Most colleges require first-year students, whether they are freshmen or not, to live in a dorm, so, naturally, I was graced with the opportunity of living in one my freshman year. The building I lived in wasn't ancient or anything, but it still wasn't the best dorm on campus. I think choosing the right dorm for what you want and how you live your day-to-day life is very important, especially if you are living with a roommate.
I attend Mississippi State University, which has an honors college program. I was in the program at the time, which allowed me to live in an honors college community on the north side of campus. There are 4 buildings that comprise the honors college community, two of which are exclusively for honors college students. Funny enough, one of the exclusively honors college buildings (which I happened to live in) was the oldest, and I would add, most in need of repairs in that group of buildings.
Of course, things could have always been worse. I was lucky enough to have my own bathroom. Some of my friends lived in buildings with community bathrooms. They would tell me that while returning to their rooms after showering, someone's boyfriend could be visiting them and catch a glimpse of girls half naked in nothing but towels and with makeup melted to their faces. That doesn't sound too pleasant to me.
One good thing about the older dorms, though, is that they were built first, so they are more central to academic buildings, cafeterias, the student union, and just more convenient in general. Not only that, but I do appreciate some older charm in a room. I don't like living in a prison cell with beige walls all the time and some of the older dorms have really nice, big windows.
Okay, so now to the roommate situation. A lot of people have selected a random roommate, meaning they have never met the other person before and basically meet them on move-in day, and have found their best friend. That wasn't really the case for me. My roommate and I didn't really have a lot in common, so we wouldn't talk much if at all. Which that was okay because sometimes you just want to go back to your room and be in silence, but I'm more of a social person. I need to be talking to people 24/7 or else I get bored really easily. Because of this, I found myself spending the night at my friends' dorms a lot.
When you are packing to come to college DO NOT OVERPACK! I brought everything I owned and then some thinking I would be dressing up everyday and having people over at my dorm all the time. This made move-in and move-out day absolutely awful. Also, the closets in dorms and the storage space in general is not that great. It isn't fun to be in a tiny room surrounded by mountains of your belongings with nowhere to really place them. Just remember that if you are going to have a roommate that you two are sharing a space and that you need to respect their half of the room. Some people are very serious about this aspect of their lives. I remember one of my friends telling me their roommate got masking tape and divided the fridge, closet, wardrobe, and even the floor and told her not to cross the line. Chances are, your roommate won't do this, but just respect their space out of courtesy.
So, I think I covered most of the important aspects of dorm life and I hope that I helped answer some questions for you if you are moving into one this year. If you aren't moving into a dorm this year and have lived in one in the past, maybe I at least made you laugh a little. For my final piece of advice, if you absolutely cannot stand where you are living, just remember that you are only living there for about nine months with breaks in between, and it will be over before you know it.