their beds. However, you will hit your head on the ceiling at least once. This would be perfect for you if you already sleep wearing your bicycle helmet. There is a respectable chance you may fall out of your loft or top bunk as well. That is the hard way to find out how much vertical space you have in your dorm. Also, lofting your beds will keep people off it. When friends come into your room, they will not sit on your bed.
Leaving your beds on the ground will be the simplest solution; however, it will take up more space. However, when you are not sleeping your bed can serve as a couch for watching television or playing video games. You and your roommate should decide what you are going to do within the first week of school, and if there are problems, simply change it. Lofting or bunking your beds is not as hard as it seems, and it only takes a couple hours.
These two options can free up space in your room; however, they will make sleeping more difficult. But, you may not need that much dorm space. You will simply sleep, study and sometimes relax in your dorm room. Your dorm should have a lounge where you can watch television, play board games or just hang out. The lounge will be fairly large, especially compared to your dorm. Also, there will likely be coffee shops on or near campus, and your college should have a recreational center. Also, the library will be the best place to study. These all give students options to get out of the cramped dorm rooms. Your small dorm will give you a reason to get out and enjoy college, and you will likely thank it for that.
Your dorm will be as clean as you want it to be. If you are interested in calculating how much human skin is actually in dust, your dorm might make a good laboratory for your project. However, if you come from a clean house, and you want your dorm to be an advertisement for Mr. Clean, then invest in a vacuum and dust often.
On the positive side, you have no obligation to clean your room, as long as your roommate is all right with a messy room. You should try to clean as much as your roommate does. If you see him/her taking out the trash, then you should next time it’s full. The only times you will need to clean the dorm room is before breaks, and when you are moving out.
Bathrooms could be interesting in your dorm. Some dorm rooms come with their own bathrooms/shower/sink. If that is the case, then this is one less concern. However, it is one more thing that you have to clean.
If your dorm room does not have bathrooms, then you will need to utilize community bathrooms. You will be sharing one or two bathrooms with 15-50 people. There will be anywhere from three to seven showers. The bathrooms can be plain awful to decent, depending on how old your dorm building is and how often the university reconstructs them.
Problems can occur in the bathrooms, ranging anywhere from having to wait for a shower, to members of the opposite sex confusing which bathroom belongs to which sex, to overflowing trash. However, there should be cleaning people who take care of the bathrooms, but keep in mind that they will not be using the bathrooms; so they might not clean them thoroughly. Also, your bathrooms won’t have the extra soft, yet durable Charmin toilet paper, and it might feel closer to tree bark than actual toilet paper. There may even be fungus or mold in your showers; so make sure you wear shower shoes every time. Some people may even tell you that you will actually feel dirtier after your showers from just being in the shower. However, that is not true as long as you wear your shower shoes.
The bathrooms are likely to be mildly disgusting consistently throughout the year. The best way to combat the bathrooms is by wearing something on your feet in there at all times, and never resting your toothbrush on any sink or counter.
Your other floor mates will be what you make out of them. Your future best man could be the guy who lives next door to you in your freshman dorm. If you opt to lock yourself in your dorm room, then you might hate the people you live around. If you meet them and give them a chance, then they could become your best friends. The people who live in your dorm are going to make or break your freshman year. They could make it the best year of your life or an absolute prison. The choice is mostly yours.
You are not going to like everyone around you, but you’re likely to become great friends with a lot of them. Essentially, you could wake up everyday with 15 of your best friends and the whole day ahead of you. Consider waking up every Saturday morning with this on the table. But, you will pass on all of this if you lock yourself in your dorm the first week of school. Our strongest recommendation is that you introduce yourself to everyone around you on the first day.
The experience of living in a college dorm is the citadel of college life on campus. Your dorm will be small and the bathrooms will be gross, but if you make the most of your situation, then your floor mates can make up for all of that. It seems horrible, living in a small cramped place with someone you don’t know, using a bathroom that makes you want to shower in a bubble suit because it’s that disgusting. However, if you can put those thoughts aside, then you could be on your way to the best year of your life.