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College Roommates Part I – Dorm Life
Whether you’re a freshman moving into the dorms or a senior looking for a nice apartment close to campus, chances are you live with roommates. Very few university students live alone because it is too expensive. Rents for an apartment in college towns can reach $750 a month. It may not seem like much, and maybe it isn’t if your parents are paying for it, but for most students, $750 a month is not unreasonable. The solution to reducing rent is to live with a roommate. In this article, I’ll talk about the pros and cons of living with roommates, how to find roommates, and I’ll share my experiences. This will be a two-part post because it’s long. Part 1 is about the life in the hostel and part 2 is about the life after the hostel.
I just graduated from college in April of 2005, so I consider myself somewhat of an expert on college life. I haven’t changed much in the months I’ve been on my own. I’m living on my own for the first time in my life and let me tell you, it’s totally different than being in college.
Most students begin their college experience living in the dorms. I moved and chose to live in an old fashioned dormitory. Twenty odd rooms on the floor with one large shared bathroom. The guys’ section was separated from the girls’ section by a lounge/kitchen with one stove, one oven, a few sofas and a TV. Nothing like living at home with your own bedroom and bathroom. Most dorms (at least the old fashioned ones) don’t have single rooms. Everyone has a roommate, sometimes three in a room. Most schools give you the option of choosing a roommate or being randomly assigned. My freshman year, I chose to live with a friend. Make sure you are good friends with this person or you will want to kill each other. I have so many friends who hate their roommates. They were friends on the outside, but inside the room was hell.
I was lucky my first semester of college. I got along with my roommate most of the time. It was a good thing we lived different lives. I was on a meal plan and he wasn’t. We took different classes at different times and hung out with different people. In my opinion, if you decide to live with a friend, it should be like this. You can’t be too close or your friendship will fall apart. (Note that the dorms I’m talking about are the 12×12 dorms with 2 twin beds, 2 desks, and plenty of room to stand up. New generation dorms where people have their own room and bathroom are completely different.) My friend. My roommate transferred to a new school after the first semester for various reasons. I thought it was done in the shade. Does the school not know? Can I have the room to myself? The answer is no.
Enter Kraut (my new roommate from Germany). He’s American, but he grew up in Germany on a military base. It was the best and worst college experience. Living with a stranger who is the complete opposite of you. It’s every incoming freshman’s worst nightmare. Andrew (I called him Kraut…don’t take offense to this, it was just a friendly joke between us) moved in with me because his previous roommates voted to move him out of the triple room. Wow. After living with him for a semester, I know why they voted for him.
First he was in ROTC. I’m a proud American and don’t want to be in the military, but when I have to get up at 4:00 a.m. every morning and have to run with that squadron, I start to miss it. His alarm went off at 3:45 a.m. every day and he snoozed for about 30 minutes. He never went to school, so he used to pester me on all my days off. He played Counter-Strike (I’m sure you all know what that is, Counter-Strike is a terrorist/terrorist video game). He turned up the volume and played all night. You must have thought my dorm room was a war zone. I tried to take her out with me or have lunch at the cafeteria, but I just couldn’t get it. I learned a lot from Kraut and will never forget him. My most memorable moment is turning up the volume on my computer and blasting the Salute Your Shorts theme song into her ears as she sleeps. I captured it all on video. He pushed me and went to bed. I haven’t seen a Kraut since I left the dorm.
Some pros and cons of living in a dorm (again, I’m talking about the old fashioned dorms, not the apartment style).
Pro – Right on campus. You can get up 5 minutes before class and walk around in your boxer shorts.
Pro – Right on campus. Food is close (especially if you’re on a meal plan).
Pro – Social life. You will meet many new people living in the hostel. Some become friends for life. Mini parties and social events are often held in the hostel where everyone enjoys.
Pro – It’s new. College is about experiencing new things. Dormitory life is one of them.
Pro – It’s cheap. Not as expensive as renting an apartment.
Pro – Games for sports are very easy to find.
Pro – There is an Ethernet computer network. High speed internet connection, everyone is connected. Great for playing video games. (When I was a freshman, things like Napster were brand new. People were downloading music left and right over high-speed networks, sharing music like you’d never seen before. It was all legal, as far as we know).
Con – No privacy. People will randomly walk into your room. Keep it locked.
Con – Old, dirty dorms are no fun. I used to get sick once a month that I lived there. I still have breathing problems.
Con – Dormitory is very small. You can’t fit everything in your closet.
Con – Having annoying roommates that you can’t do anything about.
Con – Internet firewall. Some boarding schools are strict about what you can and can’t do on the school’s internet. Sorry guys, can’t download music here.
Con – Cooking can be quite problematic. There is no refrigerator or stove in your room.
Con – Bugs and rats. Depending on how old your dorm is (I think mine was built in the 40’s), you may have rodents running around. We had a rat problem one week. In my room I saw a man running across the floor and he disappeared into the wall.
Well, that’s all I have for today. Come back tomorrow (or Monday) for Part II of College Roommates. If you have any questions, please email email@example.com
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