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The Truth About Living in a Dorm

One of the biggest aspects about coming to college is your living situation. Most freshman live in dorms located in residence halls, like myself. I'll admit that I was actually a little bit excited to live in a dorm room because I was excited to have a space that I could call my own and I was excited to decorate it (who isn't?). 

I had heard stories about living in dorms but didn't want to believe any of them until I experienced them for myself because everyone's college dorm life experience is different. Turns out that the common things I was told about dorm life are true and today I'm going to be sharing those with you. By no means am I trying to scare any of y'all, living in a dorm honestly is not bad at all and it's extremely bearable. You probably won't be in your room all that often either. Aside from sleeping and showering, most of your time will be spent outside of your dorm room.

Keeping Tidy Isn't Easy

I've always considered myself to be a very organized and for the most part a very tide & neat person. My roommate would say the same about herself, too. However, when we got to college, after living in the dorm for only a week, we were shocked at how quickly things became messy and out of place. No matter how hard we try to keep our room tidy, it always ends up a bit messy and we always find ourselves dedicating a portion of our weekends to put things back where they belong. 

With two girls living in such a small space and with all the hair, makeup, clothes, shoes & textbooks and binders; things get pretty messy real fast. I would definitely recommend bringing a small handheld vacuum with you to college. Neither myself or my roommate thought to bring one and found ourselves ordering one off of Amazon a few weeks ago because of the amount of dust and hair that was in our room.

I try to make a habit of cleaning my desk and the sink area at least once a week and I do make my bed daily because I hate to have messy sheets and my pillows thrown all over our floor. Even in doing these things, we still always find sorority shirts scattered around the room, water bottles next to the futon & the occasional piles of glitter that are still leftover from bid day (oops).

Little to no Privacy

For most students, you're going to have a roommate living in your dorm room with you. Only in rare situations will you have an entire dorm room to yourself. When you live with a roommate you aren't going to have much alone time. Sure you might have some while she's in classes but for the most part, you likely won't be alone in your room as often as you're going to wish you were. 

I am someone who values their alone time and almost relies on alone time to decompress and just be alone. My roommates class schedules differ slightly so I'm typically able to find small chunks of time where I can FaceTime friends, call my family back home or get some quiet studying or blog work done. 

Sure you don't have to be alone to take phone calls or FaceTime your friends and if your roommate is ok with that then 100% go for it. My roommate and I don't mind each other doing those things with the other in the room but typically whenever we need to make a call or take a call, we step out in the hallway just as a sign of respect because we don't want to bother them while they're studying or watching TV.

Sickness Spreads SO Fast

Living in such tight quarters when one person gets sick, you can almost expect that you'll catch it next. My best advice to avoid catching any sickness is to do laundry often (clothes, towels & your bedsheets), disinfect the door handles and sick area often & take your vitamins and drink lots of water.

If you do catch a bug, don't push yourself because that's just going to make it worse. Take it easy, gets as much sleep as possible, drink lots of water & make sure you're fueling your body with the right nutrients it needs to heal itself.

Your Sleep Schedule is Likely Going to Be Different Each Night

This one may vary depending on the individual but no matter how hard I try to go to bed around the same time each night, I just can't do it. With varying amounts of homework each night and sorority events scattered throughout the week I don't think I've gone to bed at the same time more than two nights in a row.

On top of your own schedule, your roommates schedule is likely going to be completely different. Being in two different sororities, my roommate and I each have chapter on different nights, meetings on different nights and functions on different nights. Sure you can always go to bed before your roommate gets home but if you're a light sleeper like me, you're just going to wake up when you hear them come in the room. Let's just say that you're going to take a lot of naps in college, and that's coming from someone who never took naps before college.

Little to No Storage 

I'm sure I'm not the first person to tell you but there's is not a lot of storage in your dorm room. Even if you bring storage bins & shelves, you're probably not going to have room for those either. I had originally brought a 3 drawer storage container that I had planned on keeping in my room to help keep my clothes organized but when I got here on move-in day I realized that I had no room for that big storage container. I've made do with the space I have but there definitely is not as much storage as I imagined nor would I have liked to have.

Crazy Temperatures

Obviously going to school in South Carolina can produce high humidity and ridiculously hot temperatures which in turn can create some pretty extreme temperatures in your dorm room. We have a humidifier in our room which has greatly happened because our room no longer feels sticky. We also have an air purifier which pulls all the dirt and dust out of the air which is nice because I honestly think it's saved us from getting super sick this semester! Both of these things are definitely worth the investment if you ask me.

Late Night Fire Drills

Thankfully, this hasn't happened in my residence hall (knock on wood) but your likely going to have a fire drill that goes off in the middle of the night or while you're busy doing something. Obviously you can't stay in your room for safety purposes so you'll have to drag yourself out of bed to evacuate the building. Everyone else will be frustrated too so just know you're not alone in that boat.


Roommates can be a tough one. If you're like me, you'll end up with a great roommate but even if this is the case, it's still a bit of a leaning curve to figure out just exactly how to live with another person in such close proximity. My roommate is one of my best friends here at USC so thankfully we haven't had any major disagreements but it definitely took some time to get used to sharing the room with another person. 

One of the common misconceptions about college roommates, in my opinion, is that you're going to be/have to be best friends with them. This is definitely not true. You do not have to spend every waking hour with your roommate and it's ok to do things without them. My roommate and I hang out often and we do lots of things together but there are times when I decide to grab dinner with some sorority sisters instead and that's totally ok. It's good to branch out and make new friends beyond those who you live with because you're likely not going to be living with the same roommate next year. My roommate and I both pledged different sororities which is nice because we both have our own groups of friends but we also have friends within each other's chapters. On the other hand, I wouldn't suggest completely ignoring your roommate either. You're going to live with this person for almost 10 months so you might as well at least try to make friends with them. In the event that something would happen, such as you getting sick, it will be nice to have them there to comfort you and help you it if you were to need anything.

What has living in a dorm taught you?


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