Living in a dorm is a rite of passage at most colleges. Here at Lewis & Clark, there is a two-year on-campus living requirement, of which I am one quarter of the way through. And while dorm living certainly has its challenges, there are benefits that make it worthwhile.
Living away from home comes with a newfound sense of responsibility and independence. Even though I no longer live with my family, I do not feel as though I was thrown into the deep end of living alone with no support. It is like a rehearsal for living in an apartment or house. I do not have to worry about calling someone about broken appliances like I would have to do in an apartment or house. I also do not have to worry about paying for electricity, water and other bills on time, as the cost is already included.
I also enjoy being close to all of my classes. I do not need to worry about getting up really early to navigate traffic on the way to campus, instead I simply have to get up and walk. Eventually, I will live off campus, but having this ease of navigation has been very beneficial for my first year here.
Before I came to college, I had gotten accustomed to having my own room, so living with a stranger has also been something to get used to. It has taught me more about how to communicate boundaries and about what I want out of my living space. Luckily, my roommate and I have been able to agree on a lot. The two of us were randomly assigned to each other when we applied for housing during the summer, and we met for the first time in August. We have not known each other for a very long time, but I think we both get along pretty well. I am also very fortunate to live in Platt-Howard Hall, as I think the rooms there are quite spacious. As a result, even though I have a roommate, I never feel cramped.
Another thing that has been a lot to get used to is communal bathrooms. I tend to be a very private person, so sharing a bathroom with twenty people was a bit of a culture shock. After about four months, I have become increasingly acclimated. However, I have definitely gained a new appreciation for people who clean up after themselves.
Almost every time I go to take a shower, I am greeted with the uncomfortable sight of multiple stray hairs clumped in the drain. People also seem to be missing the very obvious trash can when throwing away their paper towels and tissues, and those are the most tame examples. My resident advisor (RA) has sent emails about people peeing on the floor and leaving used sanitary products out. I love and appreciate the janitorial staff for putting up with our mess, but to everyone out there living in the dorms: Please clean up after yourselves.
Even with all of the gross bathroom shenanigans, I feel a great sense of community here. I love all of the movie and game nights that the RAs have hosted, and I have made some wonderful friends with the people in my building. I also have a lot of love and appreciation for all that the RAs do for us. It has made my dorm experience so much better. Regardless of the flaws that come with living in the dorms, they could always be worse.