What no one tells you about living in a dorm

By Tahira Taqi on September 14, 2012

This Thursday marked my one month anniversary of living in my dorm room. But I didn’t get a cake or a present, just a sigh of relief. Don’t get me wrong, living in a dorm has its perks and its good times, but there are some things people don’t warn or prepare you for before you make the move. These are just some of the things I’ve noticed the past month I’ve been here.

1. Those so-called “quiet hours” don’t actually exist.

It may be 10:30 p.m. and you’re studying in your room for a quiz or test the next day, thinking it will be quiet since quiet hours should be in effect. All of a sudden, your suitemates start laughing uncontrollably, the room across from you starts blaring dubstep, and someone runs up and down the hall screaming. You think it will last 10 minutes, an hour tops? It continues the rest of the night, progressively getting lounder. So much for studying.

2. The lower the floor you live on, the more the trash room smells.

Living on Couch third floor has its perks: kitchen on the floor, easy enough to take the stairs up or down to your room, and easy to evacuate when there’s a fire drill in the middle of the night. But no one ever warned me about the foul smell radiating in all directions from the trash room. Since I’m on the third floor, all the trash from the floors above me has to pass through my trash chute, and sometimes it blocks it up. The result is an awful smell that requires me to hold my breath every time I pass by it to get in or out of my hall. That’s also why I have ten back-up air fresheners in my room once my current one no longer makes my room smell like raspberries.

3. The bathroom is a battle zone between you and your suitemates.

I will start off saying that based on the stories I’ve heard from others about their suitemates, mine aren’t awful at all. And they aren’t awful people, either. They are actually really nice and fun to be around. But when it comes to sharing the bathroom, that’s a different story. Usually when someone finishes a roll of toilet paper, it seems like the logical thing to do would be put another roll in its place. But when a roll of toilet paper you put in there is gone in two days, and you’re the only one supplying the toilet paper, something is not right. It also doesn’t seem right to come back from class to water on the bathroom floor because someone overfilled the toilet and decided to not clean it up.

4. The laundry room is quiet and empty Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning.

After my Friday class is done at 10:20, I am done for the day with classes, so I have been doing laundry after that class. It’s been relatively empty and quiet in the laundry room then, making it nice to catch up on some studying, reading, or Netflix. I have also found that after all the partying Friday and Saturday night, people the next morning aren’t thinking about getting their laundry done at 9 or 10 a.m., making it quiet down in the basement then too.

5. Sometimes you learn more from your hallmates and roommate than you do in class.

When I applied for housing at OU, I did potluck and was very nervous as to who my roommate would be. Although no one is perfect, my roommate has been wonderful this past month. Living on the international floor has taught me so much about different cultures, their customs, and their lifestyles. My roommate is from Swaziland, a country I knew little about and had only heard of in my seventh grade geography class. This past month, she has taught me so much about the differences between living here and there, the language she speaks, and the cultural activities she enjoys. My suitemate from China has been more than willing to talk about her home country and the language (which helps me since I currently am taking Chinese). But more than that, they have all taught me so much about myself. They have helped me learn my boundaries, become more grounded in who I am as a person, and have taught me the value of friends and family. I can’t wait to learn so much more from my hall the rest of this and next semester.

I was born on an island called Bahrain, and then moved to Tulsa, OK when I was three years old. After becoming involved in yearbook for four years in high school, I decided I wanted to pursue a degree at the Gaylord College of Journalism at the University of Oklahoma. Currently, my major is public relations with a minor in international studies. I work at The OU Daily as a copy editor starting the fall of my freshman year at OU.

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