Dorm etiquette: What you need to know

Tiffany Nelson

One of the best parts about living on Central Campus is that it’s a unique experience for every student. When and where else will you get to live in the same space as your new friends and wake up 10 minutes before class without being late?

“My favorite part of living on campus is that I’m close to my classes and dining centers,” said Parker Walsh, a sophomore in community and regional planning. “It makes it easy for me to plan my day without having to think about transportation or anything. I like being able to walk everywhere.”

Living in a dorm can be fun, but there’s certainly guidelines to keep in mind to ensure that your residence hall experience is a positive one.

First things first: cleanliness. You won’t need to do an excessive amount of cleaning in such a small space, but tidying up occasionally can keep you and your roommate happy. Keeping on top of laundry and other chores will help you out in the long run.

All dorms come equipped with laundry rooms; just make sure to take your clothes out of the machines on time to avoid holding up the line for laundry.

“If you wait last minute to do your laundry, you can count on 30 other kids that also waited and are doing theirs at the same time,” said Caleb Woods, sophomore in public relations. “Along with that, just consistently taking your trash out and throwing away expired food are easy things that people sometimes forget to do.”

Consider splitting up chores with your roommate to ensure that your room is always tidy. If one person doesn’t mind sweeping and the other takes care of trash, cleaning can be more efficient and easier.

Each floor typically comes with a community vacuum and broom, so no need to take up space with your own. However, wipes, dish soap and paper towels are great items to keep in your living space.

“Little things like a mattress pad or garbage bags people sometimes forget,” said Hannah Zulk, senior in kinesiology and a community adviser. “Even though there’s blinds in the room, some people like to hang curtains. And although candles aren’t allowed, having scented wall plug-ins can be very nice to have because dorms can have a tendency to smell.”

Whether you decide to room with your best friend or a complete stranger, for many, having a roommate is part of the college experience.

“Being open in the beginning is key to having a positive roommate experience,” Zulk said. “Talking about your sleeping habits, guest habits or other things of importance can help prevent conflict.”

Creating a roommate contract to go over basic guidelines can also be a way to stay on the same page with your roommate.

“The roommate contract is just to make sure there’s some ground rules between people,” Zulk said. “Whether you are just meeting each other or having known the other person for years, thinking about making a roommate contract can really benefit you and your roommate.”

Some things to discuss in your roommate contract might include when you typically go to bed and wake up, when you want to establish quiet hours and what items you want to share.

While students in suite-style dorms typically have their own bathrooms, most dorms have a communal restroom. Sharing a bathroom with a floor of other people can take some getting used to, but knowing a few courtesy guidelines can help make it a better experience for everyone.

First, always wear shoes in the bathroom. Would you walk barefoot in a public restroom? Probably not, so make sure to pick up some flip-flops to wear in the shower and bathroom. Zulk emphasized the golden rule, doing to others what you would have them do to you, and being respectful in community spaces as major ways to get along with others on your floor.

Zulk advised against playing loud music in the showers if it’s 11 p.m., because some people live right next to you in the residence halls.

“Don’t do something you wouldn’t want others to do,” she said.

Because there are so many bodies living in one place, it’s easy to contract viruses and for sickness to go around. Simple things such as washing your hands, wearing shower shoes and being courteous of others can really make a difference.

“Being around so many people my age was awesome,” said Keely Gaeddert, a freshman in design. “Everyone’s in the same boat and can help each other out. Don’t be afraid to talk to people or leave your door open.”

Living in a dorm is an awesome experience, and move-in day is a day you’ll never forget.