After leaving high school many young people move into different living environments, and have to learn to live completely different code of standards within their own homes, something many don’t adapt to very easily, particularly women. As if the changes after high school aren’t enough, girls have to adapt from their single bedroom, full size bed, and personal bathroom to a room the size of their closet but built for two. No worries though, dorm dwellers, commune commoners, and sorority sisters. I am providing you with a complete “How To” guide to living well with others.
I know exactly how this transition feels. I left my comfortable home for college, thinking I was only leaving behind high school. It only took one step into my new dorm room to make me understand what I was really leaving behind: space. I heard stories about cell blocks at the county jail being more spacious, and on top of it all I had to share a bathroom with ten other girls. Then, only a year later, I moved into a sorority house with 70 other women. My personal vanity, queen-sized mattress, and walk-in closet at home would never believe the things I have had to tolerate. However, I have endured enough to consider myself an expert on the issue and am willing to pass my knowledge onto those in need.
To survive community living, one must have a friendly attitude, a shower caddy, a lighted mirror, dry erase boards and markers, and power strips. Getting used to this style of living usually takes about two weeks, but has been known to take up to a month. There isn’t much preparatory work to be done; to adapt one must jump in with both feet.
When twenty women share one bathroom, it is a guarantee that mirror space will be limited for each woman’s grooming needs. To best divert this traffic, bring a lighted free-standing mirror. Any desk or tabletop can be transformed into a makeup counter, eliminating overpopulation in the bathrooms. The light is bright enough to see yourself in the dark, but not so bright as to wake a sleeping roommate. In addition to the mirror, I would suggest bringing extra power strips to plug in blow dryers, curling irons, and hair straighteners.
Another important bathroom tip is to bring a shower caddy. This avoids any confusion as to whose is what. Also, it consolidates space in the bathroom and serves as a place-marker. If one person is preparing to be in the shower, she can set her caddy outside of the door so there is no wondering if the area is occupied. This provides more privacy.
Typically, the laundry system is among the most difficult adaptations into community living. However, there is an easy solution. On each washing machine and dryer place a dry erase board with the labels: “name,” “phone number,” “time,” and “next.” Each person can fill out this board when they put their laundry in, and if it goes forgotten they will receive a call from the next person in line. This also eliminates people cutting in the laundry line.
When I first moved into my little community, my biggest struggle was having the patience to deal with other people. I tried to replicate the independent life I had had before I moved to college, but what I found is that I missed out on all of the wonderful things that come with living with a large group of women. My favorite memories from college come from the little things that happen in my house everyday, memories that I wouldn’t have ever gotten to experience if I hadn’t taken a little time to get to know the people around me.