There may not be a more nerve racking experience than awaiting your dorm room situation. Anticipating who your roommate will be, where you will live, and whether or not the cafeteria will serve good food will cause you to lose some sleep. Unfortunately, those things are outcomes you have little or no control over. However, there a few things you can control to help optimize your experience living in your new upcoming student housing.
Take your roommate survey seriously
Colleges are constantly upgrading the way they are sorting their students into dorm rooms. It is no longer the vague random “sorting hat” that throws you in random places. Do not feel you are being too picky in being very specific with your answers. If you CANNOT handle snoring it is okay to rank that question a 0 out of 10. If you also feel like there is a piece of information about you that the survey does not cover, do not be afraid to speak up. I knew a student that did not have Hip-Hop/Rap as an option for favorite type of music. Gotta let those people know what they are missing!
Make it feel like home
You know that IKEA trip every college student looks forward to at the beginning of the year? Yeah, take that trip very seriously because it could make or break your year. One of the things I’ve learned living with a lot of stress from school is that your home needs to feel like your home. Rest will probably be the most important thing you need in college and also probably the hardest thing to truly do.
A big part of getting rest is making sure you are comfortable in your dorm room. I can’t count how many times I have heard students say that they aren’t comfortable being in their dorm room. Your dorm room will be one of the only places where you can constantly escape to. If this place causes you as much anxiety and stress as the world outside, you are in for a difficult year. If you need to spend $5 dollars and buy a small succulent that remind you of your family home in Hawaii, do it! Do as much as you can to make your home your sanctuary.
Do not be afraid to start over
This may be a little unconventional, but starting your living situation over may be the smartest decision you make with your living situation. I like to say give it the good 6 week rule. This will be long enough to see if it is just an adjustment to living in your living situation that is needed or you really just need to move out. I know this sounds very “millennial” of me to just suggest to quit if you don’t like something, but I have seen too many times students sticking out a toxic situation that they should have left. Most colleges have a pretty easy policy of switching dorm rooms or even dorm buildings. You will have a better idea of what exactly you can’t handle in a living situation and what is vital to surviving the year. This option of switching is something that should come as a last resort. However, make sure you fully know that this is a reality that can happen if needed.
Be cautious of rooming with your best friend
Don’t feel like you have to room with your best friend. This may seem like a no brainer. Who wouldn’t want to live with your best friend who you already spend most of your time with and living with them will ensure you will ALWAYS see them…yeah. It could work, but a lot of times living with your bff causes you to ruin that relationship. If you are already bffs going in to your dorm situation, you will expect your bff to be the best human being in the entire world. No one can live up to that expectation, so let them live down the hall.
Your dorm room does not have to be the greatest thing about your college experience. But it cannot be one of the worst things about it either. You can control more than you than you think about your living situation. Just make sure you don’t lose your dorm key!