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College Roommates Part I – Dorm Life
Whether you’re a freshman moving into a dorm or a senior looking for a nice house near campus, you’ll live with roommates. There are very few college students who live on their own, mostly because it’s so expensive. In college towns, rent for an apartment can reach $750 a month. It might not sound like much, and maybe not if your parents are paying for it, but $750 a month is not reasonable for the majority of students. A solution to reduce rent is to live with roommates. In this article I’ll talk about the pros and cons of living with roommates, how to find roommates, and share some of my experiences along the way. Due to its length this will be a two part post. Part I will discuss hostel life, while Part II will discuss post-hostel life.
Since I just graduated from college in April of 2005, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on college life. I myself haven’t changed much in a few months. I am living alone for the first time in my life, and let me tell you, it is very different from being in college.
Most students begin their college experience living in a dormitory. When I moved in, I chose to live in an old fashioned dorm. Twenty some odd rooms on the floor with a large communal bathroom. The boys’ section was separated from the girls’ section by a lounge/kitchen with a stove, an oven, a few couches and a TV. Nothing like living in a house with your own bedroom and bathroom. Most hostels (at least the old ones) don’t have single rooms. Everyone has a roommate and sometimes there are triples in a room. Most schools give you the option to choose your roommate or randomly assign you one. My freshman year, I chose to live with a friend. Make sure you are good friends with this person or you will want to kill each other. I have many friends who hate their roommates. They were friends on the outside, but inside it was hell.
I was lucky for my first semester of college. I came with my roommate for the most part. It was a good thing we lived separate lives. I was on a meal plan and he wasn’t. We took different classes at different times and hung out with different people. In my opinion, if you decide to be with a friend, that’s how it should be. You can’t get too close or your friendship will break. (Please note that the dorms I’m talking about are about 12×12 in size with two twin beds and two desks and enough room to stand up. New age dorms have completely different people’s own rooms and bathrooms.) My friend who I roomed with was our After the first semester there was a transfer to a new school due to various reasons. I thought I made it to the shade. Won’t the school know? Can I have a room? There was no answer.
Enter Kraut (my new roommate in Germany). He was American, but grew up on a military base in Germany. It was the best and worst experience in college. Living with a complete stranger who is your complete opposite. It’s every incoming freshman’s worst nightmare. Andrew (whom I refer to as Kraut…please don’t be insulting. It was just a friendly joke between us) came with me because he was voted out of the triple dorm room by his previous roommates. wow After a semester with him, I know why they voted for him.
First, he was in ROTC. I have nothing against being a proud American and wanting to serve in the military, but when you have to get up at 4:00 a.m. every morning to run with that squadron, that’s when I start to lose it. His alarm went off at 3:45 a.m. every morning and he snoozed for about 30 minutes. He never went to class, so he was there to annoy me during my recess. He played Counter-Strike (I’m sure you all know what that is. Counter-Strike is a terrorist/counter terrorist video game). He played loudly all night. I feel like a dorm room is a war zone. I tried to take him out with me or have lunch with him in the cafeteria, but I just couldn’t take it. I learned a lot from Kraut and will never forget him. My most memorable moment was when I turned up the volume on my PC and played the Salute Your Shorts theme song in his ear as he slept. I captured it all on video. He jerked me off and went to sleep. I haven’t seen Kraut since I left the hostel.
Some pros and cons of living in a dorm (once again, I’m talking about old-fashioned dorms, not apartment style).
Pro-Campus itself. You can wake up 5 minutes before class and walk there in your boxer shorts.
Pro-Campus itself. Food is nearby (especially if you’re on a meal plan).
Pro – Social life. You meet a lot of new people living in the hostel. Some become lifelong friends. Hostels often have mini-parties and social events where everyone hangs out.
Pro – It’s new. College is about experiencing new things. Dorm life is one of them.
Pro – It’s cheap. Renting an apartment is not that expensive.
Pro – Finding pickup games for games is very easy.
Pro – Ethernet is a computer network. High speed internet access and everyone is connected. Great for playing video games. (Things like Napster were brand new when I was a freshman. People were downloading music left and right on high speed networks and sharing music you’d never seen before. And it was all legal as far as we know).
Con – No privacy. People will randomly walk into your room. Keep it locked.
Con – Old and dirty hostels are no fun. I got sick once a month living there. I still have trouble breathing.
Angle – Dorms are very small. You won’t be able to fit everything in your closet.
Con – Having annoying roommates that you can’t do anything about.
Con – Internet Firewall. Some dormitories are now strict about what you can and can’t do on the school internet. Sorry guys, no music download here.
Angle – Cooking food can be quite a problem. There is no fridge or oven in your room.
Angle – bugs and mice. Depending on how old your hostel is (I think mine was built in the 40’s) you may find rats running around. We had a rat problem one week. I saw him run across the floor in my room and then he disappeared into the wall.
Well that’s all I have for today. Come back tomorrow (or Monday) for Part II of College Roommates. If you have any questions, email me at [email protected]
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