Dorm Considerations to Look into Your First Year By Eileen O'Shanassy

Living in the dorms can be fun and exciting as a freshman, but it can also be unfamiliar and scary. For many students, this is the first time they have ever been away from home for an extended period of time and the first experience making their way on their own. Here are a few tips that will help you adjust to living in the dorms and on your own for the first time.

Be Considerate

When you live in a dorm, you are often sharing living space and bathrooms with many other students. A little consideration goes a long way. Instead of hogging the mirrors in the bathroom, buy a door mirror you can mount on the back of your bedroom door. This way you won’t feel rushed in the morning and your dorm mates will not feel like you are selfishly taking up more than your fair share of space.

Common sense and common courtesy should also apply to talking on the phone, playing loud music, or using a lot of electronic devices. Because most dorms share a single grid, using more than one electronic device at the same time (like a blow dryer, radio, TV, and flat iron) can blow out the power for the entire floor or building.

Respect Common Areas

An important part of showing respect for your fellow students and dorm mates is respecting common areas. Be sure to clean up after yourself when using group spaces like kitchens and restrooms. Purchase a few cleaning necessities like a dish brush and multipurpose cleaning spray and if possible, split these items with your dorm mates and use a chore chart to clean together throughout the week. According to a national cleaning company, the most basic and necessary cleaners you’ll need are usually ammonia, bleach, and some sort of soft soap.

Label Everything

Even if you are doing your best to keep track of all your personal belongings, things can still get misplaced. That’s why it’s important to label everything. Use fabric markers to put your initials on the inside tags of your clothes and permanent markers for labeling larger items like storage bins and dishes.

Make friends with the RA

If you are considerate, respectful of common areas, and diligent about labeling all your belongings, you should enjoy living in the dorms. But if you want to get the most out of dorm life, be sure to make friends with your Resident Advisor. RA’s always know what’s happening on campus, from the events that offer free food to the professors that are always hard on students. Your RA is there to make sure you enjoy dorm life, so don’t be afraid to reach out to them anytime you need advice.

Living in the dorms your first year in college is a great experience for many students and a great way to get your feet wet with living on your own. Use these tips to make this a great experience the first time around.

Eileen O’Shanassy is a freelance writer and blogger based out of Flagstaff, AZ. She writes on a variety of topics and loves to research and write. She enjoys baking, biking, and kayaking. Check out her Twitter @eileenoshanassy.