Coming to college is a big deal—you have to learn how to navigate a new campus, make new friends, and figure out new profs. The biggest adjustment could arguable be, however, learning to live in the dorms. At Dordt, freshman and sophomore are required to live in the dorms. For many people, the dorms are the best and worst of their first years at college.
An adjustment less well known, however, and therefore perhaps less well prepared for, comes junior year: moving into the apartments. Southview, Kuyper, East Campus: each apartment complex on campus is unique, and yet there are certain things they all have in common. I’ve put together my list of top three from my experience in the apartments.
1. Roommates are the worst. For doing homework, that is. Imagine yourself on a school night, just settled down on the couch in the living room to do your homework after a day full of classes, practice, a meeting or two, dinner, and clean-up. Then, one-by-one, the roommates come marching in, cook their dinners, chat to you about their days, play their music, and sit down to “work on homework.” Before you know it, you’re either jamming out to a dance party or having deep conversations about the meaning of life. If you manage to get in a good half hour of studying, you obviously have to reward yourselves with a trip to 55th for a hot cookie. And as soon as you all settle down again, someone farts and you’re all rolling with laughter. Like I said, roommates are the worst.
2. Food is time and time is an investment. Pretty much what I mean by that is that if you don’t put any time into the planning, shopping, and learning to be proficient in cooking, you end up eating a lot of toast (or ramen noodles, although I was never really into those). Thank goodness for the 5-meal plan for upperclassmen, but adjusting to having to cook for myself was definitely something I had to work at. Thankfully, eventually even I learned about what foods are relatively easy to make and what I like to make and that leftovers are the best thing ever.
3. There are two types of college students: those who spend all their time in their rooms and those who spend none of their time in their rooms. Your apartment, unlike your dorm room, is more than just a room that contains your bed and belongings. That fact means that it can be tempting to come back after classes and not leave—after all, you have food, coffee, wifi, and your bed. What more do you need? On the other hand, some people never spent any time in their dorm rooms, and this habit carried over into their apartment lives. I suggest finding a balance of both—it’s good to spend time outside, in the library, in the gym, or in friends’ apartments, but it’s also good to settle down every once in a while and take time to enjoy the meals that you cook, to talk with your roommates, and to make your living space your home.