How to live out of a dorm room
August 23, 2019
While many of the dorms on the University campus have been updated to include new furniture and working air conditioners, the fact of the matter remains that living in a 11-foot-by-11-foot room has certain challenges. If you’re sharing that space with a roommate, you will have additional obstacles to overcome through your first year. The truth is, though, living in a college dorm is an experience like no other. If you have the right mindset and tools to deal with the difficulties that may arise, you can stay productive and enjoy your year there.
The first thing you need to do after you’ve kissed your parents goodbye is organize your space. Everyone likes their room set up a different way, but in general, try to keep things as separate as possible. Don’t store your food where it could spill and make a mess on your bed, don’t leave your dirty clothes and your clean clothes in the same pile, and keep your school supplies in a place where it won’t be mixed up with other papers and lost. A useful tip to help your sleep schedule and work habits is to keep your bed away from your desk. Don’t try to study while reclined on your bed or you’ll fall asleep. If you’re working, sit at the desk. If you’re sleeping, use your bed.
After finding a spot for everything, it is equally important you work to maintain that organization. If you have to come home every day to a room that is messy, it can add on to the stress you will already have from school. Keeping it tidy and stress free is a matter of little habits you keep up every day. When you’re changing in the morning, put anything you’re not wearing away before you leave. If you make coffee in your room, wash the mug out as soon as you’re done. Try to make your bed every morning before you leave and get in the habit of doing laundry at least every other week. Leave your windows open some of the time to circulate the air. Sometimes school will get busy or you won’t have time to clean up before going out, and that is OK. Try to get it done as soon as possible, or it will just keep building up until it’s unmanageable.
Even after all this organization, you also don’t want to be spending every free moment in your dorm room. It will start to feel even smaller than it actually is if you are in there all the time. Some of the dorms have great community spaces, so you could take your laptop out there and meet some of the people living on your floor. Try taking your studying to the library or one of the coffee shops around campus. Go hang out with your friends on the Main Quad or at the Union. Staying in your dorm room can be fun some of the time for hosting movie nights and trying to cram as many people as possible into the tiny space. For the most part, though, your dorm should be primarily for sleeping and studying.
One of the most overwhelming things about college is the lack of privacy or time to be alone. Living in such close proximity to other people can be hard. Try to do all you can so that your dorm room is not a place of stress but a place of relaxation where you can go take a nap if you need it. You’re stuck in the dorms for a year, so do the best you can with it.