What skills must I prepare for when living in the dorm?
I had heard many things about college life whether they were true or rumors. I want to know what I must truly prepare for when moving out of home to the dorms. #moving-out
Erin, great question. Dorm life was honestly the highlight of my college experience and it is a crucial aspect of going to college. Despite this, there are a few challenges that come with dorm life that you should be prepared to deal with and mitigate so that you are able to enjoy living in a dorm to the fullest extent!!
- Clean your room regularly, your mom/dad isn't there to help you out. My mom throughout high school "voluntold" me to clean my room all the time and would occasionally pick up after me. Once you're at college, your dorm room can easily get messy given that you will most likely have a roommate and the rooms are small. Clean up messes once they are made, organize your clothes, vacuum, talk to your roommate, and draft a cleaning schedule. Coming back home after a brutal test to only find your room in disgusting shape is really depressing (I've been there and cleaning after getting beat by a test was not fun), so clean your room ASAP.
- Patience is a virtue. You'll be living with a roommate and/or suitemates and there will be things they do and say that may bother you. Interpersonal issues between people often are caused by "bottling up" or yelling far too often; do neither of these, if something bothers you, calmly approach the individual and talk through the issue. Yelling, gossiping, and backstabbing your roommate is a bad idea as you have to live with these people, keep it professional and mature.
- Don't be a hermit. I wouldn't call myself a shy person, but I am a little nervous to meet new people and can tend to close myself off. For the first few days of college, I hid out in my dorm with the door closed when I wasn't at class. I didn't understand why people weren't approaching me to talk and then it hit me, I had my door closed. If you want to meet people and make friends keep your door open, people will see this and introduce themselves. The day I opened my door was the day that I met the 8 people that would be my best friends throughout college and after (it's been 5 years since meeting them and we are as close as ever).
- Don't let opportunities go, seize them. At no other point in your life will you be living with people all your age without your parents there, it's a formative time of your life and it would be a shame to waste it. Meet people on your floor, introduce yourself to people in your building, be social, get out, go to dorm parties (be responsible and make intelligent decisions of course), and enjoy yourself. People are the most open and friendly the first year as everything and everybody is new, get out and meet people. After freshman year people get increasingly set in their "friend group"; this isn't to say that you can't make new friends, just that it's the easiest to do so your first year.
I hope this helps, I could go on and on about dorm life but I'll keep my points to four, feel free to ask any other questions should you have them.
I agree with everyone else in this thread. They all have very good advice, and following their steps will help you thrive when you finally move out into the real world. One thing I would like to add is that you should always be yourself.
When you move in with your first roommates, you will feel a lot of pressures that you haven't felt before. Pressure to eat what they eat; to hangout with their friends, or maybe even watch the same movies as them. Sometimes these differences and pressures will be positive for you - they might show you new genres of music that you haven't heard before! Or maybe they will introduce you to a new brand of shoes that fit your feet very well. These experiences are a part of growing up, and may help you become the person you want to be.
However, not everything will be perfect. Sometimes these pressures will put you in uncomfortable positions. For example they might want you to smoke cigarettes, or wear flip flops when it's cold out. In these situations it's important that you stand up for yourself and say "hey, I don't want to do those things". That's perfectly OK! Real friends should always accept you for who you are and never expect anything from that you don't want from yourself.
Good luck and have fun!
Be ready to share your space even if you are not used to it. Be ready to live with different personalities. Be flexible and open to learn your dorm mates' culture and upbringing. You will learn a lot from listening and accepting everyone as they are. You will also be accepted by others if you are open.