An Open Letter To My Dorm, During My Last Month Of Dorm Life

To the dorm that has been a home for me for the past year and the cluster of dorms that I have called home for two,

It's hard for me to believe that soon I will say goodbye to living in one room, to living in *very* close proximity to another individual, to using communal bathrooms, to making sure that whatever I do, I don't get reported by an RA. It was an adjustment from the homey conditions of my house back home, I have had my fair share of challenges, but I still wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

You exposed me to the harsh realities of life within my first month of college.

After hearing all of the stories of how people's first college roommates become the godmother of their children, it was a shocking disappointment when that was not the case. Living with a stranger who would wake me up at 4 A.M., bring naked guys into the room at weird hours, and definitely didn't maintain the same level of cleanliness that I did, showed me that every living situation is not picture-perfect. I had to deal, I had to learn, and I had to switch rooms after one semester, but I wouldn't trade that learning experience for everything.

But I also learned how to work through living with other strangers and working through differences.

I did not live with my best friend from high school (or even my best friend I made here at school) so it takes work to live with somebody else. Each year (including next year), I have a new roommate which requires me to learn how to understand a new personality, new preferences, and a new way of life. I am open to many different personality types and lifestyles but any type of roommate relationship takes work, especially in the close quarters of a dorm.

Living the first nearly two decades of my life in a comfortable house, living in only a single room was different.

But I made it work. I couldn't pack my whole house with me, but I learned to prioritize the things I needed. A few square feet of space became my home that I decorated with lights, quotes, and pictures of family and friends. I am becoming the driver of my own life and my own future so therefore I won't always have parents to bless me with a full house. But pretty soon, my small space felt like home.

I gained a sense of ownership that will prepare me for when I really do have my own place.

It was up to me to maintain my space, to keep a few square feet feeling like home. I had to shop for my own cleaning equipment, do my own laundry, and make sure I was always comfortable where I was living. Nobody was going to yell at me to clean my room. It was up to me to do all of that. And I am thankful for having a dorm to prepare me for an apartment and subsequently a house of my own.

It has taken me two years, but thank you for transitioning me into the independence of college.

I will miss finding alcohol bottles in the laundry room and mysterious stains on the bathroom wall. I will miss living in close quarters with people from my activities and hearing the neighbor who won't turn off her alarm through the thin walls. I will miss hearing all of the full-fledged concerts that occur while others are showering and complaining in the group chat when someone forgets to flush the toilet and bathing in cold water when the warm water breaks down.

I look forward to apartment living in the fall where I will have more of my own space and freedom than ever before, but I owe it to dorm living to get me to this place. It's been an experience that I wouldn't trade for anything.

From a two-year dorm dweller who is living her very last month in her beloved one room.

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