Things to Know About Living in a College Dorm

The following is a guest post written by Alexa Styliadis of NextStepU.

Your roommate might not be your best friend

A common misconception people have about living in dorms their freshman year is that their roommate has to be their best friend. Would this be nice? Sure it would! Does it always happen? No. Although you may have talked to them for hours about how excited you both were about rooming together, sometimes things just do not work out. Living in a tiny space with a stranger can be challenging, but as long as the two of you remain friendly, that’s okay! You will meet plenty of other people on campus who you will become close with.

[RELATED: How to Choose Your First College Roommate]

Expect noise

The walls between college dorms are not soundproof. You are going to be living with dozens of fellow freshmen who are trying to adjust just as much as you are. This does not mean that you are going to hear loud music and talking all hours of the night, but you should be prepared to hear some noise. A tip to drown out the noise you hear is to invest in a pair of earplugs and good headphones.

Privacy may be hard to come by

All incoming freshmen should realize that “alone time” doesn’t happen much in college. Not only are you are going to share a room with a roommate, but you’re also going to be sharing a bathroom area, the dining hall, the library, and almost every other place on campus. Living in a college dorm, you’re going to have to adjust to a communal style of living. On the upside however, you’re always going to have friends around you! It’s going to be extremely fun living with friends you’ve met and being able to see them all over campus.

Sharing a bathroom

This can be one of the most challenging things to adjust to when you live in a college dorm. You no longer have a bathroom to yourself; you now have to share one with multiple people. It’s important to bring the right necessities with you. When you have to walk back and forth from your dorm room to the shower, you’re going to want to have something to hold your shampoo, conditioner, and soap. A shower caddy is going to come in handy so you don’t have to carry all of your shower materials in your hands. Also, invest in a good pair of flip-flops. Showering with flip-flops on might sound strange at first, but trust us, you will be grateful.

Know how to do your laundry ahead of time

For some people, washing your own clothes may be a new experience. There’s nothing worse than sticking your favorite white shirt in the washing machine and having it come out pink. Before you leave for college, have someone show you how to properly wash your clothes—which wash cycle to use, what clothes to separate, which clothes you can dry; these are all things you need to know.

Don’t bring too much stuff

You might think that you need to bring every possible item you can think of, but the reality is, you just don’t have that much space in a college dorm. Bring the necessities with you: clothes, shoes, storage boxes, food, school supplies, bathroom supplies, and a few personal items. It might be tempting to bring the trophies you won at a sports competition in high school, but these should be left at home. Also, the standard college dorm room comes with a bed and a dresser; don’t bring large furniture with you because you likely will not be able to use it.

[RELATED: Anatomy of a College Dorm Room]

Prepare for all different kinds of personalities

College is one of the best places to meet new people! With new people, however, comes new personalities. It is inevitable that you are going to clash with some people, and that’s okay. It’s important to keep in mind that everyone is learning how to adjust to living away from home at the same time. This stress can be hard for some people to handle, and it can change the most mild-tempered person into someone who’s on edge. Be kind to everyone and know that you will find people you connect with.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.