The dorm life is not like in the TV show “Gilmore Girls” where Rory moves in a two-bedroom suite with a spacious living room that she shares with three other Yale attendees. It’s not always a big party in a dorm building with college boys chugging from a beer keg upside down.
Reality is, you’ll spend more time in the library buried in books than drinking with your blockmates in a college bar.
College may be your first taste of freedom—from parental control to (junk) food intake—but this freedom could be bittersweet. After the first few weeks of living in a dormitory or a condominium, homesickness sets in. You’re in charge of your diet, your laundry and yourself. You realize this not an extended sleepover party. It’s college life.
Super has come up with tips for you to survive the dorm life:
Make friends with your roommates. Your roommates are your first friends in college. You share a sleeping place with them. You eat, you study and you share a bathroom with your roommates. And like any good friend, roommates lend you textbooks. Their study habits could also rub off on you, like if you see them doing their homework, you get this urge to join in and do some studying yourself.
Don’t skip curfew if you have no place to crash. Most dormitories impose a strict curfew and the person implementing that Cinderella hour is usually one scary lady. Sometimes they phone your parents if you miss the curfew, while others are a lot more forgiving. There are even dormitories that ask you to clock in and out of the building every time.
In the event that the dormitory closes its gates for you, make sure you have a place to crash, like your home if you live in Metro Manila and nearby provinces, or a friend’s house. Breaking the rules is fun, but not having a place to spend the night is not fun at all.
Search for restaurants that serve home-cooked meals. Instant noodles, kwek-kwek, microwaveable meals and fast food are cheap but super unhealthy. At one point in your college life you’ll swear off the ever-ubiquitous chicken in your diet and you’ll crave your mom’s sinigang or adobo.
The good news is that universities are surrounded by carinderias that serve excellent but budget-friendly meals.
Keep a first-aid kit. Getting sick, whether it’s a mild stomachache or fever, is inevitable. The first time you catch the flu and you’re in a dormitory, you’ll be looking for your mommy or daddy to look after you. But you’re 18 (or over) by now, and you’ll have to take care of yourself. It’s good sense to keep a stash of over-the-counter medicines, like paracetamol, cold meds and antihistamine.
Study hard. You’re in college to learn. Your parents sent you to the big kids’ school in the big city so you could start your dream as an architect or a scientist or a doctor. They put you up in a comfortable living space near the school. Your No. 1 job is to learn.
Some people will tell you that grades do not matter when you get out in the real world, and it is somewhat true. But this does not mean that you should be lax in your studies.
Call home. Your parents, your siblings and your pets miss you as much as you miss them. Make sure to keep in touch despite your heavy schedule. They’ll always give you the energy boost to go on.
Find a dorm that suits your needs. Thanks to the heavy traffic in Metro Manila it takes about two hours to travel from point A to point B. This is the very reason why most students and even young professionals opt to live in a dormitory.
When choosing a place to live, you must always ask yourself “Am I going to be comfortable here?” There are dormitories run by religious groups. Then there are dormitories where you are stuck in a tiny room with two bunk beds, a shared bathroom and three roommates.
If you have high school friends who are going to the same school, you could opt into renting or buying a condominium (of course, your parents have the purchasing power so ask them first). Torre Lorenzo, for example, is an alternative place to stay along Taft Avenue and Katipunan. The buildings are a few hundred meters from universities and it has amenities like fitness center, swimming pool and even a study hall.
Living in a condominium gives you more freedom. You can cook, you can invite guests, you decide when it’s time for lights out. You can even hand-wash your dirty laundry. More importantly, you won’t be locked out when you miss curfew.