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Living in a dorm room with a new roommate is one of the most exciting things about going to school away from home. You encounter so many new obstacles and experiences, which can be challenging at times, but overall, worth it. Here are some lessons I learned from the past two years in a dorm.


Whether it be something as small as the temperature of the room or something like who cleans the bathroom that week, both parties need to learn to compromise.  


You want your roommate to like you, so sometimes honesty is hard. If your roommate is doing something distracting or makes you uncomfortable, then speak up. I assure you if you do it politely, they won’t have a problem with you being honest.

You don’t have to hand wash all clothes that say hand wash

When you’re in a cramped little dorm room, you don’t have enough space to hand wash your clothes. Because of this, I have learned to just throw them in the washing machine on delicate and hang them up to dry. Sure, there are a few items that I have been too afraid of putting in the wash, but it’s so much more convenient to not hand wash items.

How to unclog a sink

My dorm was very old and didn’t have the best draining system for our sinks and showers, so we always had to unclog our sink. The first time we had a problem, my dad came and fixed it, but didn’t show us how, so the next time it happened, we were clueless. Lucky for us, the Internet exists. The key: baking soda and vinegar.

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Sleeping with noise

Even if you have a quiet roommate, odds are, there will still be noise from people in the hall or people outside. At first, I had a hard time with this. Eventually, I got tired enough from school work, that I began to fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. I no longer needed anything to help me sleep and block out the noise.

How to make food in a mug

My dining hall didn’t have the greatest food. It also had very strict hours, so I always craved more food. Thanks to Pinterest, I found a website that had recipes for snacks you can make in a mug. Most of these require very little ingredients and very little time.


Do you really need all of those motivational posters and desk accessories that really just take up space and complicate move in and move out days? I found that the less I had, the easier it was to keep my desk clean, which, for me, meant more productivity. This also goes for clothes, shoes, jewelry, and various school supplies. These things take up so much space in a tiny cramped dorm room, so I learned to distinguish my necessities from my wants.

Appreciation for your parents

Before I lived in a dorm, I respected my parents, but living in a dorm allowed me to have an even greater appreciation for them. My mom was a fantastic cook, and I didn’t realize how great she was until I lived off of food from my fridge and cafeteria. Also, when things broke, it was weird not having my super handy dad there to fix things immediately; instead, I had to learn to fix things myself or wait 2 weeks for the maintenance men to fix our bathroom light.

Overall, living in a dorm is such a unique experience that teaches you a lot about yourself, and several valuable lessons.

Ryan S