Good Dorm Hunting

Good Dorm Hunting

Back in August, I discussed tips for dorm shopping. At the time, I had no idea what it would be like to live in a dorm or what I actually needed. I’ve been living on campus since September, and I can now say that I am slightly more experienced.

It’s difficult to know what to expect when dorming and living on campus because every scenario is completely unique, however there are some general rules and tips that can make living on campus easier and potentially make your experience better.

The biggest concern for a good majority of dorming students is the roommate situation. If you didn’t know someone prior, it can become stressful to either pick a roommate or leave it up to chance and go with random roommate selection that most colleges have. While I know some people that have had good experiences with the random selection, I know more people who have had good experiences with roommates that they picked themselves. However, the entire process of potentially meeting people online to room with is stressful in itself.

It’s like a shiver of sharks. Everybody’s on the hunt for potential roommates, and you could be messaging over 20 different people all asking the same questions: “What’s your major?” “What do you like to do for fun?”

While these questions are great, what you should really be looking for are people who have the same lifestyle as you. People who go to bed around the same time, what their morning and night habits are like, how clean they are, etc. It can be uncomfortable to ask someone these things, especially if you’re just messaging over Instagram, but to ensure that you and your roommate gel well in a living environment, they provide answers that will help you both in the longterm.

Many people look for roommates they could see themselves being friends with, and while that strategy works for some people, I personally have friends that I wouldn’t want to live with. Having a roommate goes beyond friendship. Roommates share a private space, they may be there when you want alone time, and there’s things that they may see or experience with you that your friends will notl. So while having a roommate you’re friends with is great, the most important factor is that your living styles work well together. If not, there’s a chance that friendship will turn into chaos.

My second tip has to do with the type of dorm, or rather what the residence building has to offer. Every school is different, so residence halls vary by school. At my university, two of our three freshman residence halls have dining halls and communal kitchens within them. My building, unfortunately, has neither, so maybe this tip comes from a place of yearning, but I think it is still important to consider! If there are residence halls that have at least one communal kitchen, and you can place building preferences (I cannot), then I would absolutely recommend doing that. Everybody gets sick of dining hall food eventually, and sometimes they don’t have exactly what you’re craving. Having the opportunity to cook your own food in an oven is something you may not think of as a necessity once you get to college, but depending on how bad your dining hall is, it may become one very quickly.

On the topic of communal spaces, let’s talk bathrooms. I personally do not have any experience with a communal bathroom, so my recommendation will always be to try to pick a building where you have a semi-private bathroom. In my scenario, I share a bathroom with my roommate and the two girls that live next to us. We each have connecting doors to the bathroom, and inside we have a shower, two sinks, toilet, and an installed shelving unit. We are required to provide our own cleaning supplies and take care of the bathroom on our own, so if you don’t like cleaning maybe a communal bathroom is the best option for you.

For me, I hated cleaning before going to college, but ever since living on my own, I’ve grown to really enjoy it. When it comes time for me to clean the bathroom, it is therapeutic, and in its own way, fun! Overall, it’s nice to only share a bathroom with three other people because it becomes a more private experience, we can have as much privacy as we want, and the bathroom itself is so accessible and close to us.

These are some basic and fundamental things to keep in mind as you’re searching for a roommate and applying for housing. Like I said earlier, everybody’s dorming experience is different and unique, and I’ve heard some great stories and some pretty bad stories, but it is what you make of it! If you don’t like your roommate- no worries, there’s always room switching forms available at schools. If you don’t end up in a building with access to a kitchen- not a problem! I ended up like that and I’ve done just fine with a mini fridge, an even tinier freezer, and a microwave. There are always ways to make any bad situation better, but if you’re worried about those before they happen, especially during the application process and the process of finding a roommate, maybe keep some of these tips in mind!

2024 © The Smithfield Times

Privacy Policy   |   Website Designed by JPG Designs