For the first 18 years of your life you have lived at home. A place where you may have had a couple siblings. Maybe you had your own room and bathroom. Maybe you had lots of rules and chores. Whatever it looked like, you called it home and you were probably pretty comfortable there. It’s what you know and have known for all of your life.
But, now it’s time for you to move on to college. You are moving out of that place you knew so well and into one that will hold so many new adventures, new friends, and what may feel like a new life! In my opinion, one of the biggest transitions between high school and college is the living situation. Your first year on campus you will probably choose to live in a dorm. At Gardner-Webb, that means having a roommate (who you may or may not have met), living amongst almost 50 hall mates, and sharing a bathroom with people you’ve never met before.
The point is it’s new, it’s different, and it’s exciting. I learned SO much about life in just one short year living in a dorm.
1. People do things differently – and that’s okay.
On a daily basis you will come in contact with at least 15 different people in your dorm. It might be passing them in the hall on the way to your room, or brushing your teeth in the sink next to them. Each of these people has grown up in a different place and may do things a little bit differently than you do. I noticed this especially with my roommate. Between when and how often we like to sleep, whether or not we can handle noise when we’re studying, how often we like to clean – we were just different. Neither of our preferences were ever wrong or bad, they were just different. Learning how to live together was a challenge, but such a blessing! I gained such valuable people skills from living in a dorm - how to show compassion, how to forgive, how to love well. These kinds of skills will be forever relevant because people will forever exist.
2. Monday night is the best time to do laundry.
I quickly learned that everyone on campus tries to do their laundry on Saturday morning, or at least that’s what it felt like. For me, it worked best to do laundry on Monday night while watching the Bachelor with some of my hall mates. That may sound silly, but living in a dorm, on your own and away from your parents, really forces you to figure out how to live your life. When to do laundry, what time to eat dinner, how often to vacuum your carpet. Plainly put, living in a dorm teaches you to be responsible. I grew up a lot my first year away from home and I have my freshman dorm to thank for that.
3. Coffee mugs make great oatmeal bowls.
As most people know, in a dorm room you have very limited space. Limited space also means limited possessions. Whether it was converting a coffee mug into a multi-use dish, or figuring out the most efficient way to store my shoes in the non-existent space I had for them; I had to figure out how to make do with what I had. College living fosters creativity and problem solving skills that I didn’t know I was even capable of. You’ll understand when you’re figuring out how to turn a blanket into a blackout curtain.
4. We’re not mean to live this life alone.
The people! Let me tell you. The people were the very best blessing of living in a dorm. Late night life chats, pizza runs, and dance parties. Seriously, the people are the best part. We were not created to walk through life by ourselves – we were designed for sweet community. Some of your best, longest lasting friendships will begin in college. Take advantage of it! I learned that we NEED people to lean on. People that will walk with us through the good and the ugly. They are going to be your lifeline the next four years, trust me.
College is awesome. So is living within 15 feet of your best friends. It can be hard at times, like any other big change is, but it is SO worth it.
Sophomore. Public Relations Major. Young Life Leader. SGA Executive. Raleigh Native.