Going from living with your parents to living in a college dorm is one of the most bizarre shifts you will ever make in life. You go from a completely sheltered environment where no self-sufficiency is expected from you at all, to living in a closet with three strangers who have also never been expected to take care of themselves before. Where your family is essentially a group of strangers you live with because they were chosen for you by birth, your dorm roommates are a group of random strangers you live with because they were chosen for you by some sort of housing system put in place by a college.
You have to love your family, to a degree, because you share the same blood as them, or because they are your family. You have to love your college dorm roommates because… well, you don’t have to. You probably won’t love them. You will be pretty lucky all things considered if you even like them.
Regardless, there are plenty of reasons to be excited about living in a dorm. There are plenty of drawbacks as well, ones that you will notice immediately, and ones you will pick up on over time. It is far from a perfect experience, but it is one you can turn into a positive if you work at it. Living in the dorms is the first step of your college journey, whether you are working towards getting the job of your dreams, or getting Rutgers masters in social work. If you follow this guide to making the most of your college dorm life, it will not be the low point of your college journey.
Establish a Safe Space
Chances are your dorm is too small to even establish a corner that just belongs to you. So find a place outside of your dorm where you feel comfortable and alone. It can be the library, a meal hall, a nice field, even under a staircase in your favorite building. Somewhere you can go all of the time to get away from it all.
Put Yourself Out There
In a living situation like a dorm hall, you will be forced to be social. A lot of the time when people are put in this position, their response is to go back into their shell and get as much alone time as possible. Instead, really try to embrace the beauty of the situation you are in. Think of every fellow student as a potential friend instead of as a social obligation.
Get Away Sometimes
While it is important to think about your situation positively and fully embrace it, it can be a lot easier to do that if you give yourself some breaks. You don’t need to spend every weekend in your dorm to fully maximize your experience. Take a chance to spend a few days at your parent’s house, go camping, or even take some of your student loan money and rent a hotel room for a couple of nights.