What independent living challenges arise as a college freshman starts his life in a dorm?

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Answered by: Joe, An Expert in the Life in a Dorm Category
Leaving home to attend college is a time filled with uncertainty and anxiety. A college freshman packs his bags and sets out on a new adventure that he soon discovers is nowhere close to being as exciting as he thought. Nothing can shake a teen's confidence more than moving into a dorm. It's an experience for which he cannot prepare, but it might be one that serves as a rite of passage to adulthood.

With dorm life comes independent living challenges. No longer is mom on hand to wash clothes, clean messes, or prepare meals. Suddenly, the new college student must figure out such simple things as separating white and colored clothes or regular items from delicate ones for washing. Sweeping and dusting now become the young person's responsibilities. Making arrangements for meals is up to him. If he chooses to cook for himself, the decisions of what foods to buy and where to store them must be made. He also must find a place to clean dishes and utensils after meals.

Roommates can be another area of concern. No assurances can be given that the person with whom the teen shares a room will be a good fit. Personality conflicts between roommates often can lead to tense moments filled with arguments and irritation. Personal preferences also come into play. One roommate might be a morning person while the other is a night owl. One roommate's mess can clash with the other's need for neatness and order. Even the difference between reserved and gregarious individuals can make sharing a room a nightmare of an experience.

Room security is another problem. Leaving a room unlocked long enough to make a trip to the bathroom or to visit a room across the hall is an invitation to unsavory characters who are always looking for opportunities to steal valuables or cash. Even locks on refrigerators are necessary sometimes to prevent pilfering of food and drinks by roommates and other uninvited visitors.

The noise level of the dorm disturbs many students. Almost every room is equipped with a television and some system for playing music. Some dorm residents are aspiring musicians who flood the air with a cacophony of riffs and rhythms. In addition, groups often engage in raucous behaviors that include shrill screams and boisterous laughter that echo down the hallways of the dorm. For a student trying to study for an exam or comprehend a scene from a Shakespearean play, the noise is difficult to overcome. The only solution is to leave the supposed comfortable confines of a dorm room to find the quiet of the library or some other out-of-the-way place.

Dorm life introduces new college students to a chaotic life that isn't controlled by parents.He quickly encounters many independent living challenges. It's a baptism into learning to get along and make concessions in many areas. College studies prepare young people for future careers, but dorm residency offers a more fundamental education. It is in these housing units that teens learn how to survive in a world much larger and demanding than the one inside their parents' home.

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