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Living in Dorms Tips? - March 18th 2017, 03:07 AM

In August I am moving about 45 minutes away to attend community college for my freshman year. This will also be my first time living in dorms so of course I'm a little nervous. Does any one have any tips or anything for living in dorms? Anything that will make my life easier, I am open to. I also plan to work part time (no more than 20 hours a week) so if anyone has any advice for balancing work and school that would be the greatest. I'm also looking for study tips, like maintaining a study routine and getting homework done in a timely manner. Also keeping a clean organized area will probably be a struggle because I most likely will be rooming with another person. Plus any tips on getting to know your roommate? I'm very socially awkward and I want to keep the level of awkwardness down if I can help it. I know this is a lot of info to ask for, I just want to be as prepared as possible





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Re: Living in Dorms Tips? - March 18th 2017, 03:53 AM

Woo, dorm life! My freshman year was kind of bad so I'll give you tips that hopefully will make it less bad than mine aha. BUT BUT BUT the rest of my years were good so please don't let me saying it was bad discourage you.

Storage: Okay, you're not going to have a lot of space more than likely. Living in a dorm means you're sharing a space with at least one other person, and the rooms aren't that big to begin with. So you might not be able to fit the entire contents of your bedroom into your dorm room.

That being said, have you toured the dorm you will be staying in before, or are there at least pictures of it online? Some colleges (or at least mine) post pictures of the dorm rooms online so you can get an idea. If you can tour or at least look online, it may give you an idea of what size the dorm is and how much stuff you can fit. Or, if you're able to return home after a few weeks, bring the necessities and a few wants and then return home for some other stuff.

I use these storage bins that can fit under my bed. it helps for moving things in and out, but my freshman year before I had a suite-type dorm room with more space, I kept a LOT of things in the bis. I had a bin for food, a bin for clothes that didn't fit into the drawer, a bin for extra hygiene products, you get the drift. Try to find storage tubs or shelving that you don't have to drill into the wall or other storage things you can use to keep things clutter free. You may be provided a desk or dresser (check with the dorm) which will help.

Necessities: So, every dorm has things that are and are not allowed in the dorm rooms, and things that they provide and don't provide. Some things that may not be allowed include things like candles or other fire hazards. But I'd DEFINITELY call and see if they have a list of things they provide and things you can and can't bring.

My dorm provided a dresser and closet, desk, and a microwave/fridge combo type thing. And the bed of course. But your dorm may be different. If they don't provide a fridge, I'd definitely see if you're allowed to bring one, because that way you can have some smaller food items and drinks. Even though we didn't have a kitchen in the actual room, every floor in the freshman dorms had a community kitchen that can be shared by all the residents on that floor. If this is the case for you, I'd bring basic cooking supplies.

For larger items like mini fridges or items that you may not need duplicates of, such as cleaning supplies or dishes, I'd talk to the person you're potentially rooming with ahead of time if possible and see if they're willing to share. For example, you may be able to bring a set of dishes if they bring a vacuum cleaner, etc. This will defray the costs for both of you considerably.

Obviously bring school supplies! It may help for stationary if you get some storage that can go on your desk, such as a cup for pens/pencils.

The shower situation. I don't know how your dorm works, again, but the way MINE worked, in the freshman dorms you would have to share a bathroom with everyone else on your floor. Obviously that means multiple stalls and stuff because one tiny bathroom wouldn't work, haha. But that means you should bring a shower caddy to put the stuff you'll need to carry to/from the shower with, and a long towel. I like the ones that velcro closed so I don't have to worry about it coming undone. Oh, and if you're in a shared shower situation, get shower shoes. Athlete's foot is not something you want.

Laundry. My school charges for laundry, some don't, so you may need to check how that situation works out and how laundry works. We have a laundry room in each building and you put money on your student ID card to pay for it. If you do not take your laundry out on time, someone who needs a machine WILL take it out and throw it on top of the machine, wet, dry, whatever.

Obviously try to keep some cash on you for emergencies or just to go out and have fun with.

My room freshman year was not air conditioned so you may need to bring a fan.

Cleaning and organizing: I think for the most part this is just a matter of cleaning up after yourself. Take out the trash when it gets full or take out any smelly food items you may have. Clean out the fridge before the leftovers get gross. if you eat something, clean up after yourself, that sort of thing.

What I do with my roommates is have a "chore chart" for shared areas. For example, I am in an upperclassman dorm meaning we have our own bathroom. Some of them even have their own kitchen. We make a list of chores and delegate for the week so one person isn't stuck doing anything.

I like using Lysol wipes because they're good for multiple surfaces such as desks, counters, and even toilet seats. If you have tile or wood floors, bring a broom and dustpan, or if you have a carpet you can either bring a vacuum cleaner or see if there is one that the building lends out to you.

Get a laundry bag or basket for your clothes so they're not all in a pile on your floor, plus it just makes it easier to bring it to and from the laundry room. Put the clothes away as soon as possible so they're not hanging around.

Basically I think this is just something along the lines of clean up after yourself when you make a mess and you should be fine. Nobody expects things to be spotless, but don't be a slob either, if that makes sense? For example I'd have a roommate that would like hoard her trash until it smelled and had MOUNTAINS of clothes on the floor, even in my closet space so I had no closet space! No bueno. Don't be that person and you'll be fine probably, haha.

Making friends: My school let me know who I was rooming with ahead of time and provided me with her email. So what may be useful is to email that person and introduce yourself, and start talking that way over text. That way you have an idea of who this other person is a bit before you get there and you've started to get to know her a bit more, which may make it easier for you to start talking to her more when you actually arrive. Maybe you can invite her to go to the dining hall or something like that as well to grab dinner or something to get to know her better.

if you have any issues with her, please address them with her before they get out of hand. I've been through mediations with a Residence Advisor for roommate problems before and it's not really fun. If it gets to that point it does, but if there is anything you and your roommate can do to solve the issue before it gets to the point of a mediation, I strongly recommend it. I know conflict is scary but it's definitely better than holding a grudge with someone you have to live with all year. With that it may also help to set some "ground rules" for both of your personal comfort. For example, if you two feel it better to give each other a head's up before someone comes to visit, that can be a thing you discuss. Of course, that doesn't have to be the rule, but that's just an example.

At least in my school, our dorms put on programs for the residents to attend. I would attend these to make friends and meet some other people in your building.

Clubs in general are important. That's how I met a good majority of my friends. The good thing about clubs is that generally the people in them have a common interest, which may make it easier to get the conversation started.

Working: WELL admittedly I don't work, but for this I think it may be important to make a schedule. Block out the times you work and have class. Set aside some time for studying/homework, and make sure to set aside time for free time, fun, and self-care too! It may help to have a schedule of what you are doing and when.

Also keep a planner because it will help you remember where you have to be and when, and what homework, assignments, and other things are on your to-do list. Plus it's nice to be able to cross them out when you're done.

Studying: Many of your professors will probably hold open office hours, where students can come in and talk to them about things they are having trouble with. Even if they don't hold open office hours, many of them still are willing to meet with students. Actually, a lot of them love it because it shows that the student is trying really hard and is really wanting to learn the material. Plus it looks better on you to know that you're trying. Sometimes it can help to have things explained a second time, or just sitting down with someone one-on-one versus in the classroom setting.

My school has an academic success center where you can go to get tutoring from other students. I'd take advantage of this if your school has this because it is an excellent resource.

Meet students from your class and form study or homework groups as well, because two heads are better than one and you all may be able to teach each other things from a different perspective and help each other understand and get things done.

Everyone studies in a different way, so it may be trial-and-error to find the way that works best for you. For me, I find it helpful to talk things out, so what I do is I have my mom or a friend quiz me on the material, so that way I am saying it and hearing it. A lot of students I know create flashcards. if you can make drawings or make other visuals on your notes to help later, definitely do it. Some people find it useful to rewrite the material a few times to get it in their head. Other people may try and complete example problems.

As far as getting homework done goes, I stand by my planner suggestion from up above in the "working" section.

The order you do it may depend on if you're the type of person who gets encouraged by getting the easy assignments out of the way first and then likes to tackle the harder ones, or if you're the type of person that likes to get the big things out of the way first.

Try not to be the person that saves everything for the last minute and then is up until 3 AM doing it, because you really need your sleep. Even if you can do a little at a time throughout the day to lessen your load, it is still better than nothing. Plus it tends to pile up and get stressful if you save it all! Of course, sometimes people work well under a little bit of pressure and that is perfectly fine, but what i'm saying is don't let it bury you.

As far as needing the textbook, I normally get them, but there are some classes where i've never cracked the book open. Conversely, there are some classes that I'd never survive without a textbook.

The study environment also is important. This may not apply to you, but a lot of the time if I'm in the dorm I'm just like "Screw this, I want to take a nap." So I do a lot of my major assignments in the library. It may help you to find a studious area to study as well.

I strongly encourage you to get to know the resources your campus has to offer, and not just for academics either. Learn what support services your school has, and what things can be done for fun. It can feel better to know you have someone to turn to when you need support.

I hope I didn't leave anything out, and that this eased your mind some. It really can be nice and rewarding to live in the dorms, and I hope you enjoy the experience. If you have any other questions you can PM me and I can try to help!

Good luck!


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Re: Living in Dorms Tips? - March 18th 2017, 11:19 AM

Wow thank you so much Dez! A couple years ago I took a campus tour which included a look into the dorms but I don't exactly remember what they've look like. Next month though I'm going for orientation and enrollment and all that fun stuff so I'll probably ask to see a room again. I know some of the amenities are a mini fridge, free cable and wifi. I know we all share the bathrooms/showers but I honestly don't know if there's any kitchen area. I appreciate how much you put into the response though, it means a lot!





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Re: Living in Dorms Tips? - March 19th 2017, 10:03 PM

If you want to PM me or anything once you find out more about how things like the kitchen are set up, definitely do! I want to help the best I can.


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Re: Living in Dorms Tips? - March 20th 2017, 09:56 PM

Keep anything "not allowed" out of sight when you are not there. I am speaking more in relation to electronic appliances. I do recommend getting a small crockpot. The small ones can be a life saver when you can't have a stove. Learn how to cook some basic stuff in them. However, most dorms do not allow crock pots.
   
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Re: Living in Dorms Tips? - March 21st 2017, 07:49 AM

I loved living in a dorm. I had great roommates.

Roommates make all the difference. If the roommates turn out to not be a good match then it's usually possible to switch with someone else. People like to be with compatible people. The people who have incompatible roommates get together and figure out how to switch things up so everyone has compatible roommates.

Plus the students at college were smarter and more mature and nicer than high school. That helped a lot too.

Studying turned out to be easier than I thought.

I hope you have a good time too!
   
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Re: Living in Dorms Tips? - March 21st 2017, 08:41 AM

Just Keep Swimming has provided an insane amount of detail but having gone through this I just want to emphasise the fact of respecting the space by cleaning up your mess. Also just feel out the people around you, some prefer to keep to themselves while others are more happy to be social.
   
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Re: Living in Dorms Tips? - March 21st 2017, 11:57 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lelola View Post
Keep anything "not allowed" out of sight when you are not there. I am speaking more in relation to electronic appliances.
I've not lived in a dorm, but if there are rules, it's best to abide by them when possible. Otherwise, it is good to keep expensive things out of sight when you aren't there, in case things get stolen (I've heard a few things go missing according to my friend who did move out for university). That and definitely keep electronic devices out of sight when studying


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Re: Living in Dorms Tips? - March 21st 2017, 02:17 PM

Everyone has provided great tips. Mine is to make sure you socialize. I went to college with my boyfriend at the time, and I ended up spending too much time with him because suddenly we lived right next to each other and I didn't really make any friends my first year. Definitely don't be afraid to knock on peoples' doors in your dorm and make friends. It will make your experience a whole lot better if you build up a new social circle for yourself and have people you can rely on.

Also know that you will be homesick for probably the first few weeks. It's a big change moving away from home and living on your own! It's definitely scary, but it's a great experience. I used to have really bad social anxiety (actually, anxiety in general) and going through college actually helped so much that my anxiety is virtually gone. Just take things one day at a time, and remember all the other freshmen are likely feeling the same as you are.

As for working, there were a few times when I was working 1-2 jobs, interning, and doing school full time. It's possible. You'll have more free time than you think, professors always say you have to spend 2 hours outside of class for every one hour inside, but I haven't really found that to be true. Just do the amount of work that you feel you need to do to succeed. Also, you could try working on campus. I did that and it was really helpful so I could fit it into my schedule easier, sometimes I'd even work mornings and go straight to class after. I worked in catering through dining services and enjoyed it so much that I stayed for a little over three years.


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Re: Living in Dorms Tips? - March 21st 2017, 06:20 PM

Thank you all so much for your help! As time gets closer I'd either PM some of you or make another post with more specific questions.





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