August has finally come and gone, and along with it, the first week of school. The stress of moving into the dorm has been replaced with the stress of classes. Some of you may be entering (or returning to) college with an idealistic picture of how the year will progress. You have so many fun ideas and expectations for what you will do. However, in order to execute these plans, you must first live in and survive the dorm(s). Here’s how to do it:
Part I: ROOMMATES
Some of you may be accustomed to living with another person, because of family or boarding school experiences, while others of you may not be. However, the possibility still remains that, no matter your background, you and your new living partner may not be quite compatible. If you are suitable roommates, then continue onto Part II. If not, keep reading.
You and your roommate do not need to be the closest of friends, although it will make life much easier. If the relationship is not working, make some adjustments. Talk to them about the habits that bother you, and perhaps offer to make some changes yourself! But if necessary, more drastic measures can be taken. Because you can get checked-in anywhere within the dorm, you can crash in a friend’s room, and if they’re okay with it, move in as well. There is also a new roommate convention sometime during the semester. The most important thing is personal comfort, because a year is a long time to live with somebody who leaves their dirty laundry on YOUR bed.
Part II: STUDYING
A lot of distractions exist in the dorm, ranging from the temptation to hang out in your friends’ rooms, desperately binge-watch Game of Thrones, or contemplate why the walls in the dorm are so thin that you can almost hear your neighbors breathing. So find your studying rhythm and try your best to stay motivated. If you don’t, you’re going to have an incredibly difficult time this semester. Figure out what methods work for you and stick to them, whether they involve taking notes on the reading, listening to music to help you focus, or even moving to different locations around campus.
Part III: LAUNDRY
There are many other men or women living in the same building as you who also want to wear clean clothes. The best way to avoid competition is to either do your laundry early in the morning (around 7:00-10:00 AM), or late at night (around 10:00-11:00 PM). Choosing to do your laundry in the afternoons and early evenings (about 12:00-5:00 PM) will leave you scrambling for open washers and dryers.
In addition, don’t leave your clothing in the machines. If you do this, three possible consequences can occur.
Option 1: The lovely lads or ladies at Meier Hall or Lamson Hall may place your wet clothes into a dryer, perhaps even with a dryer sheet! Thanks!
Option 2: The other patrons living in the dorm, whether it be Meier or Lamson, may take your clothes out of the dryer or washer and place them on that crusty counter near the wall. Nobody likes that, so keep track of your laundry timers.
Option 3: You may return to the laundry room, excited to wear your favorite, now warm, clean t-shirt. However, to your dismay, when you open the dryer, your favorite shirt, along with a pair of sweatpants, one sock, and some shorts are missing. You may either never see these articles again or will see somebody else wearing them. Do not let this happen to you. Again, keep track of your laundry timers.
Part IV: CUFFING SEASON
Long-distance relationships are difficult. They become more difficult when you must walk your new boo-thang back to the dorm at promptly 11:00 PM. In this circumstance, decisions must be made. In the wise words of Chance the Rapper, “At 16 or even 21, nobody is worth stressing over. Go find yourself, the world is yours.” If you find the person that helps you do this, congratulations. If not, rethink taking your seventh dorm late in as many days. You only get up to six lates this semester, pal, and you have a Biology quiz tomorrow.
Part V: RATIONING
Everybody begins the year with a large sum of money on their cafe accounts; however, this total will soon be depleted if you spend too recklessly. A bit over $100/week is customary. So, don’t overspend but don’t skip meals either. This includes Saturday mornings, when the gazebo and cafeteria are both closed. Plan ahead, or figure out an alternative food source. And if needed, meal plan extensions can be purchased.
Not all parts of Dorm Room Survival were addressed in this article. There are nuances regarding lates, decorations, and general to-do’s and not-to-do’s. Additionally, University Towers (UT) and the apartments have separate survival cultures. Some aspects are learned on the go, while others can be found in the Student Handbook. Any legitimate life or death situations should be addressed by calling 911. Good luck.