How To Adapt to Life in College Dorms

As you enter your first year of college, you are bound to encounter personal anxiety over the new place, new home, and new friends-don't worry, you are not alone.  Every college freshman experiences some level of nervousness when they start their college adventure.  Here are some tips to make your adjustment to life in the dorms easier. 

  1. Remember you are not alone. You are not the only new kid on the block.  Every person in your freshman dorm is in the same situation as you.  This is a great way to bond with new friends-talk to other freshman in your dorm about your own fears and anxieties.  Chances are, they are feeling the same way and will be glad to have someone to talk to about it.
  2. Participate in orientation activities.  Every college that has on-campus housing for freshmen has some kind of orientation program for them.  Yes, it may seem like a lame thing to do, but it is a great way to meet other new students.  The people who run the orientation program are generally upper-classmen who were in your shoes recently-they can serve as an excellent resource for you.  Don't be afraid to go to all of the orientation activities, they are there to make your adjustment to college life easier.
  3. Step outside of your comfort zone. When you were in high school, you most likely had a core group of friends who had known you for a long time.  The beauty of college is being able to start over with people who you are just meeting as an adult.  They don't know about all the stupid and embarrassing things you may have done in kindergarten; they will only know what you want them to know about you.  For this reason, try new things and don't be afraid to try on new personalities.  This is a great time to figure out not only who you are, but also who you want to be.
  4. Use your resources. Your dorm provides you with resident advisors (RAs) or freshman counselors (FCs).  Make sure to attend those introductory dorm meetings that your RA or FC plans for you.  It's a good way to see who else is on your floor and to ask questions about dorm life.  Your RA or FC is there for you-use him or her to your advantage.  
  5. Be safe. Listen to your RA or FC about various safety tips around campus.  Remember to stay with friends late at night and to avoid dangerous parts of your new town.  When using the shared bathroom most freshmen have, wear shower shoes and try to be cautious about leaving your things in the bathroom, you never know who is going to do what with your toiletries.  
  6. Don't forget to ENJOY it! College is about having fun and making new friends as well as learning new things.  Living in a dorm is a great way to do so.  You will have friends on hand to order pizza with at 3am and study partners for finals.  Do crazy things, take pictures, share funny stories-enjoy yourself.  Just make sure you are safe and that you have fun.  You are only young once!

Remember that your friends and parents are just a phone call away and that every person's adjustment period is different.  Take your time getting comfortable and above all else, be yourself.  Your new friends will love you for it.  

 

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