Tips to make the most of your time as a dorm dweller

Lentz dining hall.

File photo

Lentz dining hall.

By Josie Arnett

For incoming freshmen used to living at home, dorm life can be difficult to navigate. As a sophomore living in the dorms, I have a few tricks up my sleeve; the following are some lessons I’ve learned from my time in SIU residence halls.

Take the roommate agreement seriously.

Whether you have been friends forever or you’ve never met before, it’s weird to sit down and talk about things that bother you, boundaries and how to go about certain issues. Still, don’t blow it off. Taking it seriously helps you immediately bond and figure out how things are going to work for the rest of the year.


Knock on the bathroom door.

Every time. Trust me. Knock on the door so much that it becomes a habit every time you enter through any door.

Give a funeral for a stuffed animal.

Make friends. Make goofy friends that you like hanging out with. And when one of those friend’s stuffed animals gets moldy, be there for that person. Wrap the stuffed animal in a chip bag and follow the funeral procession to the lake. Pay your respects. Do goofy, stupid things.

De-loft your bed.

Seriously, de-loft your bed at the beginning of the year when your parents are there to help you move in. You’ll thank yourself when you’re not hitting your head on the ceiling at 4 a.m. or climbing down a ladder in the middle of the night to pee.

Load up on toilet paper.


Get involved.

Go to athletic events, the Registered Student Organization fairs, Weeks of Welcome Events and Saluki Startup. College is fun if you make it fun, and it’s not always about what you do on Friday and Saturday nights. There are fun memories to be made from watermelon bowling, feeding the Salukis and waving the flag at games. None of those things happen if you don’t go.

Take advantage of the free stuff.

There’s a lot of free stuff out there waiting for you. The Student Center is a hotspot. Load up on sunglasses, cups, t-shirts, candy, water bottles, pop sockets, pens and so much more. Enjoy free things being handed to you while you can.

Hang out in the hallway/lounge.

If you have homework or things that you can do with other people, then get out of your room. You’ll meet people, and soon enough you’ll have all the tables lined up for the perfect hangout spot.

Make deviled eggs in the cafeteria.

There is a lot more than meets the eye when it comes to dining hall food. Get creative when things start to get boring. It’s not as hard as you think to come up with coffee ice cream, cheesy garlic bread and gourmet deviled eggs.

Get outside.

Don’t get dorm fever — get outside! Bring a hammock, a soccer ball, frisbee, whatever.

Play inside, too.

Don’t forget that on rainy days, board games are a great way to get a group of people together. Also try some floor-wide games. Running around the hallways is a fun way to remember you don’t always have to be an adult.

Plan your laundry.

Do not try to do your laundry on a Sunday. Everyone is trying to get it done on Sundays; it just won’t work. And don’t leave your laundry in too long, either. It may get pooped on.

Bring a rug.

There’s more space in a dorm room than you might think. It makes things more comfortable, stylish and home-y.


Getting delivery is fun, but be smart about it. Create a Papa John’s account, download the McDonald’s app and look through the Rovertown App for deals so you don’t go broke by midterms.


Make the most of your time in the dorms now, because the things about residence hall life that annoy you now will be looked back on with nostalgia later. Follow the above tips to make sure your years as a dorm dweller are well-spent.

Staff designer Josie Arnett can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JosieArnett

To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.