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Living in the dorms is a unique experience that I truly believe everyone needs to have. I learned a lot about myself and about people in general from living in a super co-ed (boys and girls alternated every other room) dorm my freshman year of college. I was lucky enough to also live in a dorm with communal bathrooms so I had the pleasure of sharing three toilets, three sinks and three shower stalls with 20 other girls for an entire year. When there are that many college students in a confined space, you find yourself in some interesting situations that cannot possibly happen anywhere else. Most likely you have a roommate, which poses some interesting scenarios all on its own, but fill a building with a couple hundred 18 year olds living on their own for the first time?

Let the games begin.

1. You suddenly have zero secrets

You tell the girl down the hall that you have a crush on one of the boys in room 307 and suddenly you hear the people from the 6th floor talking about it in the dining hall.

2. You learn how to sleep through anything

Maybe your roommate can’t fall asleep unless old re-runs of The Nanny are on TV. Maybe the guys next door are playing Mario Kart until 2am, maybe the people in the room above you brought their Dance Dance Revolution pads. Whatever the case may be, dorms are far from quiet. Trust me. You will learn to sleep with the lights on, with music blasting and with people screaming. And once you have acquired this skill you will then use it to sleep in public places around campus.

3. You learn to harmonize with other people singing in the shower

About halfway through my first semester someone threw some old speakers in the girls bathroom and our shower experience changed forever. I am a shower singer (as, let’s face it, most people are) and I was a little self conscious of belting out those boy band hits the first few weeks of school. However, I eventually got over it and once we had those speakers and girls were creating Disney shower playlists, we had some great harmonies going by the time midterms rolled around.

4. Cycles sync

Boys, you can skip to the next one, I guess. Girls this is a very real thing. After a few months your cycles will sync and you will find yourself piled into someone’s room eating Domino’s, popping Midol like it’s a breath mint and crying over a movie that isn’t even sad. But you will always have access to tampons and misery loves company, so just go with it.

5. You learn levels of patience you never knew humans could possess

Your roommate is having her sorority sisters over for craft night so you are stuck in the lobby working on your presentation for Intro to Public Speaking. All of the shower stalls are taken. The girl down the hall went a little too hard at her formal and now is refusing to let anyone in her room but you to take care of her. There is a sock on the door and all you want is to take a nap. Patience is a virtue.

6. Modesty goes out the window

Sharing a room with someone and communal bathrooms means you will see someone naked and they will see you naked (or at least in their underwear) and the sooner you laugh about it, the sooner you will be able to eat in the dining hall without taking your food to go.

7. You get used to people manhandling your underwear

Leave your laundry in a washer or dryer for more than three seconds after it finishes and your laundry is being moved for you. Hopefully not to the floor, and hopefully it is already dry and not still sopping wet. The first time you walk downstairs to find your underwear on display atop a dryer is alarming, but you will get through it, I promise. You will also do it plenty of times yourself.

8. You learn to appreciate alone time

Because let’s face it, you pretty much have zero of it. That weekend when your roommate goes home for their Mom’s birthday is a cherished and fleeting two days.

What was your dorm experience like?

image via iStock