If you have ever watched Big Brother on television, you will know what a nightmare the wrong combination of people in a house can be. Big Brother lasts only a couple of weeks at most, and then everybody goes home.
In a college dorm you are thrown into much the same situation; stuck on a floor with a bunch of people that you have never met before in your life. Lots of egos, insecurities, good and bad habits, noise, drink, drugs, and of course, the "S" word!
Learning to live with, and cope with it all, is part of the learning experience of going to college, but it is not always easy.
We, at Glorious Essays, deal with students all the time and, in between essays and writing, we are going to give you a few tips that we think will help you to negotiate the minefield of living in a college dorm. We hope that you will find them useful:
Make a rota: if your dorm has a kitchen or a bathroom or lounge or another communal area, there will inevitably be people who will leave it in a mess and not participate in clearing up the space. This can be really aggravating for everyone and lead to the same people having to tidy up and clean all the time - you know who you are! The easiest and the fairest way around this is to draw up a rota with everybody on the floor, wing or landing participating and doing the chores in a workable way. Should somebody be unable to do this for any reason, they can make an arrangement with anyone else and swap duties.
Form a committee: get a group of people together and agree on a standard set of rules to make the running of the dorm more pleasant for everybody. The college itself often has rules, which it likes to be followed, but there is no reason why you cannot have additional input over and above that of the college. In this day and age, it might seem that some of the cultural rules are quite antiquated, and the committee could probably agree on a workable compromise that keeps everybody on the floor happy.
Keep your own room tidy and clean: this may seem like a bit of a nag, but for your peace of mind, and health, it is far better to have a workable space rather than a mess of clothes, books, washing, and all the other paraphernalia that gets magnetically attracted to the floor. If you have a roommate, it is especially important, just as a courtesy, to keep your section of the room and the communal areas in good order. There is nothing worse than going into an untidy, smelly, dormitory room. Should you leave food, drink, old pizza boxes, chocolate wrappers and so on, laying around, there is also the chance that it may attract rodents, cockroaches, and other creatures you would rather not be sharing your bed with - worth thinking about!
Get some ear plugs and a blindfold: no - not for personal reruns of Fifty Shades of Grey. It is inevitable that there will be occasions when there is music playing, people talking in the corridor, traffic noise, someone's impromptu birthday party, and many other noisy interludes to endure. At least you'll be able to get some sleep.
Know the emergency drills: fires, intruders, people falling ill, and a myriad other problems could affect your stay - run through the drills and work out how you will get out at 3 o'clock in the morning if there is a fire blocking the staircase - know where the nearest fire extinguisher is, know what numbers to call, and where the nearest phone is - cell phones do not always work. Find out where the first-aid kit is; and, if it isn't there, get one sorted. Read up on first aid and emergency procedures. Make sure all the other emergency kit is up-to-date and that the exits are freely accessible - if they are not, get onto the maintenance department of your dorm and get it sorted. Your life, or the life of somebody else, might depend on it.
Make the effort to try and get along with everybody: life in the dorm can be exhausting if you constantly have to tread on eggshells, avoid certain people, and kowtow to others.College is a great place to learn diplomacy and how to get on with other people. You will encounter a wide range of views on everything from religion, through politics, through money, through sport, through religion; and it is inevitable that your views will not always align with everybody else's. This need not be the cause of World War III though; if you just hang back a bit and see life through a wider range of viewpoints than you are, perhaps, used to.
We are aware that this has been a bit like a chat with your parents; for which we apologize, but if you want to have a great time at college you really have to lay out some ground rules to make life tolerable for everybody. That way you can rub along, embrace your differences, and have a great time whilst doing so.