The honeymoon phase is over, and the first semester is through. You’re now well into your second semester of living in a university dormitory residence, and you feel like you’re about to go absolutely insane. Gone are the days when you could hole yourself up in your bedroom at your parents house in a cocoon of solitude. In its place sits a hallway full of narrow doors leading to small bedrooms, complete with a communal co-ed washroom.
These cramped quarters make for a ripe environment for frayed nerves and pissed off roommates. It’s incredibly easy to fall into the trap of eternal frustrations and annoyances. However, your living situation isn’t about to change anytime soon, so you might as well come to enjoy like you did in your first few months.
Remember why you loved residence in the beginning! You have literally dozens of study-partners at your disposal, not to mention all of the people who are willing to have an excellent time. You have a built-in support system, and you are a critical part of that system. It’s an amazing ecosystem that exists only in college dormitories, and you’ll never get a living experience like it anywhere else.
Do not focus the negative. Really. It sounds cliche and a complete no-brainer, but in a high-stress environment like a post-secondary education institution, it gets hard to keep what really matters in sight. Focus on the positive things. Does your dormmate never leave their wet towel on the floor of your shared room? Does the boy across the hall always offer to grab you something on his vending machine runs? Does your residence adviser dole out advice and condoms like nobodies business? These little things do a lot to make living in a university residence more pleasant, and they eventually pile up, resulting in a lovely environment.
If you’re having a rough time being grateful for what you have, make a conscious effort to show your thanks. A simple “thank you!” goes an awful long way, but small notes of encouragement and friendship also will make the people who make your life easier a lot happier.
You have to communicate. It’s astounding how many problems could be avoided simply by someone opening their mouth and saying that there’s something wrong in this situation. Bothered by your neighbours music-making-at-three-in-the-morning habits? Need to borrow the girl down the halls blow drier? Sick of your roommate borrowing your little black dress without permission? Say something. Nothing is going to change by keeping your mouth shut. That being said, always pick your battles, and approach any possible confrontations with caution. It always pays to be polite, and you have to remember that your roommate is a human being with wants and needs and annoyances as well.
Give yourself space. If you ever feel as though you can’t take another second in your house, get out. Physically changing your surroundings will help to wipe your mind clear of the frustrations that have been getting your goat. Visit a friend on another floor or in another building. Still feeling overwhelmed by the number of students that there are on campus? Going off-campus is an easy way to cure dorm room fever. Take a walk through a local wood, suburb or park. A literal breath of fresh air is exactly what you need to clear your head. Sometimes, even a short break will do wonders to your general wellbeing.
These people are a strange sort of family, and at the end of the day, they will understand your college experience like no one else. You live together, eat together, sleep together, laugh together and cry together. You might as well do your best to have a fun time while doing it.