Where you’re going to live during the first year of your college career is a big deal, and one more thing to have to think about when preparing yourself for the transition. But don’t fret, this guide is designed to get you through it with as little stress as possible. Just follow these simple tips:
Take Control of Your Roommate Situation
Any day now you’ll be receiving the roommate survey. FILL IT OUT. Seriously. There is a reason your university has sent it to you; they actually read it. They aggregate all of that information and match people with others they’re most likely to get along with. How else would they do it? I don’t think colleges can afford to do it by random assignment; too many ingredients in the mix and the recipe could be a disaster if they weren’t diligent.
I know it’s very tempting, but don’t room with someone you know from high school, especially a close friend. This is in your own best interest for two reasons: 1) It will hinder you from making more friends than you would have, and 2) You might drive each other nuts living in such close quarters.
If you live with a close friend, you won’t be forced to step out of your comfort zone and make new ones. Live with someone new so you can learn about your roommate’s culture, his or her friends, etc.
What if you live with your friend and it is a complete disaster? It could end up ruining your friendship. It’s the same thing when you travel with someone. In both instances, you get to know each other so well that it will make or break your friendship.
Just fill out the roommate survey and hope that you get someone who won’t kill you in your sleep!
Live in the Dorms
If your budget allows for it, you should live in a hall-style dorm (as opposed to suite-style) your first year. In a hall-style dorm, you meet many more people because often people leave their doors open for pop-ins. Take advantage of this and get to know your neighbors. I would also pick a co-ed dorm, unless you’re okay with living in an all testosterone or estrogen environment.
You have so much time to live off-campus during college. You can do that for the remaining years. It’s the very first year of school when we start learning who we are, and the relationships we build are a huge part of that. Giving yourself that opportunity is best cultivated in the dorms.
Have an Open Mind
When filling out your survey about what kind of living arrangement you want, try to keep an open mind. It’s so challenging to do that when you want to stay within your comfort zone, because yes, it’s all scary and you might want to control as much of it as you can. But let yourself go a little bit. Being a little flexible might really work out for your overall first-year-college-experience. If you don’t get your first choice on the type of roommate or housing you want, make the best of it because chances are that it will turn out much better than you anticipated.
Get Out and Meet People
If you’re living in a hall-style dorm (or any dorm for that matter), use it to your advantage. Many dorms are multi-level so get your butt to the second and third levels to meet the people up there too. You will likely never have this kind of experience or networking opportunity again so live it up. Get to know as many people as you can because this is your chance to make lasting friendships. Good college friends are the ones you will have for the rest of your life. Don’t let yourself miss out on that.
Have you just finished your freshman year in the dorms? We’d love to know about your experience!