Tips and tricks on surviving dorm life


Riley Coesens

DePaul freshmen Riley Coesens decorated her desk and bookshelf to remind her of her own house

Gracie Smetana, Assistant Editor

As the end of the academic year quickly approaches, many Milford High School seniors are headed off to college at the end of the summer. This includes transitioning from the traditional home-style of living to a dorm room and having communal bathrooms. Here are some tips and tricks for navigating the dorm-room lifestyle for our MHS Seniors:

First, it is necessary to set ground rules with one’s roommate. Since this person will probably be a stranger at first, it is essential to set up ground rules that both roommates can agree on. “I highly recommend setting rules with your roommates to make the transition easier,” said 2021 MHS graduate Rylie Kennedy, a freshman at Bowling Green State University. “My rules were take out the trash and recycle once a week, alternating every week, alternate who does the dishes, and quiet time at 10:30 on weeknights,” shared Kennedy.

Additional examples include listening to music with headphones on while in the dorm and trading off chores, so no one person doesn’t get stuck with cleaning every single week. Also, it is very important to differentiate between one’s individual items that they don’t want to share and some communal dorm supplies. Always ask before using another roommate’s personal belongings.

“Disagreements and miscommunications happen; there are growing pains that come with accommodating another person’s needs while also valuing your own,” said 2021 MHS graduate Riley Coesens. Lastly, make sure both roommates agree to simple tasks like keeping their items on their side of the room, turning off the light when evading the dorm and always making sure it is locked when you leave and arrive. It is also important to ask the other roommate before inviting people over to the dorm as it is their living space as well.

Scheduling time out of the dorm is also crucial to having a successful relationship with one’s roommate. As roommates, you will already be spending quite some time in the same room, so it is important that both roommates have alone time in and out of the dorm. Having a place to relax like a cafe or a library will make the living and adjusting process much easier. Scheduling time outside of the dorm will make the dorm seem more relaxing and like a sanctuary rather than the place where you study all the time. Plus, allowing the other roommate to have relax time in the dorm may be nice for both roommates.

Setting a monthly or weekly budget will also be very helpful. Until this point, most high school students have been living under their parents roof and finances. Setting a budget may be very helpful to avoid spending too much money. A budget is also helpful to stay on track with one’s meal plan to make sure not too much or too little money is being spent each week. Having a budget will also create financial order and structure for high school seniors as they are on their own for the first time in their lives.

Decorating your dorm can also ease the dorm life experience. Having items that remind one of their childhood homes makes the dorm feel more comfortable and calming. “Pictures of your friends, your favorite blanket, or your favorite book can make your dorm feel more homely,” said current Eastern Michigan student Cassidy Pakkala.

However, too many decorations can also be a bad thing as you don’t want the room to be full of clutter. Some things to make a dorm room feel more like home are posters, pillows, blankets, or anything that create a sense of comfort. “Your dorm should reflect your likes and values while also being somewhere you can hang out and have fun,” shared Pakkala. Also, don’t buy anything too expensive because it could get broken while one is attending class.

Another tip to making dorm life easy and comfortable is staying in touch with hometown family and friends. Some MHS seniors are traveling far away whereas some are staying local, but staying in touch to avoid homesickness applies to all. Living away from home for the first time can be a big adjustment for most high school seniors. One way to avoid homesickness is by keeping busy, especially in the first few weeks of college. Calling parents or siblings, even friends from a different university can give students something to look forward to if they are feeling homesick while away at school.

Lastly, in order to have a positive college experience, putting oneself out there is important. This includes making new friends or participating in activities that one normally wouldn’t do. Whether this includes hanging out in the common area of the dorm or inviting people over, making an effort to put oneself out there is key to having a positive and successful freshman year of college. Illinois State Freshman Ella Glaspie shared, “My roommates and I kept our door open a lot at the beginning of the year and that’s how we made some of our new friends.”

Going to college and getting the experience of living in a dorm is a very fun and exciting time in high school seniors’ lives. However, it is also a time of many transitions and it’s important to make sure that the dorm is a comfortable place to go to at the end of the day. Being comfortable with your roommate will also enhance the dorm life experience. “Be upfront about issues and respectful of their perspective whether you’re best friends or strangers from the start,” said Coesens.