The Real Deal on Dorm Life

By Rachael Smith, Student at Radford University

I would have never admitted it three years ago, but “Move-In Day” was one of the most nerve-wracking days of my life.

I was a hurricane of emotions: Excited to be on my own and ready to leave high school behind but also desperately clinging to my mom and dad like a leech, not sure if I could survive the “real world” without their guidance.

On campus, there was a sea of freshmen kids with their parents running all over the place. There were so many different things happening at once. There were new students checking in with their RAs signing contacts and receiving keys, boxes being thrown all over the place and frantic mothers trying to make sure they hadn't forgotten anything.

No matter how hard you try to prepare, your first move-in day will be anything but a breeze. The most important thing to remember is to take your time. As odd as it seems now, this day will be a memory in a flash and as Ferris Bueller famously said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Here are a few things you may not expect from dorm life, and hopefully, some of these tips will make your first college move-in day a little easier on everyone.

Dorms are basically freedom cells.

If you have ever opened a PB Teen catalog and seen how they portray dorm rooms, don't get excited. Depending on the school you chose, your dorm room size will vary, but it will be some shape or form of “small.” Girls, do not pack your entire room from home, your parents will take half of it home with them. Whether you know how much your roommate is bringing or not, you have to split the room evenly.

“I brought several bottles of shampoo because I didn't want to run out before I came home again,” said Jenni, a senior at University of South Carolina.

There are usually campus stores nearby for those kinds of items. My advice is to buy bed risers, which create so much more space for you to put storage.

The world no longer revolves around you.

Let's face it, 18-year-old college kids are selfish, and to many of them, college is just a big party. Especially in a coed dorm, things can get pretty loud and crazy. Sometimes RAs shut it down, sometimes they join in … it all depends.

A few things I never had to bother owning previously were earplugs and an eye mask, but I got a hold of some quick my first month of school when people were running through the halls screaming and my roommate kept her TV on all night.

“I liked the social parts of living in a dorm, but not when I was super tired,” said Becky, a sophomore at Radford University.

Don't be shy!

I wish I had made a better effort getting to know my hall mates, but I focused more on spending time with my roommates. Freshman year can be an entirely new chapter meeting all kinds of different people that you never knew before.

But if you sit on Facebook all day trying too hard to keep in touch with friends from home, then you will miss out on the people right around the hall. It's inevitable that you might lose touch with some people, but these are the years when you find out who your true friends are!

College has been the best three years of my life and so many of my friends agree. Don't abuse the freedom but run with it instead! Some people only get the chance to live in a dorm once and maybe for some, that is enough, but embrace it!

It's important to learn how to live in the same room with someone for at least a year. At the end of it all, you will have some funny stories to tell and possibly some advice to hand down.

[Images taken by Blogger Rachael Smith]

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