7 Strategies for a Student in a Single Dorm Room

Survive your freshman year single with these simple tips.

Dorm life is an exciting part of the college experience because it exposes you to new people and points of view. Most colleges require students to live in a dorm room during their freshman year because living with roommates can be a very transformative part of college.

What happens when you don’t have a roommate? Living in a single is a different kind of dorm experience with its own benefits and disadvantages. Many colleges, like the University of Houston, University of Colorado and UCLA, don’t allow freshman year students to live in a single because they want new students to experience life with a roommate. Still, you might go to a school that uses a lottery system for housing, or attend a school like Frostburg State University in Maryland that allows freshmen who are enrolled in honor programs to have single rooms. If you do get a single, here are some tips to surviving dorm life.

1. Go Out and Make Friends

One of the reasons colleges encourage new students to live in dormitories is because it allows students to meet new people right away. Living in close proximity is a way for students to get to know each other.

If you don’t have a roommate, then make sure you get out of your room and spend time with the other students on your floor or in your dorm.

2. Stay Active

A study at Marquette University showed that women with roommates who weighed more than they did actually gained less weight during college than when they roomed with someone who was thinner. The study states that this was because people who weigh more tend to be more into dieting and exercise and that often rubs off on all students in the dorm room.

While the study doesn’t talk about singles, it does imply that a lack of roommates might have a negative impact on your fitness. Stay active and find a friend who wants to work out regularly.

3. Enjoy the Space and Privacy

Your single may be small, but imagine how little space you’d have with another person! It’s nice not having to worry about someone else with smelly perfume or blaring loud music when you’re trying to sleep. Don’t forget to enjoy the privacy and take advantage of it to be creative with your space.

4. Use Your Room as a Study Spot

While it’s fun to study with friends outside on the quad, in the library or at the campus coffee shop, your own private room is a great study spot. A recent report from the University of Western Ontario states that video games and living with a roommate who plays video games will often lower your GPA in college. When you need to focus on studying and not playing around, your room is a great, quiet place to study.

5. Invite Your Friends

On the other hand, when you’re taking a break from studying, your room can be a great hangout spot. Since you don’t have three people’s worth of clothes, furniture, books and other mess all over, you can fit more people in the room to have a good time.

It can feel isolating in a single sometimes, so liven up your dorm life with some friends. Just be wary of your dorm’s policies on parties, drinking and quiet hours.

6. Make sure you have everything you need.

You don’t have any roommates to help furnish your dorm room, so make sure you take the time to go out and get the mini-fridge and the microwave. While it’s great to not have to worry about your roommate taking things from you, remember you won’t have anyone to borrow from either — like paper towels, soap or pencils. Make sure you’re fully stocked on everything!

7. Manage Your Time Effectively

With no one around, it can be easy to forget about studying, sleeping and maybe even showering. Having a lot of freedom can be fun, but learning to manage your time effectively is a part of growing up. When you see your roommate studying, you might remember that you have a test tomorrow. In a single, you have to remind yourself to study.

Take precautions to stay organized and your single can be a great place to live.

Sources: New York Times

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