Dorm life is a part of the college experience that helps students become accustomed to independent campus life, but there are do’s and don’ts to it.
Get to know your Resident Assistant (RA)
Resident Assistants are there to help.
“As an RA, it’s important to be welcoming and intentional,” said Helen Rieke, an RA in Wright Hall. “You want to make sure residents feel comfortable talking to you about any sort of problem they have.”
RA’s typically host activities so they can interact with students, but doing so has been difficult since the pandemic began.
“While in a pandemic, fewer residents have attended hall programs in general, so I’ve tried to meet up with mine one-on-one to see how they’re doing and get to know them,” said Rieke. “I would also say as an RA you don’t want to only be involved in RA activities.”
Rieke suggests that it’s nice to have other leadership positions or just hang out with friends off-campus to take a break from the dorm.
Make your room feel like home
To make a dorm feel more homey, many students recommend bringing some decorations.
“A good tapestry or polaroids of your friends always helps when it comes to decorating your room,” said Rieke.
It also helps make the transition better from home to dorm living.
Bring supplies to help with your classes
Students also recommend bringing pencils, notecards, paper, pens, highlighters and notebooks.
Rieke said to make sure you have extras of those supplies because it makes things less stressful when you’re ready to go during a late-night study session.
Students are also advised to have some sort of technology device such as a computer or tablet.
For example, students who are in the Neeley School of Business, are required to come equipped with a PC laptop instead of a MacBook laptop.
Communicate with your roommate(s)
Communicating will help with addressing problems that arise between roommates, especially early on.
“So many times when a roommate conflict occurs, neither roommate previously addressed their concern with the other one,” said Rieke.
Rieke said RA’s are also there to help in navigating the conflict.
It is also important to discuss things like cleaning and what each roommates schedule looks like.
Follow the rules for housing
Rieke also recommends following the rules that housing and residence life spells out.
“The rules are there to ensure residents are safe and that the dorms are in good shape over the years,” said Rieke.
Following the quiet hours rule will make your dorm neighbors appreciative.
“While some policies might seem trivial, they are there for a reason (often from past problems with that action),” said Rieke.
Don’t bring too many clothes
When coming to college don’t bring every single item in the closet.
“My freshman year, I felt like I needed to bring everything from my closet, and I didn’t wear most of it because it took up too much space,” said Rieke.
There will be times you can always swap out clothes when going home for a break as well.
“Some clothes you do want to bring to campus are definitely shorts, athleisure, hoodies, a coat, rain jacket, rain boots and an umbrella because you never know what the weather is going to be because it will change quickly,” said Ashley Parks, a senior writing and theatre double major.
Other items not to bring
Items that students do not need to bring are a refrigerator and microwave as both are provided in the dorm.
Parks also wouldn’t recommend bringing a printer.
“You shouldn’t bring a printer because there are printing stations around on campus,” said Parks.
Cooking appliances and any home appliances such as toasters, candles, heaters or special types of lamps like lava or halogen lamps are prohibited.
Don’t study in your room all the time
Many students have found benefits in changing locations or finding a different scenery other than their dorm while studying.
“Especially during COVID-19, when most people have online classes, it can be challenging to be in your room for so long,” said Rieke.
There are plenty of study locations on campus, whether that is going to the library, going to landing zones or even the campus commons.