Surviving the ups and downs of dorm life

When living in a dorm for the first time, there will be some inevitable bumps in the road. Many freshmen will encounter a few common problems that upperclassmen will tell you are all in a day in the life of a dorm resident.

How to survive…

An ant infestation

Suddenly, they’re everywhere, all over your stuff, looking gross and making your skin crawl. You tolerate the situation until one morning you wake up and there are three on your pillow and one on your face. Quickly, squish the ones that are inches from your body. Throw away every piece of food not securely wrapped. Is it your roommate’s? You’ve got ants. This is no time for cordiality. Frantically kill as many as you can see using a can of Raid or the bottom of your shoe. The others will come into the open expecting a half-drunk can of Coca-Cola and instead find hundreds of dead comrades.With some luck, they will retreat until the genocide is forgotten, or the desire for stale pretzels becomes worth the risk. You’ve won… this round.


The first time you bite into the Sadler alfredo pasta that just doesn’t taste like dad’s, it hits the pit of your stomach like a $200 textbook: homesickness. Waking up in a place that isn’t your home can be upsetting in the first few weeks. Find something comforting and indulge yourself; eat some of your childhood Count Chocula, blast “The Middle” by Jimmy Eat World, call your parents. Part of embracing this new phase in your life is letting yourself feel nostalgic about the one you’re leaving behind. If that means occasionally staying up until four in the morning on a Sunday watching Lizzy McGuire, go right ahead. I guarantee there will be someone more than up for sharing popcorn and passing out on your twin XL at dawn.

Unbearable Heat

Transfer schools? You realize we live on a swamp, right? Find friends who have an AC unit and establish their room as the designated hang-out space. Buy a couple of fans and be prepared to sleep on top of your covers for a while. Worse comes to worst, you could also sleep in the lounge or basement, as they’re typically air-conditioned. Think of it as a fun bonding-through-suffering with the rest of your hall.

A roommate from hell

If you think the trouble might blow over in a few days, find a good friend whose floor you can crash on without bothering them too much. If you’re having more serious issues living with your roommate just remember that no one deserves to feel out of place in their own living space, and switching roommates is a viable option. Plenty of people change roommates their freshman year, even with people they handpicked. You need someone you can co-exist with peacefully. If it gets unbearable, meet with your RA. They are the only people that can really resolve this problem once you feel it’s out of your hands.

Being ‘sexiled’

You have several options in dealing with the sock on the door handle. This depends on how much you like your roommate. In the case of A) The BFF roommate: Aw yes, Queen! Get some booty. Find somewhere else to crash, because you know they’d do the same for you. In the case of B) The neutral roommate: quietly knock. If they don’t answer, take the hint and leave for a couple of hours. When you come back, chances are they’ll be done. In the case of C) The crap roommate: Bang on that door until your knuckles bleed, honey.

Exclusive hallmates

This can be a problem in freshman halls, even with all that group ice-breaking. Some people don’t realize they are no longer in high school and continue to fall into cliquish behaviour out of habit. Don’t bother with people who have the personality of a beige wall and want everyone around them to be the same! You will find your niche, whether it takes a week or a month ­­— be patient with yourself.


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