Advice on living the dorm life

Photo shows students moving into CSUN dorms
Freshmen and their families piled in on move-in day at the new CSUN dorms. (Angelica Bonomo/The Sundial)

For many students, living on campus can be equally exciting and overwhelming. It is their first time having to take care of themselves or share a space with a roommate, which can be intimidating.

Residential adviser Briana Brown, a junior communications major, said it can be a tough transition for students living own their own.

“In the beginning it’s like [RAs] taking care of everything for them. So you have to just guide them and nurture them,” Brown said.

As a residential adviser, Brown’s job is to connect students to the campus and the resources they need to succeed, as well solve any troubles they might have.

Students who have lived on campus shared their survival tips for incoming students looking to dorm.

Ashley Robinson, 20, a junior recreation and tourism management major, has been living on campus for two years.

“Try to find a way to manage your time between school, work, studying and leisure time,” Robinson said. “Living on your own without parental supervision or encouragement to do your studies can cause you to spend less time on studies and procrastinate more, maybe even to the point of skipping class and assignments.”

For Robinson, time management was a skill that proved valuable while living on her own, though not without some trial-and-error.

“My freshman year living in the dorm I had no time management skills what so ever. I started skipping assignments or half-[attempting] them and started skipping class and ended up with a low GPA for my first semester,” Robinson said.

Brown gave similar advice, adding that getting to know one’s roommates will go a long way when solving disputes.

“If you have roommates that you don’t know, get to know them, don’t just stay in your room and expect everything to be all handy-dandy,” Brown said. “Get to know them, if there’s a problem talk it out.”

Another tip Robinson found essential when living in a dorm is setting boundaries with a roommate. Being able to live with another person is essential to a positive dorming experience.

“Set boundaries and ground rules with your roommates, as far as chores and space and visitors,” Robinson said. “If boundaries aren’t set one person can feel like they are doing more cleaning than the other person or people, and become resentful.”

Rekeia Harris, 20, a junior psychology major, believes staying on top of student housing fees is important to remember when living in a dorm.

“Get money in advance for fees if you rely for FAFSA, because the fees are due before FAFSA comes through and if you don’t pay or apply for housing in time you may lose a spot,” Harris said.

The most common and important tip students gave was to make friends, as they might also live in housing. Getting involved in on-campus activities helps in meeting new people.

“Get involved, try to get into clubs, go to on campus events, try to get to know some of your classmates, they may live in housing too and you could create study groups,” Harris said.

Daniel Gonzalez, 21, a junior business management major, agreed with this tip, adding the need to be sociable.

“Don’t be afraid to make friends and go to events alone because you’ll meet people,” Gonzalez said.

Brown gave a final piece of advice for incoming students that haven’t lived on their own before.

“Let time take its course. In the beginning you’re going to be scared, of course you’re moving from home, but just let time take its course,” Brown said. “Let there be change.”