As the summer comes to an end, it's that time of year again when students begin to pack up their life at home and head to college to live in a small 12 by 19 foot bedroom. Yes, dorm life is part of the college experience, and before you head out to tackle the independent college student life, here are some helpful do's and don'ts to follow as an on campus resident.
Get to know your Resident Assistant (RA). Resident assistants are available to incoming and existing residents to help them with any of their dorm life needs. The resident assistant makes sure to maintain a successful and compatible dorm life atmosphere, and to work closely with all the residents so they feel welcome, safe, comfortable and informed.
Be outgoing. Don't be very shy when you live in a dorm. You will have a roommate and most likely share a bathroom with many other people, so it's best to be open, welcoming and outgoing to the people around you.
Make the room as homey as possible. This small room that you will be sharing with a roommate or two will be your home for the entire semester, so make it as comfortable as possible. If it means to bring pictures or blankets or anything else from home, do it! It will help transitioning from home to living in a dorm that much easier.
Get to know who you live with (not just your roommate). It's very important to make friends quickly with your roommate and get to know them as well as possible, but it's also important to do that with everyone else. This will allow you to not only make a lot of new friends, but have people nearby to hang out with, lend a helping hand, or have a fun study group.
Utilize all the resources they offer. Don't pass up the accommodations your dorm is offering you at the beginning or throughout the school year. Whatever it may be, take advantage of the resources. They are there for a reason.
Stay Organized. Living in a small room with another person can feel a little cramped at times. Staying organized helps lessen drama and frustrations throughout the semester. Invest into organization unites for your clothes or books, and instead of buying fancy looking items like wooden hangers, choose thin medal hangers to provide more closet space.
Communication is a must! No matter if it's communicating with your RA, roommate or a resident down the hall, always remember to keep communicating with everyone. When people are in the loop and understand what's on your mind, what you're going through and anything else, there are more successful relationships and experiences.
DON'T buy so much stuff. It might feel great that you have a place to call your own, but it's not good to keep buying everything you see. You're limited on space in a dorm room, and the more you buy the harder it will be to move out by the end of the semester.
DON'T buy everything by yourself. This is not a good idea, when you have a roommate that can chip in. Communicate with your roommate and see if he/she would like to chip in when buying supplies for the room. For example, when you're in the market for a mini fridge, don't just buy it on your own, see if your roommate what's to go 50/50.
DON'T take a long time in the shower. Maybe you're someone accustomed to long 45 minute showers. Sorry to say this, but those habits will have to stop now. More times than not you will be sharing a bathroom with one or two roommates or even a community bathroom down the hall. If that's the case, bathroom time should be cut in half so you don't hold anyone up and cause arguments.
DON'T be messy. A messy room may be acceptable at home, but it's not acceptable in a dorm. Space is limited, so it's best to stay as clean and tidy as possible. If you can't be spit-spot clean, that's okay, but it's best to eliminate as much clutter as you can.
DON'T break the rules. Just like you wouldn't break the law, don't break the rules in your hall. The rules are there for a reason, and it's best to keep the peace. It's fun to goof off and play around with your dorm mates, but don't step over the line. Whatever your dorm's rules are follow them to the T.
As always, there are so many more do's and don'ts an on-campus resident should follow, but these are the ones we thought would be best to know about before beginning college life. We hope you find this helpful during your college semester.