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Best Tips to Manage Your Dorm Life

Adjusting to college dorm life can mean feeling many intense stimuli at once: anxiety, tension, homesickness, loneliness.

Yet dormant life does not have to be a total shock to society. While you're used to the comforts of living at home right now, these tips for how to settle in can make planning for dorm life much easier.

How to make better arrangements to stay in the dorms:

Set rules with your colleague:

Unless you have stumbled upon the Holy Grail of the New Year (a single room), it is possible that you will be living with at least one other person in the foreseeable future. Maybe even two or three new people will be living with you in a bedroom-sized space, and you must all find that little home house.

The best attack plan is to go in with a friendly attitude, and let others know what your non-negotiables are up front. For example, most of the colleges have incoming students complete some type of roommate survey with questions about smoking, sleep schedules, and people over.

If you were paired with roommates using a simple questionnaire, see if you can reach out before the start of the fall semester to make sure that everyone is on the same page about these basic rules of the house.

Ideally, it is mostly consistent with your personalities and living preferences. If not, see if a compromise can be found, with one person carrying a noise machine and a sleep mask if they have an earlier bedtime.

Your roommate may turn out to be one of your best new college friends, but if they end up being just a person you have to endure in a shared space, it's OK too.

This is a simple checklist of ground rules that you may want to use to find the best way forward with your roommate.

1. Hear music with headphones — unless it's a group jam session

2. Switch off duties so no one gets stuck in the task of dishes or garbage

3. Discuss how you will buy shared items such as cleaning supplies

4. Ask someone before using personal items

5. Stay safe and accept rules on door locking or turning off lights

Schedule time alone outside your dormitory:

Learning to live in such a small space is going to be a change no matter what may have been your case back home. Also sharing a room with your sibling is a very different experience to unexpectedly bunking with a stranger (who will eventually become a close friend!).

Find a campus spot that can serve as your go-to "I need space" space, whether it's a cafe, library or even the dorm room or lounge area of another friend. Whether you just need a spot to refocus when you're hanging out for an interview, or a change of scenery from your bed to catch up on TV, arranging time outside your room can help you feel like your dorm is a comfortable place to come home after a long day of classes or events.

Set a budget for the month:

Starting on a strong financial basis as you enter college will help make it much easier to adapt to dorm life. Rather than struggling when it comes to dividing mutual expenses with roommates, getting a budget planned will help put you in a position of trust. It may not be easy to be on your own for the first time and tasked with staying on top of all your money decisions, but a budget can give your new life in a dorm environment some much-needed structure and organization.

There are plenty of resources available to help you set up a budget for the first time, but make sure you take into account any financial assistance or loans you receive for school items such as textbooks. If you have a work-study job or any other employment outside the school, you may need to work and get your first paycheck before you can budget properly for the months to come. Good tips include saving some emergency money, and preventing overuse of credit card. Therefore, there's less chance you're going to be stuck concentrating on repaying the loan instead of focusing on your schooling and classes.

Decorate the space in your dorm for less:

Customization is an easy way to make your dormitory feel like your own bedroom. Whether it's posters, pillows or plants, there are plenty of small accessories that you can make to help your dormitory have a more homely atmosphere. Think of the things you love most now in your home room — a cozy blanket, a comfortable chair for reading, or even a lamp with a great glow. If you can, bring with you a few of those items so you will feel comfortable and happy when you get to your house.

College dorm life is more than just your bed. In your building and on your floor, in the communal bathrooms and in the movie night lounges, there will be plenty of people to meet in. Decorating your dorm room will help you feel relaxed in a new living space, but make sure you get outside your room and discover all that your school has to offer.

Invest in proper sleep:

One of the things you can spend easily on when it comes to adjusting to life in the dorms is the greatest comfort of the creature — sleep. Not only are dorm room beds an odd size, they are famously uncomfortable. Bring a good pillow, too, and note that you're going to share your sleeping quarters with someone else now, so be mindful that catching any shut-eye might not be as easy as it was at home.

If you usually fall asleep due to the sound of the TV, consider buying a few earbuds that you can easily sleep in, so that you can listen to podcasts or music instead. Or, if you're worried about a roommate snoring or tossing and turning around all night, try to get your body used to wearing a mask or earplugs while you're sleeping.

Stay in touch with friends and family: 

College dorm life can be fun and full of new friends and things to do — above all of your actual college classes. But for the first time living away from home can cause some serious homesickness, which is a really normal response to going to school. Browse the campus and get outside the dorm room. It can be isolating to spend the whole day sitting alone in your bed, so getting some fresh air out in the quad may be helpful. It can also help remembering your connections back home and not dismissing them just because you're starting a new chapter in life.

Call your parents if you have a close relationship, or you might want to catch up with your siblings instead. Consider writing a letter (or email!) to a college friend who is attending a different college. Striking an old-fashioned friendship with pen pal will give you something fun to look forward to in the mail.

Plan Student Debt Ahead:

You may experience cultural shock for the first time when you live in the dorms, so it is best to avoid sticker shock too. Having a vision of your future and thinking about what life will look like once you graduate is part of being comfortable in college. Setting goals now can help you stay focused and on track during your career.

The strategy could include things like looking at the budget, how much you might need in student loans, if your financial assistance program is sufficient to cover expenses such as books or campus housing, and how you are going to repay those student loans. It's also a good idea to be familiar with your financial assistance package and overall the cost of your college education. As more students take up student debt without their parents ' assistance, it's important to consider your payment options.

Whatever your financial situation, finding ways to adjust to college sleeping life comes down to connecting with your roommate, making sure you invest in little comfort, and ensuring you have a strong financial strategy. Bearing these things in mind, you will be better equipped to graduate and enjoy yourself along the way.

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  1. Thank you for these amazing tips. I was searching about it. Really helpful. Thanks.
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