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Many students are required to stay in the college’s dorms for at least their freshman year. So, as you get ready to venture off to your first year, one of the things you should prepare for is living on your own. You’ll likely be staying in a dorm with another person, whom you don’t know much about, and you will have to get used to living on your own for the first time in your life. College isn’t all just passing your classes and partying, it is also about learning how to build relationships with the students and people around you.

Your roommate – Prepare for lots of different types of people

Most dorms will have space for two or more people living in the same place with bunk beds or one bed on each side of the room. When you meet your roommate, remember that you will be living in close proximity with them for the next year. You both will have to make sacrifices when living together, and it won’t be all bad, either. Many people who first meet as roommates in college become friends for the rest of their lives.

On top of that, you will be meeting many people who live in the same dorm as well. There will be many different personalities and it will give you a chance to form a close-knit group of friends. Meeting new people from around country and sometimes even the world allows you to learn about different cultures without having to travel. Remember that you are all experiencing living on your own for the first time together, so stay open-minded and take it all in.

Your resident assistant – Introduce yourself and get to know them

Most dorms will also have an RA whose job it is to watch over the dorms and provide any assistance, for example help getting around campus. Your RA is likely an upperclassman who has first-hand experience going to college and is there to make sure you don’t get into too much trouble. You can learn a lot from your RA, so don’t get on their bad side.

RAs are like big brothers or sisters, which is as close to parental supervision as you’ll get in the dorms. They aren’t there to get you in trouble, but they do tend to get paid and/or live in the dorms for free because being an RA is a job like any other. Also, keep in mind they are a student just like you, so they know what you are going through and tend to want to help make your college experience a good one.

Lots of noise and little privacy – It’s not that bad

Like any place where a bunch of under 20-somethings are all living under the same roof with different schedules, there is bound to be a lot of noise at all times during the day and night. Don’t let this get to you. If you can, just try to ignore it, let it become background noise. Get a decent set of noise canceling headphones so that you can study without all of the interruptions.

You will be sharing your living space, eating area, and even bathroom and shower with everyone else in the dorms, so you won’t have much privacy outside of your dorm when your roommate is in class. Speaking of which, buy some sandals to wear in the showers and keep your personal hygiene essentials in your room. Get comfortable being yourself around people, and find places around campus where you can be alone, like the library, study rooms, or even under a nice shady tree. Remember, though, that everyone else is doing the same thing, so be respectful of other people’s privacy too.

Your room – Personalize your space

As far as your room goes, personalize it as much as you can with symbols of things that make you, you. It may seem a bit childish, but anything from posters to trinkets can help you not only define who you are to other people, but also remember who you are when times get tough. Your side of the room is meant to make you feel like you are at home and tell other people about your likes, dislikes, hobbies, and idols. Make your space yours, and allow your roommate to do the same.

Living in the dorms is a good first step to completely living on your own with less responsibility. You won’t have to completely fend for yourself, as you will have a cafeteria for meals and some sort of budgetary independence. Keep snacks in your room, don’t forget to wash your cloths and yourself, and try to enjoy living in the dorms while you can. You won’t likely ever get the chance to live under the same circumstances ever again.