So I’ve lived in dormitories for six years and let me tell you something, it’s usually not easy.
You have to learn and get comfortable with a few things and most of them are not fun. This not going to be a compilation of ‘essential things you need in a dorm’ – no. This is a serious business.
Let’s begin the very important list of three key things into thriving instead of perishing in a dorm room.
The first thing is realizing that you are no longer home. It sounds like a no brainer right? Nope! A lot of people seem to forget this very often. When you share a small room with two or three more people, your freedom is going to be limited. When you are home, your mom or siblings can tolerate a lot of things. Your messiness, loud music, late-night phone chats, and midnight binge eating sessions because they love you. But your roommates might not be that tolerant. And honestly, they should not. If you make the decision to share your living space with other people, you have to realize that they also live there and you need to respect that. You can’t expect anyone to pick up after you, clean your mess and in general tolerate your bad qualities (we all have them don’t even think about denying it).
The second thing is that ‘compromise is the key’. This is the thing people are willing to do the least. When you are put in a room with two strangers, you will quickly realize that you all have different preferences. Like one of you might like to keep the room cold, the other might go to bed very early and the other one might be a night owl who is awake all night.
There are going to be so many small things that you are going to need to compromise. You will have to sleep when your roommate’s desk lamp is open when you want to sleep in pitch darkness or want to listen to banging loud music but your roommate is trying to study (or just hates the music you listen to). All of these small things that you need to compromise sometimes may feel too much like you can’t do anything you want and you will heavily miss the freedom of your own room. There is definitely going to be a constant feeling of uneasiness because you are always trying to make sure that everyone is comfortable and not annoyed with you. Until you get an apartment of your own, you are going to need to think about other people.
The last thing is that communication is essential. This has been repeated a million times, probably. But it is true and it should be said. You need to remember that your roommate is just another human – not a mind-reading super-powered mutant. If there is something that bothers you, your best option is to talk about it. You do not have the luxury of passive-aggressive grumping. You have to talk about it. You can not bottle things up and expect your roommate to figure it out. If you never mention the fact that it annoys you when they leave the door ajar as they leave the room, they will never know.
So there you go. These are my famous last words about dorm life – like I’ve said six years in dorms. That teaches you something. Or three things.