3rd Year, Interdisciplinary Arts Major
Living in student accommodation might be one of the things everyone looks forward to when entering university.
I was also the one who was excited and nervous about living in the student residence. From my personal experience living in the student accommodation for 2 years, here are some tips I can give.
1. Make ground rules
Split the cleaning and household goods/toiletry responsibilities early on. Usually, we have a unit meeting at the beginning of the semester to discuss ground rules and make sure everyone is on the same page about these rules. However, there will be times when the rules don’t work, such as when garbage bags are full (especially during final exam season) and the only one cleaning is you. When this happens, don’t be afraid to speak up. If this goes right, you’ll cut out one of the causes of stress in dorm life.
2. Remember you are not alone
Remember you are not alone in the student residence. Other students are living in the same space, therefore be considerate, not to mention, follow the rules. We all have a different lifestyle, culture, background, and such. Even if you are okay with something, it might be not okay for others or vice versa. Try to think about others when you use the common area. If there’s some problem, try to have a talk and figure out the way for a better life for each other. By doing so, you can manage a good relationship with your unit mates.
3. Make it your own
The iCLA student accommodation room is simple and it doesn’t feel like your room yet when you first move in. There won’t be any of your familiar comforts when you first move in. Make it yours as soon as possible by putting up postcards and photos or bringing your favorite stuffed animals. Also, getting a plant is another choice. I felt an emptiness even after I put my stuff in, so I got small artificial plants. There are plenty of trees and mountains around our campus, but a small plant on your table is also good. Making your room a place where you can relax can help ease your stress when new things have just started.
4. Keep your schedule
Having friends in the student residence and spending time with them is always good. Especially when you just move in, you will be excited about the new environments and new people. Also, living in the student residence gives you more freedom, and there is no one to supervise you. You can stay up with your friends, you can keep reading your favorite novel, or play games until late. It’s okay to have fun but make sure you maintain your schedule for study and sleep. When university students are too absorbed in other things and mess up their studies due to less sleep, it’s like putting the cart before the horse. Too much of one thing is not good for you. Remember to keep balance with fun things and life as a student. Then you can continue to have good performance in your studies while you enjoy spending time with friends or staying in your room.
5. Find your place
You might not be relaxed enough since you have unit mates and floormates. Or you might have difficulties with focusing in your room where the bed is waiting next to your desk. To live in a limited space with less stress, find a spot on-campus or off-campus that can serve as your space such as a library, study room, friend’s room, or lounge area. When you want to focus on your assignments during exam week, or change a place and clear your mind, spending time outside of your room will help you to refresh and balance alone time and time with friends.
You may feel worried about living away from home, because these are common struggles which many of us face when living in a shared space. But it’s not all about worry and stress, though. I cannot list up all the great memories I have had in the dorm since there’s a lot, such as chatting with my unit mates or friends in the other units until late and cooking together during the weekend.
Wonderful university life includes ups and downs. So make friends, help each other out, survive together and create memories that you won’t forget for the rest of your life.