Coming into college, many students are unsure what to expect of living on campus. Is freshman hazing real? Are college parties really as crazy as they’re shown on TV? In reality, much of what you hear about the college lifestyle before you spend a night in the residence halls are far from the truth. The following are some of the biggest myths about life in the dorms.
Perhaps the biggest exaggeration about college that Hollywood loves to promote is the myth that life in college dorms is one big, alcohol-fueled adventure. While partying does go on in the dorms occasionally, it’s not as widespread as some would have you believe. Because most Rams of drinking age live off-campus, many would-be party people in the dorms struggle to obtain adult beverages in their halls or travel off-campus for parties. You’ll find your way if the party scene is your thing, but if it’s not, there are plenty of others with you, and no pressure to drink.
Your dorm’s dining hall is the best one on campus
The dining hall by your dorm is awesome. It’s right there whenever you’re hungry, and a lot of the people you live with eat there too. Isn’t that awesome? It is not, however, the best one on campus. People may make arguments for their favorite places, be it Durell or AV or Braiden, whatever. Every place has its upsides, downsides and specialty dishes, and they’re all worth trying out. Also: Durell Express is open the latest at night. It is your friend. Eat there at midnight and cry over the homework you have left to do.
Hall sports don’t exist
The next myth is courtesy of your RA, who in the process of trying to get everyone to behave one last time before the semester starts, will say that horseplay in the halls is not allowed and claim that hall sports don’t exist. Hall sports most certainly do exist, and the more creative you make them, the more fun they are. The duration and size of games such as Hall Soccer depend on the culture of your hall or floor and the temperament of your RA, but generally, hall sports exist as long they are not played too loudly.
Your hall-mates will be your closest friends in college
Another exaggeration about college life is the idea that the people in your hall will be your closest friends throughout college. Before this starts to sound too cynical, let me just say this: They can be. However, the bond you will share with your hall-mates really depends on everyone, from their interests to their priorities and personalities. No one gets along with absolutely everyone, and it would be unwise to expect to make lifelong bonds with anyone just because you live in close proximity to them. Your relationship with your hall-mates will grow organically. There is no need to feel pressure to make fast friends overnight. Some upperclassmen still hang out with their dorm-mates every day, while others chose to let their ties end when they left their halls. That being said, you will be living with the people in your dorm for a whole year, sharing the ups and downs of adjusting to life on campus together, and it doesn’t hurt to at least try to treat them like a family.
Your dorm will never feel like home
Finally, one of the biggest myths about life in the residence halls is that your dorm can never feel like home. While there will never be a home quite like the one you grew up in, life in the dorms presents you with a fresh opportunity to build a new one all by yourself. You will be surrounded by dozens of others getting likely their first taste of independence, and it’s up to every new Ram to decide what they want that to look like. The first year in the dorms can be frightening, exhilarating and liberating, and there will be plenty of mistakes, awkward moments, surprises and thrills along the way. While it is probably not going to feel familiar right away, in the coming weeks and months, your dorm will become a place of solace amidst any high or low that you can return to and take comfort in among the dozens of others sinking and swimming with you.
Collegian Reporter Sean Kennedy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @seanskenn.