When living in a residence hall community there are policies to help keep you safe (no candles), some to protect the building (no tampering with hall sprinkler systems), and others to help three hundred students live peacefully together under one roof (quiet hours).
It's important to know the policies of your institution and your residence hall. What's also helpful to know is the inside tips from the experts on residence hall living. So, we reached out to our Resident Assistants (RAs) for their advice. RAs are upper-class students that have experience living in residence halls and are there to assist students.
Our team came up with a top ten list of things they wished someone had told them about residence hall living:
- You may want to bring everything you own to college to decorate your room and feel at home. Fight that urge and bring what you need along with a few comfort items. You can add things to your room when you go home for breaks or weekends. Starting a new roommate relationship in an overcrowded room can put stress on a new relationship.
- Don’t feel like you need to set your friend group the first day. Take advantage of opportunities to meet new people and try new things. Maybe you see a presenter on campus that looks interesting to you, but not to the people on your floor. If it looks good to you, go to the speaker because that's a great opportunity to meet people that enjoy similar activities as yourself.
- Go to all of the orientation events that are required, and even those that are optional. Orientation events are put on by the college to learn about the campus and what you need to be successful as a student. Don’t be too cool for school and skip events. You'll be glad you attended orientation events when your friends that skipped are clueless during those first few weeks of classes.
- Don’t expect everything to be perfect. College is hard and it’s not always like the movies. Some days will be tough and the struggle is valid. What's important to know is that you aren’t in it alone and there are plenty of people like your RAs to help you along the journey.
- Don’t keep frustrations with a roommate locked inside. Open communication with your roommate is so important. If you get into the habit of being comfortable addressing small issues, they won’t snowball into bigger issues.
- Go to floor events put on by your RAs and events sponsored on campus. They’re a great chance to meet new people and have fun. Even go to the dorky sounding programs because they will probably turn into great memories.
- Don’t bring prohibited residence hall items on move-in day. Review the college’s website for items you can and cannot have in your residence hall room.
- Use the resources that are offered to you on campus. If you have roommate issues, talk to your RA. If you’re sick, visit the health center on campus. If you're struggling with a class, reach out to the academic success center. Everyone is pulling for you to succeed.
- Do not subscribe to the culture of being busy all of the time in college. You do not need to be in ten student groups, have three majors, and be on two sports teams. Find what you enjoy doing on campus and take a deeper dive into those areas.
- Don’t be a messy roommate. Pick up after yourself. Don’t turn on the lights when your roommate is sleeping. Don’t take care of baby squirrels in your room.