Dorm Etiquette

Living in a college dorm room is a significantly different experience than any other living arrangement you will ever experience. It involves sharing a very small room with someone you may or may not know very well before you move in. as such, there are a few guidelines that new students should remember before they end up being “that guy” that no one likes sharing a residence hall with or getting thrown out for rules violations.

First, DO get to know the rules of your residence hall. These are important to know, as you can get in trouble if you violate them. There are probably going to be items that you cannot have such as toasters and candles, so do not waste your time or space in the boxes you pack to put them in there. There will probably be rules against you having alcohol in the dorm, especially if one or both of the people living in the room is underage. Breaking this policy can be a good way to get the university police to show up to your room and crash your party with a handful of minor in possession tickets. There may be designated quiet hours. If so then you should follow them. They are made so people can sleep and study in peace.

DO get to know the person you will be living with as soon as possible. If you know someone of the same sex who is going to the same school with you and you think you can get along then by all means live with them. Learn what they like to do, what gets on their nerves, and a basic outline of their schedule. If they have a habit of going to bed very early and you enjoy staying up late watching the History Channel then you should probably either adjust your schedule or arrange your room so you can watch TV while they sleep. Also arrange who will bring what for the dorm. If you both show up with a 40 inch LCD TV, a PS3, and a refrigerator then odds are you will both need to make a trip back to Best Buy to return some of these things.

DO collaborate with your roommate and make your room suit your needs and style. Rearrange the furniture in a way that will give each of you enough space to live and work with your own bubble. Find posters that you can both agree on. This is going to be your home for the school year. It should be comfortable and inviting.

DO have a microwave and coffee pot. There will be times that you will not have the time or effort to stop studying, walk to the dining hall, and get something to eat. You will also need that occasional boost of caffeine. Keeping plenty of things like Hot Pockets, popcorn, and TV dinners that can be heated and eaten quickly as well as some nice strong coffee will keep you well fed and energetic.

DO clean your room often. The hair from shaving, the empty Coke cans, and your socks that you wore to go running in yesterday will not be appreciated. A dirty room will not only cause some very interesting smells, but it will also increase the chances that one of you will get sick. That being said, just because your laundry that you have neglected to do for three weeks is in a hamper does not mean it does not smell.

DO NOT make too much noise. Your game of Call of Duty with surround sound at max volume will not be appreciated when the person next door is trying to sleep, is sick, or has a test the next morning. It will make you an unwanted part of the hall very quickly.

DO NOT walk around or go to the shower barefoot. This is especially true if you have communal bathrooms. You will end up catching athlete’s foot and spreading it. No one wants to spend money on Tinactin, even if John Madden does make the commercials fun. Spend four bucks on a pair of flip flops.

DO NOT create double standards. If you listen to a particular genre of music that your roommate does not like through your speakers then you cannot tell your roommate to listen to their music through headphones. There are many situations similar to this, and they will all relate to tension between you and your roommate.

DO NOT cross your roommate’s boundaries. If your roommate objects to someone of the opposite sex sleeping in your bed with you then do not invite your new love interest to spend the night if they are there.

DO NOT leave your door unlocked. People will steal things. Sometimes these things are expensive.

While this list is in no way comprehensive, it is a good general idea of what you need to keep in mind before you move into your dorm. They will save you a lot of hassle, and you will already have enough of that thanks to your math professor.