Living in the Dorms: Complete University Experience
“Be careful okay. Just call if you ever need anything. Message me everyday okay?” these were the words of my mom, followed by necessary tears, before we (My sister and I) went off to go study – and live at the Dorms – at theAmericanUniversityof Sharjah. This was, I thought, going to be the best experience of my life.
Three years on and I still feel the same. No life nowadays is complete without the “university experience”. Under that category fall a lot of things such as getting a good education, meeting new people, making mistakes and learning as you go, and maturing overall throughout all that, but the most important experience of all: living in dorms, aka living away from the ‘rents. Unfortunately though, students tend to misunderstand that concept very dearly.
Living in dorms is one of the most enlightening experiences a student would ever go through. No supervision, more or less no rules, no screaming matches, no one there to tell you what to do and when summing up to the key term ‘freedom’. To a certain extent yes there is freedom, with the exception of the overly cautious dorm supervisors…but we’ll get to that in a bit.
Dorms, for the time that you are in university are supposed to be your ‘second home’. There you set up your life for the next four or five years. Whether you share it with someone or live alone that is entirely up to you, but sharing that life away from home is an amazing experience.
My experience in dorms consisted of fighting with my sister – also my roommate – and moving into my friend’s dorm for a few days. Fighting with that friend and finding comfort in another. Staying up late at night in my friend’s dorms and watching movies, eating junk food, gossiping, bitching, trying on outfights, crying and laughing; pretty much everything that you could possibly imagine doing with your best girl friends.
However, its not all fun and games. For those who are weak hearted, living in dorms can be an experience that can possibly make a stronger, individual person but also it can sometimes make you very lonely. If you are someone who has never spent a second away from home and are not someone who is very sociable, then living in dorms can be a bit of a problem. Though dorms are full of people you know and also your friends, living there can also sometimes become very depressing for some who cannot ever accept it as their home. At first every newcomer to dorms faces that, but slowly adjusts to it. They form a routine, there is a structure that falls into place and works perfect for them once the semester starts, however, there are those who consider dorms to be nothing short of a jail cell. Now it’s not that bad, but some people out there believe that dorms can never be their home.
For me though, dorms were never like that, there are moments where I truly miss home and the home cooked food. The moments where when you run out of money – and that happens quite frequently believe it or not – and my parents are there to take care of it. But living in dorms has also taught me to be more responsible. It taught me how to deal with time management when my mother wasn’t there to wake me up in the mornings. It taught me how to be back in my dorms in a timely manner, otherwise our very strict dorm supervisors would sign us late and three late entries in our records per semester is automatically grounds for dismissal from dorms. Dorm supervisors, though they are supposed to be ‘motherly’ figures in the dorms and are there to help us when we are need, they are mostly regarded as wardens that make sure we don’t break any of the rules. Some rules, we think, are overly ridiculous and we don’t necessarily agree with, we also know they are there for our own benefit. Our parents have trusted us with a responsibility when sending us to live in dorms and it is the duty of the supervisors to make sure we are fulfilling those responsibilities. Going back home at the end of all that is all the more worthwhile!
Bottom line is living in dorms is an experience that will never be gained anywhere else. In dorms you have your friends, you have your enemies (you get very good at them), you have good memories of late nights, and cooking experiences and prepares you for a adult life that you will potentially lead in the future and an experience I recommend that everyone wishes to experience. If you are someone who fears living alone and would miss home a lot, you’re never going to know how big is your fear until you face it and you may end up surprising yourself. We read about the ‘adventures’ of people who have lived in dorms or are living in them, we hear about them and even watch movies about them, but you can never really know what it is like until you go through it, because every person who has lived that life has a different experience. Two people living in the same dorms, at the same time will have a different experience than someone who lived there before or someone who is going to come live there. It is by far one of the best ways to prove to yourself you may be stronger than what you think of yourself.
Being away from home is absolutely one of the toughest things to do after spending your whole life there. The thought of leaving your friends and family behind to become a part of a completely alien world is overwhelming and scary, but take it from someone who has been living like this for the past three years, I would gladly say that it has been the most educational and fun part of my life. Though I miss my friends from school and my times being at home and nothing can ever take the place of that, making new memories with new and equally amazing friends in university and spending time with them in dorms are times I will never forget and will be a huge part of my life. They have made me who I am today.