Every student dorm is a story unto itself and not every person is comfortable living surrounded by people and sharing a room with a roommate. But what can you do to overcome that and how to help yourself feel comfortable there and remember your student days as an unforgettable experience? These are the rules that I live by. By Mina Mihailovic.
#1 One simple breaking of the ice can lead to unforgettable acquaintances in the student dorm.
Social anxiety is not a joke and it is normal that not every person is comfortable living in a community. It is very easy to lock yourself in a room, but that is not necessarily a healthy lifestyle. There is a short-term solution to social dynamics: ask questions. If you are lucky enough, the person you share the kitchen or room with will be communicative and the conversation will simply flow, but if not, simply ask whatever interests you. From where they come from to traditional food and suggestions of interesting places in the city. People in general are good and willing to help, and opening a dialogue is an easy way to get through that initial period of discomfort.
#2 You can do something nice for other people (almost) without leaving your apartment.
Do a simple act of kindness for other people: prepare food, coffee or tea. Or just make people feel welcome. It’s easy to say you’re a new person here, but it’s up to you to make your new home a real home for yourself.
#3 You can decorate your own room (within the means possible).
The space in which you spend time and study / work affects your mood, whether you like it or not. It is important to make the space your own, with photos, books, sticky notes with a list of things to do or new bed sheets. A room in a dorm should still be your home for a while and bringing little things out of the house is a good plan if you don't know if you will be financially able to run to the city collecting room decorations.
#4 You actually get to really put recycling into practise.
It is not necessary to buy everything new for your new home. Although the chaos of the local market is not for everyone, decorations and small furniture can be quite expensive, but temporarily having a chair on which someone is already sitting is not only acceptable but also much better for the planet because recycling is good, pollution is definitely not. Unless it's for you, there are always online options, especially on social media. We used to go just one google from a new favorite shelf.
#5 You can always ask for help.
All aside, just ask people anything you don't understand. The vast majority of people are really ready to help and there is no shame in the fact that this may be the first time you live alone and that you do not know how a washing machine works. Somehow you will have to learn the rules of behavior in the kitchen, where the vacuum cleaner is and which room is for parties every other Friday. If you want your home life to be less suffering, ask everything you don't understand.
#6 You learn how to cope with and accept circumstances in a productive way.
Before you say that this is not real advice, it is important to say that some things you simply have to accept. Change your perspective. Instead of getting upset about sharing a room with someone, tell yourself it's nice to be less lonely. Instead of getting upset that you don’t live in the city center, tell yourself that it's good to save money and learn what it's like to really live like the average person in a city.
About the author
My name is Mina Mihailovic and I come from Novi Sad, Serbia. I am currently pursuing master studies in Slavic languages, with specialization in Serbian language and literature. During my studies, I spent two semesters on student exchanges – winter semester of 2017/18 at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland and the summer semester of 2020/21 at the University of Graz. In addition to learning languages, I also love music. I finished music school, in the piano department, and since my high school days I have been singing in choirs and vocal ensembles. I am currently employed at the Foundation Novi Sad – European Capital of Culture as Social Media Associate and Lector.
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