Living in a dorm (with roommates!) is one of the most exciting parts of college life. It can be an excellent opportunity to learn more about yourself and the people around you. And for many students, it’s their first home away from home. At Patrick Henry College, your two to four-person room will be your sanctuary, a place of escape from other areas and aspects of college life during the semester. You’ll probably be spending a lot of time in your dorm, studying, cramming, socializing, and sleeping.
That said, figuring out how to live in a dorm can sometimes be tricky. There’s a lot of small things to consider like roommate preferences, living space, and practicality. Living in a dorm is not really like living in your own house—almost, but not quite. It’s a personalized living space, but you have to learn to share it, be mindful of others, and still be comfortable.
Here are five tips that will hopefully facilitate your college experience in a dorm. These tips will serve you well—whether you are choosing to come to Patrick Henry College or any other on-campus higher education.
Invest in a Good Laundry Hamper
Dirty laundry can be a pain. If it piles up, it can be hard to manage and keep track of. But there’s an easy solution to this problem: buy a good laundry hamper. Make sure it can bear some weight. Many college students do laundry once a week, but for students that have a hard time keeping up a weekly pattern, having a basket or a hamper than can be easily carried around is a must-have. Make sure that it’s not going to rip halfway through the year.
Bring Two Towels to College
Make sure that your towel is distinguishable from most. The last thing you want is someone accidentally grabbing yours. Also, make sure you have at least one spare towel. When you throw your towel in the dryer, it’s sometimes easy to forget until you’re halfway through a shower. Bringing a backup is never a bad idea.
Get a Power Strip
Outlets are great! Sadly, there never seems to be enough of them. By getting yourself a power strip with extra places to plug in your accessories and devices, you can facilitate your stay in a dorm. Make sure not to plug too many things at once, but these tools are a great way to keep life easy and accessible.
Bring a Microwave
From Ramen Noodles to hot pockets, microwaves provide students access to a large array of foods and snacks. While the dining hall provides more than students could want, there’s no getting in there at 11:00 p.m. when late-night study snacks are most needed. Make sure, however, to communicate with your future roommate. Having two microwaves can be great, but it can also take up precious space.
Get a Body-Length Mirror
There are mirrors in every dorm near the bathroom sink area. But having a body-length mirror you can hang on the back of a doorway will change your life for the better—especially at Patrick Henry College. Because the dress code is business casual, students often experiment with different styles as they find something that works for them.
Bring a Source of Soft Lighting
There’s nothing worse than having to turn on the lights in the middle of the night or the early morning and accidentally waking up your roommate. By having a soft-light lamp, you can avoid the problem altogether and not have to stumble around in the dark, holding your phone as a flashlight. Soft light also makes reading at night easier on the eyes.
A big part of college is learning about you as a person—and life in a dorm is no exception. Your personal preferences, your interests, and your habits will all more than likely play into your college dorm experience. Hopefully, these tools will give you a head start on the road to discovery.
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Patrick Henry College exists to glorify God by challenging the status quo in higher education, lifting high both faith and reason within a rigorous academic environment; thereby preserving for posterity the ideals behind the "noble experiment in ordered liberty" that is the foundation of America.