5 Ways to Adjust to Dorm Life


Bring the Essentials, But Not the Expensive Ones

Some colleges give their students dorm rooms more luxurious than the suites in expensive hotels. (At least that's what I've heard, anyway.) The dorm room I had in college could have served as a detention cell at Guantanamo Bay. If the room you get contains little more than painted concrete walls, two single beds, a pair of desks and closet space, you may want to dress it up a bit. Bring some stuff to personalize it with. You'll want a computer, of course, but these days your college will require that anyway — and quite possibly, they might even supply it for you. You'll also want some pictures or posters to put on the wall, an iPod to listen to on your way to and from class, a radio alarm clock (to wake you up in time for that 8 a.m. gymnastics course you really hadn't meant to sign up for) and some nice clothes to wear both to class and for the good times after class. Your dorm room will be your home for the next four years and you want it to feel like home — well, like home except with no parents and siblings around to make nuisances of themselves.

When you start thinking about bringing the 52-inch widescreen television and the surround sound stereo system, though, stop and think twice. For one thing, the people in the next room might complain about those speakers, especially when you have them cranked up to full volume. But also bear in mind that you'll be putting all this expensive equipment in a room surrounded by dozens of people you don't know very well (or at all) and a roommate you don't necessarily trust to keep the door to your room locked when nobody's there (or to resist the urge to sell your television in exchange for money to buy suspiciously illegal-looking substances). We're not saying you shouldn't trust the people you share your college dorm with. Just don't trust them too much.