The Art of Dorming

Andrea Chevalier, Associate Culture Editor

They’ve fled the nest. Students have made it through their high school years and are moving up in the world. They’ve been accepted to SUNY Buffalo State and have possibly just made the biggest move of their lives so far. Transitioning from living at home to a college campus surrounded by hundreds of people their age in close quarters can be a huge change and a difficult transition, though it doesn’t have to be.

“Depending on how far you traveled, if you’re new to Buffalo or not, you will feel big differences living on campus,” said Jessica Dubois, senior education major and former SUNY Buffalo State orientation leader. “Your parents are no longer around to tell you to pick up your clothes. That’s all on you now.

“And the dorm is what you make it. You can either make it horrible for you and your roommate or you can make it your second home.

“You’ll need to be open to trying new things, stepping out of your comfort zone, and making good decisions all the while.”

The fun and freedom a student experiences during his or her first year of living on campus away from their family is all part of the college experience. Though Buffalo State is primarily a commuter college, there are still local students who venture away from home and live on campus, whether it’s simply to get the full college experience or to reduce the stress of the commute into the city. For Sameerah Jabrhamdan, senior music education and psychology double major from Clarence, the choice to live on campus, even though she lives close to the school, was to help her stay focused on her academics and her involvement in Buffalo State Chorale and Vocal Jazz.

“I chose to live on campus because my schedule was crazy with being a double major,” she said. “I would have 8 a.m. classes and then have to stay at school late for concerts or rehearsals. For me, living on campus, even though it’s so close to home, makes more sense because I feel like I can focus more on schoolwork than I can at home.”

Having a roommate may be a new experience for students, especially when it’s someone he or she has never met face-to-face before the day they moved to college.

Here are some tips to limit the stress of sharing a dorm with a roommate:

  • Students should let each of their roommates know when he or she is going to bring guests over to their shared dorm. That does not mean students are asking for their roommates’ permission, just giving them a heads up that when he or she comes back to their room, there is going to be someone else there.
  • Roommates could set aside one night a month or so just for them to hang out and grab a bite to eat just to stay in touch. Roommates don’t have to be best friends, but being able to sit down and talk every once in a while will help keep your relationship civil, at least.
  • Communicate with each other. If your roommate is doing something or did something that upsets you, you should let them know politely. If roommates don’t tell each other what he or she did wrong, the behavior may never improve.

“You’re going to have to be flexible,” said Journee Robinson, senior education major. “Your roommate and you have been raised differently so you will experience issues but not every disagreement has to be a catastrophe. Listening and compromising will be key.”

She suggested writing up an agreement right away as guidelines for roommates’ living situations.

“Take your roommate contract seriously. It will save you when you feel like you can’t take it anymore,” she said.

Living on campus is a part of many students’ college experience. Being a good, responsible, and serious roommate may help improve all aspects of students’ lives and keep them on the track for graduation.


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