Back to School Basics: Basic Dorm Etiquette for Students

For some, college and university also involves a move away from home and a new start in a house or a dorm with new room-mates. This can be terrifying, especially if you’ve never lived in a dorm before! For those about to move out and start the adventure that living with new people presents, there are a few simple rules of etiquette that you should keep in mind, both for your own happiness and the happiness of your room-mates. After all, you don’t want to have to spend the better part of a year living with people who you’ve annoyed in some way or another!

Wash Your Dishes

This is almost common sense, but it is also incredibly important! If dishes are not washed, they simply pile up in the sink and will create an awful stench every time you walk into the kitchen — not to mention that they can cause space issues when others try to wash their own dishes. If you leave the dishes piled up then it’s likely that someone will eventually clean them, but they will not be happy about it. So if you use any dishes, wash them up and put them back where they belong. It takes a few seconds and it’ll prevent arguments between your house-mates!

Tidy Up Your Own Mess

No matter how tedious it may seem, tidying up after yourself is essential. Nobody likes to live in a messy, dirty house. If everybody leaves their own mess behind, then it multiplies and you will end up living in exactly that. The simplest way to avoid mess-oriented arguments is to clean up your own mess before anyone can see it. Not only does this keep the house tidy and mess-free, it also prevents your own stuff from getting broken or your house-mates yelling at you for leaving a dirty towel on the floor.

Create Rotas / Schedules for Tedious Tasks

Another tip for keeping shared areas like the kitchen and living areas clean and usable is to create a rota or schedule. Doing this for simple things like cleaning off work surfaces, hoovering and taking out bin bags ensures that one person is not being left with all of the work. This also means that there is always someone responsible for keeping a certain area tidy, which means that only they can get the blame if a bin bag is left lying, or if crumbs are left on a work surface. From personal experience, this tends to ensure that people do their own task, as they don’t want to be the one who is yelled at for not being a team player!

Let Your House-Mates Know if You’re Having Guests

This goes for anybody. Friends, family, significant others — it doesn’t matter who you’re inviting over, if you’re bringing someone into a shared house, it is only common courtesy to let the rest of the house know that you’re entertaining guests. Even if your guest only intends to stay in your room, they will still have to enter areas like the kitchen and the bathroom, and there is nothing worse than bumping into a complete stranger on your way to cook dinner for yourself. Even if it’s a simple text message or a quick word in the hallway, giving people the heads-up about your guest will mean that they won’t have any surprises!

Keep the Noise Down

Different people are used to different levels of noise. Some of us love to listen to music extremely loudly. Some of us have arguments over the phone that involve a lot of shouting. Some of us just love to laugh out loud at our favourite comedies. This might be alright at home where your family or friends may be used to the noise, however, you need to remember that in a college / university dorm, you’re in with different people who may not necessarily know you. So try to keep the noise down, especially in the later hours of the evening. There’s nothing worse than trying to sleep when the person in the room beside you is insisting on listening to thrash metal at top volume!

Be Respectful of Other People’s Beliefs

College dorms tend to be a healthy mix of people from all over, and it’s highly likely that you’re going to find someone who has differing views on life than you do. Whether it’s politics, religion or simply their views on the environment, do not look down on someone else or scoff because of their beliefs. Yes, you may not agree with their point of view, but your point of view may not be appealing to them either. If you can’t talk civilly about a topic with someone, then it is always best to avoid it — this avoids any tense arguments!

Don’t Hog the Television

Yes, you might want to watch that totally amazing Say Yes to the Dress marathon that’s showing on TLC this weekend. Your house-mates, on the other hand, might not. Hogging the television is pretty close to being a cardinal sin, so if you find that you’re opposed by all of your house-mates, then let the marathon go and choose something that everybody will enjoy. After all, basically everything is available to watch online these days, and you can always catch up on the tales of those indecisive brides at a later date. Television shows give you a temporary happiness, but it isn’t worth a year of your house-mates hating you for forcing them into watching trash TV.

Take Your Keys on Nights Out!

Imagine the scene. You’re curled up in your bed, all cosy and halfway to dreamland. You’re warm, happy and completely content with life. That is, until an incessant hammering sounds from the front door. It is one of your room-mates, looking to get in the house. You’ve been dragged unwillingly from your slumber and now you’re irritated, all because somebody forgot their keys. So, if you think that you’re going to be out past midnight, it might be an idea to pack your keys into a bag to avoid any late-night confrontations with other house-mates.

Living with new people for the first time doesn’t always sound like the most exciting thing to do, and for some it can be downright terrifying. However, as long as you follow simple etiquette and don’t do things to deliberately annoy others, then it shouldn’t be a problem! Think of your dorm or house as a new adventure — you’re bound to make new friends! So remember your basic etiquette, but most importantly, go out there and have fun!

Special thanks losing control. and sindie Synclayre for editing.

Latest articles