I’ve been a college graduate for almost four months. Actually, as my adviser has reminded me on several occasions, I won’t actually graduate from Ursinus College until May (I have my fingers crossed that I actually fulfilled all my major/minor requirements).
In any case, I’ve been out of college long enough to start to miss dorm life. It sounds weird to admit it, but I’ve grown attached to living in a dorm. I started boarding school at 15 and have lived in a dorm ever since. Studying abroad in Japan for my junior year of college was the first time in five years I didn’t have a roommate and didn’t live in a dormitory.
I loved it – but I got lonely. Not all the time… but often enough to miss dorm life.
When I went back to America for five months (to graduate), I feel back into the dorm life routine and started put a finger on all the things I missed while living in an apartment abroad.
These are the 6 Best Things about living in a College Dormitory
1. You can pool your wardrobe with dorm-mates for interviews and special functions
Let’s be honest, you can never have enough clothes. Or at least, if you can, I haven’t hit that point yet. However, I also can’t afford to shop (being a broke newlywed, etc).
Living in a dorm taught me that my wardrobe was as big as my friend list – especially when it came to accessories. I didn’t own pearl earrings, but a girl who lived down the hall did. When I needed a jean jacket for a Halloween costume, another friend volunteered her jacket. Another dormmate who lived the floor below let me borrow a dress for my bachelorette party. The list goes on.
You don’t have to own all your fashion “must haves” – just as long as you have friends who do. I have a large collection of ballgowns and dresses that I leant out to friends during the Ursinus College equivalent of “prom.”
2. A friendly shoulder to cry on is only a couple of doors away
Perhaps the best example of this came in early November of last year. Ryosuke was supposed to be on a plane to America – but he was having troubles at immigration.
Since he is Japanese, he can get a 90 day visa waiver online. Japan is one of those countries that has a special arrangement with the US regarding foreign travel. He was scheduled to arrive in early November and leave in late February – a trip spanning a bit over 100 days.
Our “solution” was to go on a honeymoon through South America. While abroad, he would re-apply for a visa waiver. He would spend about 70 days in country with the first visa waiver and 15 days in country with the second visa waiver (spending 20 days in South America).
Unfortunately the Japanese/US customs didn’t see it that way. He was having trouble getting on the flight and they wouldn’t let him actually get on the plane until he changed his return ticket to be somewhere in that 90 day window, which was smack in the middle of our honeymoon in South America.
Needless to say, I freaked out.
I was terrified he would be turned away at customs, he would miss his flight, or that something would go wrong. He wasn’t sure if he would be able to change his return ticket in time to make his flight. He sent me a couple of emails throughout the process, but he lost wi-fi partway through.
The radio silence was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back. I had a full-blown panic attack. Mature, I know.
Luckily one of my best friends lived right down the hall. I ran to her room and had a nice cry on her shoulder as I processed what was going on. Ten minutes later, I got an email from Ryosuke saying he was on the flight, had changed his return ticket, and would be able to call in and change the flight later, once we had proof he would be leaving the country during that 90 day window.
3. Forced socializations
I can’t count the number of times I’ve had a heart-to-heart with dormates while we are brushing teeth. Or heading to the bathroom. Or cooking the community kitchen. Or just hanging out in the common room.
I’m naturally pretty social… but sometimes I would get overwhelmed and spend all day in the library. Every once and a while the only social interactions I would have that day came from living in the dorms.
[For more, check out: 9 Reasons Writing a Graduation Thesis sucks more than you think it does]
4. House Parties
So much easier than having to go downtown for dancing and drinking. House parties (especially if they aren’t at my house) are a nice perk of living on campus.
5. “Free” utilities
No electric, water, or gas bills to pay. I mean, dorms are pretty freakishly expensive, so that’s already been factored in. But it was nice not having to pay bills every month.
[For more, see: How to Pay your Utility Bills in Japan]
6. No (or next to no) commute
You know you’ve been living in the dorm for too long when the five minute walk seems unbearably long. And troublesome.
Towards the end of the semester, when I was stressed with finishing both graduation theses, I would roll out of bed and go to class in my pajamas.
Hey, don’t judge me. We’ve all been there.
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