Living On Campus: Perspectives From Current Students

Worried about living in the dorms? What’s it like? What if you hate your roommate? These are common fears that all high school students typically face as they prepare to move on campus.

Wanna hear what dorm life is really all about from current college students? We got you covered! The post below was written by 4 current college students, who are also interns for Their collaborative effort provides four different campus living experiences all on one page. Hope you enjoy!

  • Clara Ma, University of California-Berkeley

Entering my university as a spring admit meant that I took my fall semester off my first year of college and moved into the residence halls a semester later.  While many students may feel like they would miss the initial rush of introductions and “getting to know you’s,” I was actually quite relieved!  Moving in later meant that everyone had already comfortably become acquainted with everybody else and me moving in was kind of the equivalent of me being the new kid on the block.  Instead of feeling alienated and awkward, I was welcomed onto my floor without any qualms.

My floor as a whole was very amicable.  Though there were definite cliques and groups, our Residence Assistant (the equivalent of a peer chaperone for the floor) did a great job of planning group outings and events that we were able to participate in as an entire floor.  Some events even incorporated the entire residence hall and in that way, we were able to meet students beyond just our floor.

For me, living in the university residence halls let me meet new people without really needing to travel far or go out of my way.   Some of my floor mates had classes that were similar to mine or sometimes we even had class together, so studying for classes together was convenient and easy.  Additionally, I can say with confidence that many of my floor mates are still my close friends.  We’ll still get together and hang out just because we’ve been friends for so long.  Living in campus housing helped me get acquainted with college life simply because I was surrounded by students that were all going through the same experiences as me and they all had a semester of knowledge to pass on to me!

  • Jordyn Timpson, Michigan State University

Living in the dorms my first year was…interesting, and that’s saying it lightly. My freshman year consisted of a rug burn face injury that lasted months, a very unhealthy diet, and a roommate that didn’t like me. I go to a public university that requires all freshman to live in the dorms their first year, so I was excited to be on my own for once.  I went in “blind” with hopes of gaining a new best friend, but the outcome couldn’t be farther from that.

My roommate stayed in our room 24/7, went to bed super early and woke up at the crack of dawn (literally…she worked on a farm in the morning), didn’t like when my friends came over, and drove me crazy. But at the end of the year, I appreciated what I was left with. I gained a ton of friends because I never wanted to be in my room and became a better roommate.

If you get stuck with the roommate from your nightmares, turn the situation into something positive. This could be your opportunity to make a new group of friends or join a club. One thing I regret is stressing so much over roommate issues, when I should have used that time to get involved with extracurricular activities. But I’ve now learned that keeping busy with different groups is the key to keeping my mind off those pointless roommate peeves. The worse your experience is, the more you appreciate your roommates in the future!

  • Mollie Diedrich, DePaul University

Most DePaul University freshmen live in the dorms on campus, which is nice, but leads to an interesting balance of making friends and getting work done. I lived in University Hall in Lincoln Park, a great combination of dorm style living without having to share a bathroom with a whole floor.

It was a suite style layout where I had one roommate and we shared a bathroom with the two girls in the room next door. There was a small kitchen area that you could share with your floor as well as a lounge in the basement. There were no co-ed rooms, but the suites were set up boy, girl, boy, girl. This meant we only shared a bathroom with girls, but boys were right next door…which could be a good thing or a bad thing. My roommate was dating her high school sweetheart at the time who just happened to live right next door to us. It allowed them to spend a lot of time together, hang out with the same people, and go to each other’s places if their roommates needed quiet time. But it also caused tension since they were suddenly seeing more of each other than they were used to.

It was really great for me, since I spent a lot of time in our room doing a lot of work at my laptop. She was really considerate about my studies. We developed a bond where we could rant to each other or just chitchat casually while we were both around, but didn’t feel like it was necessary to be best friends. We didn’t spend a lot of time in large groups hanging out unless other people came to our room. It was a great balance of finding our own space and being able to share the one room together. This is really important to sharing such a small space with someone while you have a lot of other changes going on around you besides the space you live in. My experience was particularly great since we were both laid back and aware of each other’s moods and feelings.

  • Pamela Nonga, University of California-Davis

I lived in the dorms my freshman year. UC Davis offers themed floors so that students of similar interests or backgrounds can live near each other and foster a community. As a black student, I had the opportunity to live on the African and African American themed floor at one of the dorm buildings.

It was a really unique experience because black students make up less than 2.7% of the population on campus, yet I was able to see black faces every day. Dorm life was a great experience and I strongly recommend it to any first years who have the opportunity to live on campus. It’s much easier to meet fellow freshman and develop friendships, get to know your campus, and be more aware of what’s going on overall when living in the dorms. You also learn to share a space with someone else or several people, which is useful during your sophomore and junior years when you’ll potentially be sharing a place with housemates.

Also, most housing plans come with a meal plan so you don’t have to worry about feeding yourself everyday.  Everyone I’ve met who opted to live off campus their first year of college has told me that they regret that decision, so I would advice living off campus if you can avoid it.

Special Requests? If you have any requests on what you’d like to read about next, feel free to leave us comments and we’ll tackle the next topic soon!

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This post is the collaborative effort of several of our college interns. By providing multiple viewpoints and allowing our interns to speak from their own unique experiences, high school students get a “real world” perspective on the college planning and transition process.