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8 tips to surviving your first dorm room experience

Students moving into Ohio University dorms may be living on their own for the first time, which can be a challenge. Not knowing what to buy when living alone for the first time can be scary, along with not knowing what to expect when living on campus. 

A survival guide on how to live in the dorms is essential to have. Here is what to expect when living on campus:


For those living with a roommate, or multiple roommates, it is important to set boundaries. Establishing boundaries, especially early in the year, can be beneficial to ensure a healthy living space for everyone in the dorm.

It is also important to remember not everyone will have the same living habits, so finding a middle ground early on is essential. Examples of boundaries to set are times when friends can come over, when to turn off the lights, how often to clean the room and what can or cannot be shared.

By establishing guidelines and boundaries, it will help avoid awkward conflicts or uncomfortable situations in the future. 

Develop healthy living habits

Developing healthy living habits can help avoid conflict when living with roommates. Healthy habits to do every day include making your bed, washing dishes after using them, keeping your side of the room clean and respecting communal spaces.

Having these healthy habits can also be rewarding. Coming home to a clean and organized room after a long day of classes or activities can be refreshing for those living in shared spaces. These habits also add to one’s physical and mental well-being.

Limited space

There is not a lot of storage or closet space in the dorms, so buying extra storage is recommended if you wish to bring more items to campus.

A good tip to save space for clothes is to rotate your closet when living on campus. Bringing summer clothes for warmer months and trading for winter clothes during the winter academic breaks are essential habits for saving space.

Having clothes for any type of event, like formal wear and business wear, is also beneficial. By only packing the essentials, you could save a ton of storage space in the dorms.

Be prepared to get sick

When living in a shared space and a residence hall, expect to get sick more often. Sharing communal spaces means sharing more germs that can spread fast. It would be wise to bring extra medication and wash your hands regularly.

There are also ways for those living in the dorms to feel more comfortable when they do get sick. You could consider buying extra cold and flu medication, hand sanitizer and vitamins when shopping for move-in. Purchasing a first-aid kit can help take care of many small injuries as well.

Participate in dorm events

You should consider participating in events hosted in the dorms to get to know those in the building and make friends.

Living on your own for the first time is scary, and others are going through the same kind of emotions. Getting to know those around you can help build friendships or help you find your people.

By going to these events, it also helps to get to know the resident advisers. The RA’s are the dorm’s support system, so getting to know your RA is essential when living on campus for the first time.

Find time to organize

Organizing yourself can help you be successful in the classroom and maintain a healthy living space.

You can take time in the first few weeks to get to know your way around campus and learn what your habits are. It is also essential to learn where the “home” is for all of your items in your room, like where you want to keep your toothbrush or your charging cords.

Students can also consider keeping a planner or digital calendar to help them stay on track with classes and events.

Decorate your room

After arriving on campus, you should take time to decorate your room and make the space feel like home. Having a comfortable space to come back to every day makes going away for college a little bit easier.

Also, keep in mind when decorating to store the necessities in close reach and use the space properly. Keeping your essentials like textbooks, everyday items and technology nearby can help keep a practical, but cute, room.

Dorm room purchases

Knowing what to buy for the dorms helps make the move easier. An important purchase to make is shower shoes when using communal showers. It helps protect you and those around you from any dirt or germs on the shower floors.

Another purchase to make is a surge protector to charge all of your devices at one time. Having sunscreen and bug spray is also great for the summer months to protect yourself.

Lastly, a purchase to consider is a Brita or water filter to help filter Athens’ hard water for drinking.


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