If you go to a college like mine, you are required to live on campus your first year. This can be such an amazing opportunity, but it can also be a little daunting if you don’t know anyone who is living in the residence halls, or if you’re far from home, or if you’re just a shy person. If this is the case, residence hall life may not seem like your thing. However, I’m entering my third year of living on campus in a residence hall, and I absolutely love the residence halls. I love living in a community, and I love seeing my peers everyday. While I’ve enjoyed my experience of living in the residence halls overall, I should acknowledge that it wasn’t always rainbows and sunshine. There were many times when I kind of disliked living on campus so close to people, and I learned that I’m more of an introvert than I really knew before entering college. On that note, I’m here to offer you seven helpful tips about living in the residence halls (or dorms) on your campus!
1. Do NOT date within your hall. You just got to campus, and everything is probably new and exciting, and you may develop an awesome connection with a member of your community, and you think it’d be a great idea to date them. If I can give one piece of advice that you actually take, I’d suggest you remain friends with the person until you’re no longer living in the same building. I know this can be really hard, but honestly if a relationship fails and the two people live in the same building, it can put tension on the whole community, and it can cause unnecessary drama.
2. Respect quiet hours and your neighbors. The chances of having brick walls or noise cancelling walls are hardly likely. The walls in dormitories are hardly thick, and are oftentimes paper-thin. Make sure that you’re being cautious of your noise level as well as your actions within your room. Conflicts arise quickly is one room in the hall is consistently and continually loud.
3. Say hi to everyone you pass in the hallway. Although you may not be best buds with everyone in the hall, you should still say hi to everyone in the hall to make sure you’re building community as much as you can. A simple hello is inclusive, positive, and may make someone who is feeling homesick feel more at home on campus.
4. Don’t touch hall gossip with a ten-foot pole. We always talk about gossip being bad, and yet we all fall in to gossip at one time or another. Make sure you’re avoiding gossip, remaining unbiased, and trying to get to know the people on your floor or in your building. People talk, and the talk isn’t always accurate, so try to focus on the good, and try to avoid succumbing to others gossiping. Also, if you hear something, you are more than welcome to verify the information with the person to whom it pertains.
5. Meet people where they are. We all come from different places, and we were all raised differently, we were raised with different religions, different cultures, and different socioeconomic factors. Make sure that you are aware that not everyone is the same, and that each person is different, so you shouldn’t expect everyone to be the exact same as you or think or feel the exact same way as you!
6. Clean up after yourself. Respect the hall! For many resident advisors, the hall is their home. They do not leave the hall at the end of the school year to go live somewhere else until school starts again. You want to make sure that you’re being aware of the messes you make, and make sure you’re cleaning up the common spaces.
7. Only study in your room during the day. Most college students plan their classes mid-day, if you study in your room while most everyone else is in class, you’ll be more productive, and you’ll get all your homework done so that you can hangout with friends in the evening. Studying in the daytime is hard for some people, but it really does make life a little easier.
So there you have my seven tips for living in the residence halls on campus! They may seem easy or simple or silly, but I promise they make college more enjoyable if followed. Learn the tricks of living in the residence halls early, and you’ll be more likely to have a drama free, fun first year on campus!