Everyone had their own expectations before arriving on campus about how their lives in the dorms would be. We all thought about what it would be like to live with some stranger we have never met before. I was extremely nervous when I came to college.
Many questions raced continuously through my head for the weeks leading into move in day: Will she like me? Will we get along? Will she wear my clothes without asking? Most importantly: Will she eat all my food? Under most circumstances, being thrown into a room with someone you don’t know has high potential to end terribly; however, there is also room for it to turn out really well. In college, they simply put you in a fairly small room with another person and basically say, “Don’t kill each other! It’s too much paper work.”
Being condensed in a room with another person can be challenging to say the least. The first thing roommates must figure out is how they want their room and furniture to be set up. And then there are the awkward questions. Those that neither one of the roommates want to be the first to answer just in case the other disagrees, such as: Who gets top bunk? Which side of the room are the beds going to be? Where are we putting the couch? Even if you come with a plan on move in day, the plan ends up changed at least ten times. I changed the layout of my room 15 times before my roommate said to keep it one way for a while. After getting the room situated, it was time to make friends. This meant leaving my room to talk to other strangers.
Going from the last child in the house, to living with 20 other girls the same age was a huge change for me. I imagined, being a freshman, that all the upperclassmen would leave the younger class, like myself, behind since they had already made connections among each other. However, it is completely the opposite. There is an upperclassman on my wing that goes around to everyone’s door in the morning and night saying, “I hope you have a good day,” and “good night.” My amazing resident assistant invites everyone to join her in watching shows in her room and talk about their day.
All the upperclassmen are welcoming and genuinely glad that everyone is here. The feeling they give me is much more exciting than I ever thought I would feel. Coming from a place where girls found any reason not to like others made it difficult for me to be willing to live with 20 strangers on a wing, about 100 in the whole dorm. Even though many have a solidified group of friends, we keep open arms to others who might want to join into the group.
College is a place for social butterflies to thrive. With all the socializing that is basically mandatory in the dorm, it is very hard to get some time by yourself. I have learned, however, that ‘me’ time is important, even though having a day for yourself is hard to come by in college. Living in the dorm with other people, being a part of group homework sessions, attending classes, meals and a number of other campus activities does not leave much open space in your schedule.
There are many more pros than cons when I think about living in the dorms. When I am stuck on a writing assignment or a project, I know there are other students on my floor who can help. I also know, if they don’t have time, they will point me to the library where the Peer Learning Center is located. The people in the dorms are my new family, my home away from home. Families get annoyed and tired of each other, they fight, they laugh together, but more importantly, they love one another.
There is love on this campus, a love built by people who are missing their homes and families. We support each other and lift each other towards our goals. I am glad to live in the dorms because it has given me the opportunity to meet people I would never have been able to normally meet.