Back to School: Dorm Room Do’s and Don’ts

Hey everyone, welcome back to my blog! I know a lot of college students are beginning to move back into the dorms, and I thought that since I learned quite a bit from living on campus for all four years of undergrad, I’d give you guys some tips and tricks for living in a standard sized dorm room. Check out the post under the break!

1.Don’t Pack Away Your Entire Life

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Yes, that my friends is freshman year Jen moving into her first dorm room. Bask in all my awkward fedora glory. Moving aside from that embarrassing picture, don’t make the mistake I made pretty much every year I was in college; don’t bring your entire life with you to the dorms. I promise you that most of your keepsakes are never going to be looked at throughout the year. When I moved into my first dorm, I brought along most of my books, including the entire Harry Potter series. I never read any of them because I was too busy reading my schoolbooks. Just because some of your things are at your parents house does not mean you will never see them again, if you won’t use it on a regular basis don’t haul it into a small dorm room that you’re sharing with one or two roommates.

2. Do Make an active effort to be on good terms with your roommate(s)!

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Another story time from my freshman year: I did not ever get to know my roommate. I didn’t even know her last name, let alone have her phone number to let her know that she had locked me out of the room (which happened more frequently than I’d like to remember). We didn’t speak and did our own thing, which led to awkward days when we’d both be getting ready for class in dead silence. This is definitely one of the many reasons I was miserable during my freshman year, I couldn’t feel comfortable in my own room, let alone on a huge campus all by myself. You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate, but at least know a bit about them and be able to hold a conversation. And if there’s one thing you need to have it’s their number in case you ever lock yourself out, because that’s not a fun feeling!

3. Don’t let mess overrule your dorm!

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Now that you’re an 18 year old free to do as you please in your space, typically the mess begins to pile up as you bask in your freedom. Maybe you’ve had strict parents and want to leave your clothes on the floor if you damn well please, or maybe you’re just busy with all your classes and have to leave your textbooks everywhere. Either way, make a conscious effort to tidy up after yourself. A clean and organized room leads to a more organized life and mind, and you’ll be so much more productive during midterms if you don’t have to procrastinate homework by cleaning up your messes. Also, if your college does room checks you can and will be cited for messes that are fire hazards, so just keep that in mind!

4. Do get involved in your dorm events!

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If you are living in a residence hall, more than likely there will be many activities put on by your hall and RAs throughout the year. I know that as a hip, cool freshman it may seem lame to tie-dye shirts behind your building, but trust me, there’s plenty of benefits to being friendly in your building. First, you get to know the staff of the building, which can help you out if you need help or advice. Also, if you want to get involved in Residence Life staff in the future you can find out about the process and get some good tips for interviewing. Secondly, you can meet some of the greatest people. My junior year I got involved in my hall government, which made me some of the best friends of my life, and I met my boyfriend (who lived in my building) through that as well. Take the time to go to a hall event and start a conversation with someone, it could change your life!

5. Don’t forget about the outside world!

Living in the dorms can make college seem like a fishbowl, almost as if campus is contained and small. Don’t get caught up in the fishbowl mindset, make an effort to take a walk off campus and get to know the surrounding area. Volunteer off campus, take a hike or walk on a trail, or just grab a coffee at a local coffee shop. Leaving campus and wandering through town really helps clear your head and keep you grounded!

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There you have it, my top five tips for living on-campus during your undergrad. Let me know in the comments below what tips you have for dorm life, and see you next time!

-xoxo Jen P.

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