Pick up these habits while living in dorms

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Photo Courtesy of RubyAve/Wikimedia Commons

Two twin beds sit opposite each other in a dorm room with sunlight coming in through the window. Stick to habits while living in the dorms.

By Vivian La, Assistant Daytime News Editor

You did it. All the boxes have been unloaded from the now-empty car, parents have been waved goodbye to and you and your roommate have decided who gets which side. 

What’s next?

Something that tends to happen when moving to a new space is how the routines one develops during those first few days and weeks will usually stick for the remainder of the year. It’s important to get that routine started so the rest of the semester feels easier.

Pick a day to do laundry and stick to it

The process of lugging your laundry bin into the elevator – or down several flights of stairs if you’re in a building without one like Taft Van-Doren – isn’t enjoyable to most students. Between balancing classes and social life, setting aside a set time to do laundry will prove beneficial in the long run. Being consistent with this could help ensure you have enough clean clothes for the week. A lot of students tend to save their laundry day for the end of the week, typically on Sunday, so choosing weekday mornings may help with wait times. I’ve found that doing laundry with a friend in the same building can make the experience less boring.

Communicate with your roommate

How you and your roommate interact during those first weeks can set the tone for the rest of the semester. Setting some boundaries from the start about sharing items, if friends are allowed over or even bedtimes is really important. This is especially key if you don’t know the person you’re rooming with other than what was posted in the Facebook class of 2025 group. Being clear throughout the year about when you might want to have people over or when there’s an issue that needs to be resolved starts with those first couple interactions. Acting passive-aggressive and hoping a problem goes away does neither roommate any good. You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate, because you likely won’t. Being respectful of each other and their space will go a long way.

Keep yourself and your room clean

Personal hygiene is important to maintain both for your own health and your roommate’s sake. There will definitely be days when cramming for an exam will take priority over a shower. But staying on top of taking care of yourself will be better for your mental health and may help studying come easier after a quick shower break. Also, being aware of the state of your dorm room is important, both for smell and the benefits of having a clean living space. Keep an eye on trash, especially if it’s food because the smell will take over your room and parts of the dorm floor if you don’t act quick enough. Regularly cleaning the floor and other surfaces can also do wonders for feeling more refreshed. Especially if you’re the type of person who prefers studying inside the room, maintaining the cleanliness of this study and living space is really important.

Embrace the changes and take one day at a time

It’s repeated over and over again at many points during these next four years, but college really is about stepping out of your comfort zone. Living in a dorm with a possible stranger is just one experience that will have you doing things you might not have done in the past. Even communal bathrooms are an experience worthy of their own Saturday Night Live skit. 

All in all, the first few weeks can be incredibly overwhelming and it’s OK to freak out a little. Take comfort in the fact that countless other students are likely feeling the same way. But it’s also an exciting time to really learn how to live independently and experience things you never have before. Invite your stranger-roommate to lunch every now and then go join the club for that niche interest you have or walk up to the group of people hanging out in your dorm lounge.

Don’t stress about what the future holds, though you are in college. Take things one day at a time, one problem at a time and enjoy the moment. 

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