Living in Dorms – 5 Tips to Survival

Holly Cunningham College Life

So you got your place in college and are all set to move to dorms. But do you know what to expect? It is always better to be prepared. Here's how I managed the transition.

Moving to college will be certainly a wild and exciting time but there are some things that you may not be expecting to happen in your dorms.

1. You're rarely alone.
2. Your stuff is not really your stuff
3. Be open to everything
4. Girls can be gross
5. BFF

Living in dorms is possibly your first time away from home. It certainly was for me. You need to have an open mind about what might lay ahead. It's not going to be the same as home but that's not a bad thing. Change and new experiences are always good. Here's how to survive the first semester and beyond.

You're rarely alone

There are no secrets in dorms. Your every move and action will be on show. Purely because there is never a moment when you are alone.

There's always someone coming or going. If you have an embarrassing moment or tell something in confidence be assured everyone in your dorm will know within 24 hours. You certainly need to have a think skin.

If someone is teasing you, then no one is teasing them. It's all about deflection. The more you can laugh it off the better. But the most important thing to remember is that living in dorm is not at all like living at home.

More than likely, at home you can escape to your room and relax or study in comfort, but living on campus is a different story. This is not all a bad thing. Moving to dorm can be a daunting experience.

You may be feeling homesick, or anxious about all the changes that are currently happening in your life. Embrace this new life and make as many new friends as you can.

This is your new pseudo family. They will be there to yes definitely tease you about everything, but also there to support you in your new community.

You are not going to click with everyone, but you wouldn't have in high school either.

Your stuff is not really your stuff

So you think your stuff is your own. Think again. Before I left for college my mom and I went shopping for all I would need for dorm.

No expense spared, but when I arrived in dorm I couldn't quite get my head around people 'borrowing' my stuff.

If you don't want people using all your stuff then you'll need more than 1!

It's like everyone arrives and there's an unspoken rule that everything is free game.

I had to go and buy spare toothpaste and toothbrush. The sharing of paste I can deal with but I'm afraid I have to draw the line at sharing my toothbrush!!

Care packages will arrive from home and people you don't even know will call dibs on anything you don't fancy.

No matter what kind of background your dorm mates come from, everyone loves something for nothing. So, do as they do, and get out there and get your share.

Be open to everything

I grew up in a country town so moving to college was a bit of an eye opener. I wasn't necessarily naive about things, but I think people lose a lot of their inhibitions in new surroundings.

Moving to college allows you to be whomever you want to be. You can wear whatever clothes you want to wear, or make up and hairstyle you wish to have. But you need to open to others views.

I share with a group of girls and it was shocking for me to have my room mate walking freely around with no clothes on. I think it was purely to shock me (which the first time it did ) but maybe it was more my insecurities and I wasn't prepared for nudity.

It's hard initially not to judge but everyone to their own. It's more for me to get my head around how different everyone is and to be ok with that.

There are also those that are hot and cold from day to day. I found this quite difficult. You think you have made a friend and then they suddenly blank you in the hall.

But I have realised not to take this personally. People have things on their mind. And more than likely they will be back chatting with you tomorrow.

Girls can be gross

We all like to think that everyone has the same standard as ourselves. That everyone washes and deodorises everyday. Unfortunately that is not at all true. Girls can be really dirty.

This came as a huge shock to me. I wouldn't have said I was overly clean but it's not just about washing. I shower everyday, but people I share with might only shower every couple of days or once a week.

That is their choice and it doesn't impinge on me. But the non flushing of toilets and dirty underwear on the floor. It just pushed me over the edge. I have a brother and even he flushes the toilet. I couldn't believe that modern girls could think that this was acceptable.

But I realised that not only did they not care they didn't even see that they were doing it. My mom said I should say something but ultimately I have to live with these girls and it was easier to just grin and bear it.

Make sure you keep yourself clean and tidy and don't let your own standards drop.

BFF - Best Friends Forever

Moving to college was incredibly traumatic for me. Not really the thoughts of class and college because I couldn't wait for them to begin. But the thoughts of leaving home and everything that I knew was absolutely terrifying me.

We had organized everything for moving but the day of moving I was feeling physically sick. Mom, dad and I drove to the dorms. We brought all of my belongings in and I actually thought I was going to pass out. My room mates were already there and all I cold think was they know each other already and I'm going to be left out and no one is going to talk to me.

It was like a train trundling towards me out of control. I couldn't catch my breath and I turned to my mom and said 'I want to go home' and promptly burst into tears.

But just as that happened my two new room mates appeared and said 'Would I like some tea?' Where had I come from? Did I know what classes I was taking? It was like all my greatest fears just melted away.

Mom and dad disappeared. I was introduced to others in the dorm and before I knew it I was mingling like a pro!!

And then myself and another girl just clicked. It was if we had known each other for years. She is hilarious and we talk for hours about anything and everything.

Now halfway through my freshman year and I wonder why I was so anxious. New people in my life are better friends than I ever had in high school.

I understand now when my mom said to me that college will be like nothing I have ever experienced. You will make friends that will be in your life forever. The will shape the adult you become and they will be your family for the next 4 years.

Living in dorms will have highs and lows. There will be people you really gel with and people you spark against.

But at the end of the day it's all a learning curve on the road to adulthood and also a good indication of the cross section of people you will encounter through you life.

Enjoy every minute of it, and get involved in everything that goes on in your dorm.

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Student and Writer at Tweentotwenty | Website

Holly Cunningham is a college student. She is studying a Bioscience degree.
She has a great work ethic and very driven and self motivated.
I hope that some of my insights in to study and college life will help with any issues you might have.