Move in day is quickly approaching Panthers! Your first year at college is crucial, as it’s when you will make most your friends, find yourself, and experience living on your own for the first time. I’m sure you have heard from other college students about the “dreaded” dorms, the “awful” food, and the “fun sucker” RA you are stuck with all year. You’ve probably already formed some sort of opinion and outlook on what it’s going to be like living in the dorms, with a roommate, and how much fun you’re going to have.
As a UW-Milwaukee senior who has survived Sandburg Hall, as well as a former Resident Assistant in Cambridge Commons, I have a few tips for you on it all. Be sure to follow them if you want no issues with your RA, the least amount of roommate fights, and the best year of your life.
1. Go to your floor meetings! I know this might be a drag because it’s the last thing you want to do
when you first move in, as well as throughout the year, but they’re super important. RAs
schedule these during important times of the year to inform you of what is to come, any
important announcements, and things that you can benefit from.
2. Follow the policies. I know that rules are annoying because you are living on your own, and
away from your parents so the last thing you want is another person telling you what to do, or
can’t do. These policies are in place for your safety and respect of others around you. No one is
saying you can’t live it up, but just do it someplace else and not at 3 a.m. on a Tuesday. You can
check the housing policies online before you move in, too. This way you won’t be bringing
anything that you can’t have due to fire regulations.
3. Communicate with your roommate. Talk about things that may seem minimal, but could
eventually lead to bigger issues. Figure out each other’s sleep schedule, and respect. Ask if you
guys can share things, who is going to clean what and when, can people sleepover, etc. Your RA
is a great resource for this as well! Your RA will even have you fill out what is called a roommate
agreement, which essentially forces the two of you to break down the ins and outs of living
together. Take this seriously!
4. Go to events! Fall Welcome is the best time of the year and the time where most is going on.
Things ranging from Brewers games, boat tours, midnight Target trips, food festivals to Panther
Fest! Hit up everything you can because this is all for you! There are tons of fun things to do, as
well as free food at practically every event. Your RA will also host events throughout the year
that are right outside your door, so be sure to check those out and make connections with
people on your floor. As a former RA, I always had the best snacks and food possible, so that’s
always a plus!
5. Weigh out the pros and cons of your building and living in the dorms. For example, if you have been assigned to Sandburg you may have to wait a few minutes for the elevator if you don’t feel like walking the 25 flights of stairs like me as a freshman. BUT you are right on campus! The building might not have air conditioning and be a little old, however, there are amazing views of the lake and campus in almost every room. Sometimes the food is not going to be that great, but the good news is you have Palms and Restore which are open late at night for your cravings. The wifi might be spotty sometimes, but good thing there’s always Flicks and other movie theaters nearby when Netflix
won’t stop buffering.
6. Make an effort. Whether this is with your roommates, floormates, RA or anyone you come across; reach out. Your first year will be so much better if you form close relationships with those around you. I highly recommend forming a relationship with your RA. They will still be an authority figure, but RAs are people too! Hangout with them, get to know them and we will probably share all our insight on how to survive the dorms and college overall.