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Emma Pettit is an English and Political Science major who is on the volleyball team at Villanova University.


If you’re like me, before now you’ve never had to share a room with anyone else, or at least with a complete stranger who you just met. Dorm life is a rude awakening for the average freshman. You are suddenly aware of all of your weird morning rituals, your embarrassing zit-popping routine, and your freakish, almost obscene amount of midnight snacking. Plus, you realize that it isn’t super easy to live with another human being. In fact, it’s incredibly difficult. Little quirks start to snowball into major annoyances. Every time they accidentally leave the door unlocked or turn the heat up to 80 degrees starts to drive you up the effing wall. But fear not, because there are ways to adapt to this new living situation. This article aims to provide some valuable -albeit simple- lessons in communal living that would make the world an instantly better place if everyone just followed them.

Without further ado, here are a few basic lessons in dorm living:

Take the Roommate Agreement seriously

You probably think it’s silly to talk with your roommate about what is and is not acceptable because it might seem like common sense. But everything that’s common sense to you may not occur to everyone else. For instance, you might think it’s totally inappropriate to host guests on the weekends and your roommate might want to invite her two high school best friends out for the first month and a half. It’s better to talk about things like noise, shared possessions, guests, etc. early than to be blindsided by something you are completely not okay with.

Keep messes to a minimum

cleaning gif

Photo via Beautyismyduty

Always try to keep your portion of the room clean and do your share with taking out the trash, vacuuming, and other chores you might have to do. No one likes a Pig-Pen roommate, and it will create added tension to an already small space.


Photo via Eonline

Always, ALWAYS wear shower shoes

Dorm bathrooms are a breeding ground of disease, bacteria, and filth. If you have a communal shower that you share with other people on your hall, you need to wear some form of shower shoes.

If you’re drunk, you’re being loud

i love lucy drunk

Photo via Tumblr

No matter how “quiet” you think you’re tiptoeing around, if you’re trashed you’re probably being noisy. Chances are you don’t notice that you’ve knocked all of the pens off your desk, you’ve slammed the door on your way in, and that whisper you’re using to order pizza is more of a dull shout. So if you’re drunk and your roommate is sleeping, try to make it to your bed as fast as possible. You do not need to make those microwave nachos at 3 am.

Don’t let your boyfriend/girlfriend/hookup stay over every night of the week

Even if your roommate insists it’s “totally fine” if your significant-other stays over, they really feel like this:

leave gif

 Photo via Tumblr

PLEASE do not let your girlfriend or boyfriend or hookup stay over every single night. You’re already staying in a tight space and three people can make a dorm room almost unbearable. Plus, your roommate now has to adjust their schedule to fit your needs, and you don’t want to abuse their good nature. So alternate sleeping arrangements  to make sure your third wheel isn’t staying over all the time.

Get some alone time

this is too much gif

Photo via Glee Wiki

There can be too much of a good thing, and sharing a room even with your best friend can get tough when you spend hours upon hours of time together each day. Make sure you make time for yourself and get out of the room when you think things might be getting heated. Take a walk, take a nap, just make sure you have some time for yourself.

Don’t let things spiral

The final tips for communal living is to say something if you think there’s a problem. If your roommate clips her toenails and leaves the shavings on the floor and it bothers you, it isn’t doing anyone any good by ignoring it. Speak up if you want something to change, just remember to be polite and discuss it in private.


Which dorm living tip helped you the most?

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