In pop culture, dorm life is either glorified or depicted as absolutely horrific. There are movies that portray roommates from hell who turn out to be deranged killers, which obviously play into everyone’s fear of having an incompatible roommate. And then there are TV shows like throwback classic Felicity that give us unrealistic expectations of how big a dorm room can be (spoiler alert, they’re usually upsettingly tiny). But unless you have a terrible roomie or you luck out and have a massive room, dorm life isn’t exactly disastrous or glowing. There are pros and cons to it, just like everything else about college.
I can’t predict what kind of dorm experience you’ll have, especially in your freshman year when you have such little flexibility in where you live and who you’ll live with. But I can let you guys in on these eight cold hard truths about living in a dorm. From roommates getting down and dirty, to your roommate literally being dirty, here are a few things you need to watch out for.
Dorm Sex Is A Pain In The Butt (So Is Masturbation)Getting it on in an extra long twin bed is hard enough; getting it on in an extra long twin bed without having to worry about a roommate walking in or listening in is even harder. Be upfront about hook ups with your roomie, whether you're having sex or not. You don't want any passive aggressive BS that'll make your relationship stressful, especially if you and your roommate don't exactly get along to begin with. Oh, and if you're masturbating (yes, it'll happen in a dorm), try to be...discreet. Fresh Meat
You And Your Roommate Probably Aren't Going To Be BFFsYou either hear about roommates who end up becoming best friends, or roommates who end up hating each other. What you don't hear about is anything in the middle: Civil indifference. Honestly, this is probably the most common relationship between college freshman roommates, and it's underrated. Being friendly but not too emotionally attached one way or another is a stress free way to live; don't worry about not being best friends. Legally Blonde
You're Going To Encounter Some Serious Grossness In The Communal BathroomIf there's one thing I learned from dealing with a communal bathroom in my freshman year, it's this: People are disgusting. People don't wash their hands, they don't clean up their hair from drains, and they leave toilets unflushed sometimes, too. Rude awakening! Don't hesitate to have hand sanitizer on hand, and please, don't be a slob in public spaces. Carrie
Your Dorm Probably Isn't Going To Look Like A Pinterest BoardTry as you might, but between classes, socializing, and unlimited naps, decorating your dorm and making it your dream abode is a lot harder than people say it is. Do what you can as early in the semester as possible. I assure you, you're going to be too lazy to do anything if you wait too long. And don't stress if it doesn't end up looking like a fairy light dreamland. Nobody else's room will either. Pinterest
You Might Not Be An Ideal RoommateA lot of people complain about roommates from hell, but what if you're that roommate? Cohabitation requires a level of self-awareness that you might not have had to encounter yet. For example, I knew that I was messy and disorganized, but sharing a room with two neat freaks made me realize just how out of control my messiness was. I tried to make my corner of the room less messy, and while it was annoying to clean up after myself so much, I needed to realize that my messiness wasn't all that welcome. Maybe your problem isn't being messy: Maybe you're a control freak, maybe you are too loud at late hours. Swallow your pride and tweak your behavior to keep the peace. That's part of growing up. Dear White People
Anticipate Having People Who Aren't Your Roommates Being Around 24/7Living in a double? Don't be surprised if your room starts to feel like a triple or even a quad if your roomie always has a few friends who come through. Or, worse, you might end up having the party dorm, the spot where your floor loves to congregate. If this happens and you're not feeling it, just be honest with your roommate about it. Say, hey, you have nothing against them, and you want to have your room be a little more chill at late hours. That should give them a hint. Also, make sure you're not the person who is virtually living in a friend's dorm. Your friend might not mind, but if they're sharing a space with someone else, you can guarantee that their roomie might not always want you around. Privacy and space is hard enough to come by, so don't be that person. A Different World
You Might Live In A Dorm With Rules Or A Lifestyle You Don't Jive WithSome schools have really strict dorm rules in general, like having curfews or not allowing visitors to stay for a weekend. I lived in an all girls dorm my freshman year, which made visitation between the sexes painful. You might end up in a co-ed dorm and be cool with it, but realize that your dorm is a party dorm that attracts a lot of obnoxious people. Every dorm has its own vibe, so definitely be prepared for that ahead of time. Research your dorm online and see what people have to say about it so you know what you're getting into. LIFE
You Might Become A Dorm HermitDorms are obviously a great place to chill, sleep, nap, and all of that. But remember to, you know leave sometimes. This might not be a tough suggestion for many of you, but some of you might end up being dorm hermits, never leaving the comfort of your squeaky bunk bed. Don't close yourself off too much. Go out, walk around campus, study at the library instead, chill in the common room...it'll do you some good and your roommate won't always wonder why you're always in the room. The To-Do List
What is it about dorm life that you’re most looking forward to? What are you least looking forward to? Tell us in the comments!