The Sunflower

How to get out of the dorms alive

The dorms provide ample study space, so you can get in those late-night cram sessions.


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Congratulations, you have made it to college. Next challenge: Surviving the dorms. You’re moving in and trying to get comfortable, but living with someone new is not always comfortable.

New places always present people with a mix of excitement and anxiety. There are a couple things you can do that will help you find your place in college.

Try to be one of the first out in dorm hallways, meeting new people and poking your head in open doors. Being “fashionably late” is not cool. It spells college outcast.

“You’ll want to leave your door open when you’re just lounging around,” returning dorm resident Michael Munoz said. “It helps people feel welcome to talk with you and hang out.”

Figure out the lay of the land. Finding out what times meals are served in the cafeteria, where to go when you need to get your mail, and where your campus newspaper, The Sunflower, can be found are all important.

We know college is not all about the parties, but that doesn’t mean you need to be holed up in your room nonstop. The rooms are small and can make anyone feel claustrophobic, so get out and find what there is to do around campus and town.

“When you do your homework,” resident assistant Sarah Steele said, “if it doesn’t require a ton of attention, do it in the lounge so you can get to know and bond with your floor mates.”

Find a time early on to go out with your roommate. Getting lunch on campus before the semester starts allows you and your roommate to navigate campus together. You can find shortcuts and become more comfortable moving from building to building between classes. It can also be a great excuse to get to know the person who is sharing your dorm room for the school year.

Eating good food can become a constant struggle. The dorm food isn’t terrible. It also isn’t all that great, and you get tired of it fast. Hopefully you have a mini fridge and can store some essentials like, milk and eggs.

The community kitchen is hardly used, and honestly, it’s a travesty. Cooking is not nearly as hard as you think it is, and having a fresh cooked meal every now and then can make you feel more at home.

Now is the time to lay down the rules. Talking about what you expect from your roommate and finding out what they expect from you is critically important. Knowing about someone’s habits beforehand can save you a world of annoyance and frustration later.

Lastly, do not sugar coat things when it comes to your roommate. That’s not to say be rude or be a thorn in their side, but also don’t let yourself be walked on. If something is bothering you, speak up. Your roommate may not know it bothers you, no matter how obvious you think you are with your exasperated sighs.

The dorms truly are an experience that is only as good as you make it. Stay open to new things and smile. There are enough unhappy people in the world as it is. You’re in college, enjoy it.

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