Living in a dorm is going to be a shock to your system. The chances are great that going away to college will represent your first substantial time away from home. You will not have a lot of time to get used to these conditions as classes typically begin after the weekend you move into your dorm. It is important to remember the reason you are going to college – to receive a top-notch education. Developing good habits in your new living space is crucial to ensuring your success in your freshman and subsequent years in college.
Your dorm life begins in your room with your roommate. Reach out to your roommate the summer before you begin school. Attempt to develop a rapport with your roommate. Find out what he or she likes to do in their spare time, what they are planning on studying, and a bit about their high school experiences. Even if you do not become best friends, it is imperative that you develop a relationship built on trust and respect. Even if you get along well right off the bat, be sure to go out and experience college on your own. Going to college is such a unique experience, that you do not want to get pigeon-holed with your roommate right away.
This is also important when it comes to other people in your dorm. Certainly, you should take advantage of meeting people that are living near you or on your floor. However, be sure that you get out and meet other people. Make contacts in your classes. Go to the orientation events that your college provides during that first week of school. It is only natural to forge friendships with the people you see on a daily basis, the people in your dorm. Go out with these friends and make other friends elsewhere on campus. The goal here is to be well-rounded.
One other important thing about life in the dorm: do not neglect your studies. Studying in the dorm can be challenging. There is always someone that is looking to do something (go out, watch TV, etc.), but do not feel compelled to always say yes to this person. If you have to, leave the dorm and go study in the library. When you are done with your work, it will not be difficult to find someone who wants to go do something. Achieving a balance between your studies and your social life is hard to accomplish, but try your best not to forget why you are really at college.