Tips for Making a Positive Impression
If you have decided to live on campus, you are probably looking forward to dormitory life. But what is living in a dorm really all about? Although on campus housing can be quite different from college to college, here are a few things you can expect.
Most freshman students are assigned a roommate. If you are assigned a triple or a suite, you may find that you have multiple roommates. By living with a roommate, you have the opportunity to get to know someone new, who may want to join you in heading to the dining hall or to other events in your first few weeks of college. Many people make strong friendships with their roommates and keep in touch for years after college. Sometimes you may be assigned a roommate who is very different from you. Keep in mind that you don't have to be friends — but you want to live harmoniously with this other person. By being respectful of your roommate's space and possessions, you set a tone that you would like to be treated the same way. Keep your living space neat and be sure to ask your roommate's permission before bringing other people into your room. Sometimes your roommate may have a different sleep or study schedule than you do. You may have to chat about personal habits and routines so that you are both getting what you need out of the living situation. Most colleges have a resident assistant on the floor. This person is an older student who is responsible for mediating any conflicts and making sure everyone in the dorm is getting what they need from their living situation. If you have talked with your roommate about a conflict and things just aren't getting better, contact your resident assistant for help. But for many of you, getting to know your roommate will be one of the best parts of college life!
They layout of dormitories varies from college to college. Some colleges have same sex residence halls only — so girls live in one building and boys live in another. Other colleges are separated by girls' and boys' wings or floors. In other colleges, boys and girls will live together on the same floor, and there are just boys' rooms or girls' rooms. Some colleges are more apartment style or "house", while other dormitories house thousands of students. There is also substance-free housing (no alcohol allowed) available at many schools.
In terms of life in the dorm, you will live with students from different other towns, states, and countries than your own. This is a great opportunity to learn about another culture and part of the world. Most dorms have social events where you can meet other students. These range from dances to bowling trips to paintball competitions. Even if you are on the shy side, try to participate in as many dormitory events as possible. This is a great way to meet new friends! You may have the most fun in your dormitory by just hanging out. Introduce yourself to other people on your floor when you move in, and be sure to say hello to people in the hallway. Most dorms have a study lounge and a common area where students can socialize. By being present in these areas, you will get to know other students. Just be open to meeting new people and you will have a great time!
Most dormitories have a spot for you to do laundry, and many will have their own dining hall or kitchen in the dormitory. Some dormitories have computers labs with printers or libraries. Ask residence life what features your dormitory has before you move in so that you are prepared to live in your new place!
If for any reason your own campus living situation is not working for you, contact the director of residence life. Sometimes students need to make changes in their living situation due to a roommate conflict or another issue. The residence life office is there to help you so that you can do your best in college and live comfortably. You should enjoy college life, especially where you live!