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5 Lessons Dorm Living Teaches You

Living in the dorms is beneficial in so many ways, including providing students with important life lessons.

Erica Cirino, Varsity Tutors' Contributor

June 02, 2015

5 Lessons Dorm Living Teaches You
Some students say that living on campus is helpful when attending college far from home, as it saves them both money and the hassle of securing off-campus housing. Other students choose to live on campus because it’s convenient when managing a full course load. For many students – both current and incoming – living on campus is simply a vital part of the quintessential college experience.

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No matter your reason (or reasons) for residing in an on-campus dorm, one thing is certain – doing so will teach you many life lessons, including how to live independently after college. Though much of what you learn from dorm life tends to be social, on-campus living can also teach you some very important academic lessons. Here are just five of them:

1. Cooperative living and working

Living in a traditional college dorm requires near-constant cooperation. From agreeing on when it’s alright to have friends over, to who’s in charge of feeding the goldfish, successfully co-existing with your roommate means frequently communicating and compromising with one another.

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As a college student, you’ll likely be assigned many group projects. Living with a roommate can prepare you for such cooperative academic assignments. You’ll be a better listener when it comes to hearing others’ ideas and opinions, and you’ll also improve your ability to convey your thoughts to others.

2. Organization

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When it comes to living in a dorm, organization is key. If you neglect to keep your belongings in order, you will risk losing an item or having it accidentally thrown away. Stay organized, and you’ll always know where to find what you need. This organizational aptitude is also essential when it comes to academics. Organization is important for keeping track of critical assignments, class materials, and so much more.

3. Your ideal study style

Living in the close confines of a dorm will prompt you to adapt to your roommate’s lifestyle. It can be challenging to get used to dorm life, especially if your roommate has habits that are very different from your own. But adapting to your roommate’s lifestyle has a hidden perk – learning what study style works best for you. When living on campus, test several locations and routines: with and without noise-cancelling headphones in your dorm room, in the library, in the morning, at night… you can even try studying with your roommate! Over time, you will learn which strategies work best for you.

4. Academic responsibility

When you decided to live on campus, your parents might have told you, “No one will be there to wake you up for class.” And they’re right – unless you have an exceptionally generous and caring roommate, that task will fall completely on you. But, besides getting to class on time, dorm life requires that you take on other responsibilities, including household obligations like cleaning and laundry. Managing your personal responsibilities can ultimately help you become more academically responsible. After all, you are more likely to put effort and dedication into your academics if you first make a habit of doing so in other aspects of your life.

5. Which classes to take (or avoid)

Living with a roommate is almost like having an “at-home” adviser to help you through any number of situations. This also applies to your academic choices. For example, a roommate can tell you about any must-take or must-avoid classes he or she has had. He or she can also provide you with personal insight into experiences like double majoring or carrying a minor. Making the right choices can become a bit easier when you can talk through your options with someone who has been there.

Erica Cirino is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a technology platform for private academic tutoring and test prep designed to help students at all levels of education achieve academic excellence.

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