Freshman year has many firsts: being away from home, adventuring out to Fratland, and yes– living in the dorms. Although dorm life is dreaded by many, it can be tolerable and even somewhat enjoyable if you know the ropes. From living with roommates to eating rubbery chicken, here is your guide to surviving dorm life.
Roommates and floormates
Every freshman has a picture perfect idea in their head of their first roommate relationship. They imagine an instant bond, where they’ll stay up all night laughing and be life-long best friends. In reality, you should consider yourself lucky if you don’t want to kill each other by move-out day. As long as you respect each other and communicate when something is bothering you, you should be good to go. It’s important to remember that you’re sharing your room with another person and its equally as much their space as it is yours.
Getting to know your floormates is essential. Since most floors have at least 40 people, you have a good shot at making some new friends. Leave your door open when you’re in your room and don’t be afraid to go knock on your neighbors’ doors too. It may feel awkward at first, but everyone is looking to make new friends and they’ll appreciate the effort. While it’s good to befriend your floormates, think twice before hooking up. If things don’t work out, you’ll be forced to see them every day afterwards for an entire year. Can you say awkward?
Health and Hygiene
Healthy eating while living in the dorms isn’t always easy, but it’s certainly doable. The dining halls are buffet style and filled with delicious, all you can eat foods like pizza and cookies. In the everlasting attempt to avoid the Freshman 15, try to stick to healthier options more often than not. Healthy dining hall staples include: whole wheat pasta, grilled chicken, veggies and items from the salad bar. Penn State students are lucky because we have a diverse selection of food to choose from at every meal. Take advantage of it and be creative with what you put on your tray.
Studying and sleeping
Studying and sleeping are two major priorities for college students. It’s important to find a balance between the two so that you can earn good grades and stay healthy. Try your best to find a quiet place to study early on and don’t just settle for the library. Academic buildings around campus usually have open classrooms that students can use in the evening to study. The Washington Post reports that the average college student studies 15 hours per week. With this in mind, take the time to find a good study spot. It’s worth it.
Sleeping in the dorms can be a challenge. The walls are thin and the people are loud. On top of that, your roommate might be on a different sleep schedule than you. Invest in an eye mask for when your roommate is up late studying and ear plugs for when they stumble in at 3am the night before your midterm. Some people find that it’s helpful to have a conversation with their roommate to establish a “lights out” time.
Photo by Amanda Hunt