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Dorm Life, and Soon!

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Hey everyone! I'm soon moving to a college dorm and would love to see if anyone else is (or has).
Can you tell me about your experiences (do and do not's) with regard to campus living?

Also, if you'd like to share photos of your dorm rooms, especially ones with aquariums, that would be great :)

I found out that I can have an aquarium, so I most likely will.
Because I'm a transfer student, I was able to secure my own room, so roommates will not be an issue.
I'm not sure how many gallons are easy to move...Most likely not going to take it home over the breaks.

Looking forward to hearing from you!
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I would recommend against an aquarium until you have a feel for dorm life. They are much easier to set up than they are to take down.

You have about a week where it is completely normal to sit at any table and talk to anyone. It gets harder once groups settle. Try to avoid spending all your time in your room for the first few days.

When you skip class, do so deliberately and plan appropriately. Know which classes are skippable (slides online, follows textbook closely, easy subject, etc...) and be aware of deadlines/exams. Find out what you missed, and make sure you keep up or things will get dicey later on.
 

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I lived in the dorms for my first year and had a blast. Basically met all my friends I have now and really don't talk to any from high school. So here are some tips that I can give you based on my experience and what I noticed around me.

1) Don't deal drugs out of your room (had a neighbor that did this and yeah you can say goodbye to going to that college again)

2) Don't walk around with beer, unless it is not a dry dorm. Luckily I was friends with the Residence Assitant (RA) and only had to write a paper on the affects of alcohol. Some places probably aren't that nice.

3) Don't pull the fire alarm. As fun as it may seem, being woken up at 3am when you have a test the next day sucks. And as bonus it was also pouring rain that morning. Also some fire alarms squirt ink on your hand when you pull it.

4) Don't take Everclear shots on your friends birthdays. You will hear about yourself sliding down the halls on your stomach and then have a huge hangover the next day and puke during class. Oh I forgot to mention you may just get dizzy and fall down in the hall on your way to class. Also you will be to drunk to tuck your family jewels back in your pants and walk down the hallway knocking on doors trying to find your room. Yeah not my proudest moment but one I will always try to remember.

5) Have fun and make sure you study. I did graduate but probably not to the best of my ability. Ended up having to go back to get another degree, wasn't necessarily my fault, more of the economy.

Sorry no advice on fish tanks in dorms, I wasn't interested in them until after college, but good luck to you!
 

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Bro disregard all the stuff the above people have said. Have a hell of a time and do whatever you want. You can only shape yourself into what you want to become and there will be obstacles.

Although I should caution you to avoid leaving your clothes in the laundry machines for too long. People WILL piss in your washed clothes.

Same with shoes left in the hallway..

Same with a fish tank in a common area..

Same with shampoo left in the shower..

actually.. let's just say don't give anyone a chance to piss on your property.
 

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Honeycomb Master
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DO: Bring a small aquarium that is maintainable, enjoyable, and easy to move.
DON'T: Bring an aquarium that is a hassle to maintain on a daily basis, can't be left alone for a few days at a time with little-to-no attention, and is a PITA to move.

For some reason i decided that bringing a 10 gallon saltwater reef tank was a good idea during my first year of college. It was an absolute blast to have and everyone in my hall loved it (the clownfish even became the hall "mascot" in a sense), but it was a pain to keep up with constant water evaporation as well as random livestock problems that are bound to happen in a small reef tank. It was a costly endeavor that i decided to give up as soon as the year ended. I would not recommend it to anyone, except for the most dedicated and experienced reef hobbyist.

This year i'm living in an on-campus apartment, and devised a freshwater setup that i think will be easier to keep during the academic year... less daily maintenance, for sure... but it's still going to be awful to move. We'll see how long this setup lasts.

In the end, if the hassle of having an aquarium in your dorm room is worth it to you, then go for it. My definition of "a hassle" was considered to be "a nightmare" to my friends-- especially when they watched me tear the tank down for winter break-- so it's really all about perspective.

And on a separate but important note, don't skip any class. It doesn't matter if the information covered in lectures is posted online or in the textbook. It is disrespectful to the professor, shows a lack of initiative and pure laziness, and is destined to get you no where in college. Going to class every day is really not that hard. If you have a strong work ethic, you are bound to be successful.
 

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4) Don't take Everclear shots on your friends birthdays. You will hear about yourself sliding down the halls on your stomach and then have a huge hangover the next day and puke during class. Oh I forgot to mention you may just get dizzy and fall down in the hall on your way to class. Also you will be to drunk to tuck your family jewels back in your pants and walk down the hallway knocking on doors trying to find your room. Yeah not my proudest moment but one I will always try to remember.
But Everclear gives you temporary super powers and fiery breath!


Don't be caught doing any underage drinking though. Some RAs and RHDs can be real strict about it.

As for fish tanks, ask your RA if their allowed in your building first before setting it up. Then stick with a small tank if you get the get go. Anything from 2.5-10 gallons is easy to maintain and easy break down and transport when you need to move out and such or when you're away for winter break.

I had a few aquariums while I dormed. Everyone ooo'd and ahhh'd whenever they saw my tank since it was planted and such. Though don't go overboard like one on the people down my hall. He had a 24 gallon saltwater cube that ran crazy reef lighting for his corals and a chiller 24/7.

Ah to be young and in college again...
 

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But Everclear gives you temporary super powers and fiery breath!

Don't be caught doing any underage drinking though. Some RAs and RHDs can be real strict about it.
Haha...super powers and fiery breath I did acquire.

Yes many colleges have very different rules as to what happens with underage drinking. I just lucked out the RA was my brothers friend and I hung out with all the people on the student government board. However, I know some people that were in the same shoes I was in and got academic probation and I know some colleges won't tolerate underage drinking at all.

Enjoy the dorms, it is a great way to meet lots of people and most of the time you will find plenty of people with the same interests as you.
 

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Good luck and have fun! Check out all the clubs and activities the school has to offer, ours had a non-credit school where you could learn sailing, audio recording, aqua phonics, etc. remember, you will probably not have free time again like this in your life, use it wisely! It might be difficult to make friends as a transfer student, but don't be afraid to strike up conversations with random people who you would never have thought to talk to before. Almost everyone has an interesting story or weird hobby. Calculate how much tuition (and books) costs per class beforehand and keep that in mind if you are thinking of skipping class. It helps. Don't smoke weed before dance class, it's way more work than it's worth. If you are not a morning person, don't sign up for classes in the morning. If you sign up for evening classes, there will be an awesome concert that semester. Go on all those derpy dorm field trips even if you weren't a joiner before. It will help you make friends and you will get to do things at the cheap group rate with transportation. We got to sleep overnight at the Vancouver, BC aquarium and watch the pilot whales getting it on in the morning. It's a nice aquarium. Never had a tank in the dorms because I was an out of state student. I an an off campus friend who did, but they stayed year round. Volunteer at the college radio station and theatre dept to get free admission to shows.
 

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Not trying to sidetrack this, but I think it's relevant and perhaps helpful to OP. If you have an aquarium in your dorm room, what do you do with it during breaks of more than a week or so when you retun home?
 

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You are going to be busy enough without a tank. You are going to have enough to worry about without a tank. And, if you're like I was, you'll have a hard enough time making ends meet without a tank, which can suck up money like a vacuum cleaner.
 

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Definitely do it. Just have fun. I gained some good friends because they stopped by the door when they walked by and saw it. (I kept my door open most of the time while home)

Oh, and take ballroom dance classes. You'll thank me later.

-Andrew


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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On the first day of every class show up 2-3 minutes before it starts and scan the talent. Sit next to the most talented one you see. Smile, hello, and make small talk. I met my wife doing this (genetics - last quarter before I graduated) and of course I made a lot of friends that were easy on the eye's.

As for the fish tank: A 10 gallon well thoughout low-tech tank is what I would do. You don't want to be worrying about the tank when the need for weekend roadtrip occurs. I was at a small school in the middle of nowhere in the mountains. A tent and a big sleeping bag... ahhh memories. I still have the 15 gallon I had in college.
 

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+1 for well thought out low-tech. You will not want to deal with a tank that is too much work and you will need to move it around. I would do 10 gallons max.

Have a good time but remember that school comes first... Many have made this mistake (I almost did) and all your hard work will pay off in the end if you focus on school as #1. It is very tempting to do very stupid things during the first few years. Avoiding these temptations will pay off in the long run as well.

I only graduated last year from UNH - feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions about college / whatever.
 

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I had a 10gal tank in my dorm room. Usually had a betta and/or a few tetras in it. Super easy to take care of.

I agree keep it simple, as low maintenance as possible, and small. You'll have to cart it back and forth home for long breaks.
 

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I had a 10gal tank in my dorm room. Usually had a betta and/or a few tetras in it. Super easy to take care of.

I agree keep it simple, as low maintenance as possible, and small. You'll have to cart it back and forth home for long breaks.
Thanks. Whether you meant to or not, that answered my question.
 

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On the first day of every class show up 2-3 minutes before it starts and scan the talent. Sit next to the most talented one you see. Smile, hello, and make small talk. I met my wife doing this (genetics - last quarter before I graduated) and of course I made a lot of friends that were easy on the eye's.
+1 Always a good idea if you don't know anyone in the class. Did this too, and at the least you should make some new friends.


Get a feel for your schedule first if you are unsure of how complicated to make your set up. What is your major? You should have plenty of time, but have an aquarium that can forgo a day or two of maintenance if you go home/away for a weekend or are extremely busy.

I never had more than a betta (and a few basic plants) while in school, but this was about 5 years ago and shrimp/more intricate nano fish were no where near as readily available here as they are now. I have a Spec on my desk at work filled with shrimp and I find it very easy to take care.

Get a part time job on campus for extra spending money (look for one in a campus office/lab depending on major as they can be really flexible with hours if you want to work more/less as your schedule permits). I often had to deliver documents to other buildings, and it helps you learn the campus fast as a freshman. Another plus if you get one on campus is that you should have off nights/weekends.

Take advantage of all the extra stuff your school may offer. Free/discounted trips/admission to places/events, free food, free software, access to gym/fitness centers, ect... The same goes for the extracurricular classes where you can learn something new and have some fun once or twice a week.
 

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Yeah, I've got some advice for you. Don't pick a stupid field of study to major in because there will be no career available after college. Only a silly piece of paper with more words on it. Do some research into emerging industries and find out where jobs are going to be available in the long term so after college, with a bit of networking, you'll be able to line up career prospects as opposed to working at Starbucks or some abysmal place like it for five years trying to find an opportunity for valuable job experience because you decided to major in Anthropology or some other nonsense like English, Poly Sci, Philosophy, Art History, Sports Management--you get my drift. I already have a degree from a reputable university but now I'm stuck in community college accumulating necessary prereqs for PA school. See, medicine is big where I live so the logical choice would be medicine as the field is expanding rather briskly. Boeing is big in Washington for instance or say bioengineering--I just looked it up and bioengineering jobs are projected to expand by as much as 60% by 2018 in the state of Washington. Do some research before you pick a major and save yourself a lot of trouble.

Oh, and take the 20 gallon tall. It has a very small footprint areawise and is easy to move. I had one my first year in the dorms and I kept a couple Cichlids.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
Thanks all so much for your comments! I really appreciated them and read them all.

No worries on the drug/alcohol/partying/etc., I don't do any of that... I'm now officially moved, and that was more of a challenge than I anticipated.

My dorm is one of the independent ones since it is for students who are 20 or over, or with a certain amount of transferred credits. I visited another dorm on the other side of campus which made mine look like a nice, quiet hotel... The first few weeks have been crazy getting my schedule settled and classrooms found. Worst incident might have been my alarm not going off and me running to class ten till the start with nightwear still on... As for the aquarium, I plan to do a 3 gallon betta, and maybe a ten gallon if I can find the time since I'm taking Chem/Math/Sociology this quarter (major = Bio and/or Chem). Chem is interesting because we get to use the lab (I have a lab coat and eye shield!). Math is challenging. Sociology is not very fun, maybe because of the teaching style. The aquariums will certainly make my room more comfortable, since the background noise at home was always my aquariums and not the water generators next door...
 

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+++++1 for picking a good field of study. It is frowned upon for some reason to tell this to people nowadays. The "just do what you love" philosophy is total crap IMO. 10/10 advice from goodbytes

Emerging fields that will always hire / pay well are: healthcare (you should go for this IMO if you like science), engineering, accounting / specific business jobs / analytics, computer science, etc...

Going for sciences is a good call - just make sure you focus on something more. Bio / chem is basically useless unless you go to graduate school FYI. Do very well so you can get into med school or something related. There is not much waiting for bio / chem majors with only a bachelors degree... My GF waited tables for a year after school after graduating in biology with a 3.8 GPA. Now she has begun pharmaceutical school and will make a ton of money afterwards. However it was NOT easy for her to get in without tailoring her specific courses towards that path... she had to make up for it during the summer before to get some more credits just to have a chance.

Too many foolish young people are graduating with useless degrees / have no idea how the real world works. They end up in piles of debt - don't be that guy. All my high school friends who were things like english majors are working retail. I know a very smart girl who studied ecology and is unemployed still. It's rough out there for sure
 
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