The early college years are full of some of the best and most unique experiences of your life. You have roommates, suitemates, hallmates and an array of classmates - social circles are endless, classes are new and maybe even exciting and Mom and Dad are no longer setting your curfew. Adjusting to dorm life can be difficult, however, and if you don’t settle in at the beginning, the process gets increasingly harder. Here are some great tips and reminders for acclimating to your new living situation.
Create Boundaries. Love sharing clothes, shoes and school supplies? Make sure you and your roommate(s) are on the same page before just grabbing what you want to borrow or vice versa. Living in close quarters with someone - whether you’ve just met or have been friends for years - can be stressful; set the boundaries early to avoid future tiffs even if it’s as simple as changing the channel or turning on music.
Stay Organized! The lack of household chores means taking it upon yourself to be neat and tidy. Dorm rooms can be a bit stuffy, so utilize bed risers and under-the-bed storage bins, over-the-door hooks and multi-tiered hangers. Use a TrackR for your bags, laptop case, keys and other valuables to keep your items organized and your mind at ease!
Keep a Diary. This can be a food and exercise diary, a mood diary or even a place to keep track of your building memories and thoughts. Living in the dorms can be chaotic and unpredictable, so giving yourself a space to track your habits and emotions is important. This will help you eat, sleep and live well, while also providing a nice break from your textbooks.
Join Extracurriculars. Not all at once, but join something. Whether it’s a political club or an intramural sport, part of living in the dorms is spending time outside of them! Meet friends who don’t live inches away from you, and remind yourself that you have hobbies and interests. Explore your campus for opportunities that are appealing to you.
Set a Monthly Budget. Maybe you have a job or perhaps your parents give you a certain allowance for your time on your own. Use your money wisely - living on your own (especially in the dorms) can provide ample opportunities to eat out, shop and buy new items for your small space. Start preparing yourself for managing money by budgeting for gas, hygiene products, food and more; this way you know when to treat yourself too!
Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should. It’s tempting to watch TV until 2am, buy endless amounts of junk food and skip out on doing your homework. Living on your own is a new form of freedom, and exercising this right seems imminent, but setting your own rules is imperative. Habits your form in your living space are harder to break down the line - create expectations that allow you to come back to a happy home.