Many students going off to college have a set of specific expectations about how life in the dorm will be.
Common myths about college dorms debunked
Myth 1. Your roommate needs to be your best friend
You don’t need to be best friends with your roommate to make it work. You can still have a great relationship with your roommate, even if the two of you are not close. Some of my friends were not close with their roommates at all. In fact, they would rarely talk to each other.
But, it actually worked out quite well because they typically always had a quiet space to study without a lot of distractions from their roommate always asking them to go out. But while you don’t need to be friends, mutual respect and consideration is key!
Myth 2. You can get away with partying in your dorm room
This is 100 percent false and is actually a really terrible idea. Your neighbors will hear the music and your RA will probably give you a citation if there are any contraband items.
Myth 3. Communal bathrooms are gross
This is a common misconception but the reality is that communal bathrooms are actually cleaned quite frequently. I have lived in dorms with and without communal bathrooms, and the dorm with the communal bathroom was actually quite a bit cleaner.
Having your own bathroom or suite-style bathroom can be nice because you get more privacy; however, having to clean the bathroom regularly can be dreadful. Communal bathrooms are really not as bad as people make them sound. Also, it’s just another way to get to know more people on your floor.
Myth 4. Eating alone at the dining hall is weird
Eating alone in the dining hall is NOT weird in college. Many students eat alone, because it is often difficult to coordinate schedules with friends to eat at the same time, since everyone has their own class and extracurricular schedules. It is not weird at all and no one really even pays attention if you are eating alone.
In college everyone does their own thing. It’s not like high school; no one cares if you eat alone and almost everyone does it at least once.
Myth 5. The dining hall doesn’t have healthy options and you’ll gain 15 pounds
Almost every dining hall has healthy options, such as salads. While it may get repetitive, a common mistake new students make is having dessert at every meal. While it may be tempting to see all this delicious food in front of you, make sure to keep your portions similar to what you would eat at home and don’t eat pizza every day.
It is definitely possible to avoid the freshman 15; just remember to choose the healthy options at the dining hall (at least most of the time!)
Myth 6. Your hall-mates will be your closest friends in college
While this is sometimes the case, because you are in close proximity to one another, this definitely isn’t always true. Don’t pressure yourself to try to force friendships on people in your hall if it doesn’t feel natural.
There are many other places you can make friends in college, such as sports, clubs, classes, or Greek life. I know some people who didn’t have any friends in their hall, but found many friends elsewhere.
Myth 7. Your dorm is not going to feel like home
You are probably living away from home for the first time and it is often difficult to make your dorm feel like home. It definitely can feel like home if you decorate it in a way similar to your room at home. Or, use similar decorations to your room at home and bring photos of your family, pets, and friends. And be patient, eventually it will feel like home.
Myth 8. It is difficult to sleep because it’s always loud
This is not always true. While this may be true sometimes on the weekends, most college dorms have noise restrictions somewhere around midnight on weeknights. Most people are able to fall asleep just fine. However, if you are having trouble sleeping, earplugs and white noise, such as a fan, are great options.
Myth 9. You will never be able to study in the dorm
Many students do most of their studying in the dorm–either in their room or a study lounge. Almost every dorm room has a desk for each person, and there will also likely be study lounges on almost every floor. However, the library is a good alternative if you really can’t study in the dorm.
Myth 10. You can leave your finished laundry in the washer or dryer and no one will touch it
There usually aren’t enough laundry machines in the dorms. This means that sometimes people will be waiting for a machine to finish so they can do their laundry. If you leave your laundry in there for longer than the time it takes to wash or dry, someone is going to move it.
To avoid this issue, set a timer for the exact amount of time it says on the machine, maybe even for a few minutes less so that you get back to your laundry before someone touches your clothes. This will alleviate someone accidentally taking your clothes too.
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