Living in close quarters with everyone in your hall is going to drive you to the brink of madness. As you may have noticed, dorms are small. As you have yet to notice, each person in your hall is nuts in a different way.
First, the roommate: That box-like room is bound to drive you to the point of extreme binge eating at some point during the year, whether you have known your roommate forever or just met.
Surprise! The freshman 15/50 comes from roommate stress, not dorm food.
Stacy’s stuff will spill over to your side. Or maybe Stacy will park her bike under her lofted bed. The key is to approach her and say, “Hey, Stace. I don’t really like the mud on our floor. Could you park your bike outside?”
Do not create a bike removal petition and have everyone in the hall sign it.
If you do that, Stacy might start spitting on your toothbrush, because passive-aggressive behavior results in passive-aggressive behavior. Which means no passive-aggressive post-its or texts or notes or tweets or Instagram DMs or LinkedIn updates.
A note telling Stacy to take her hair out of the drain (smiley face) is a fast track to making her angry. The smiley face in no way softens the blow. If you want Stacy to clean her hair out of the drain, tell her. In person.
If you have different cleanliness habits, divide the room in half. Their stuff on one side, your stuff on the other. Let each do with their space what they will. As you will discover, having a space of your own is rare. Allow each other half a dorm room. It will make a difference.
That being said, remember to respect each other as well. If you want to get silly in your room, and that silliness involves kicking the other out, make sure to have a conversation before-hand. Five nights in a row of locking someone out until 1 a.m. eats into sleep schedules, which eats into school work, which is what you are here for.
Also avoid talking smack about people in your hall while you are still in the hall. Keep in mind most halls have thin walls. Sound will seep through whether you want it to or not. Once one person hears the activity or silliness, they will notify others in the hall, a crowd may form, and that sucks, but I have seen in happen many a moon.
In the hall, there are no secrets. None. Seriously, privacy is nearly non-existent, and you are going to have to get over it. The lack of privacy also means if you have an issue with a roommate or a hall-mate, and you discuss the matter while in the hall, you may be overheard.
Once everyone finds out you think Stacy smells like soup, Stacy will find out. And Stacy will call you “meany” and want to fight you. Lucky for your face, the ROTC guy in your hall will hold her back, and you will only have to meet with the RA.
Although I never attended one, RA meetings sound similar to a middle school mediation. The problems are typically too stupid to fight about in the first place.
Try your best to accurately judge the severity of the issue at hand. Chances are, it is not worth anyone’s time.
Lastly, remember that despite all the annoyances, your hall can become your family. The most random, diverse and non-nonsensical family ever encountered, but a family. Your hall is your home for the next year. Aim to find the overarching good in each person.
At Christmas, you will have many college adventure stories to tell, but probably won’t tell most of them, because no one wants grandpa to have a stroke.
Collegian A&E Editor Cassie Maack at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @maackcl.