5 Tips for Dorm Room Privacy
Moving into a dorm room for the first time is exciting, but it can also be a little scary. If you’ve never had to share a bedroom in the past, suddenly being forced to bunk with a total stranger can feel like a serious threat to your privacy. Colleges and universities do their best to match students up in friendly, or at least civil, roommate pairings, but sometimes their efforts are no help. If you feel like your dorm roommate is overstepping her bounds and ruining your privacy, here are five tips to get it back before it’s too late.
Rules for Sharing Items
Before you moved into the dorm you (hopefully) had a conversation with your new roommate about who was going to bring what. One of you was bringing a TV while the other was bringing a printer and so on. You may have agreed that these items would be shared, but now your roommate has decided that it’s also OK to share clothes, perfume and snacks. Sometimes this sharing goes both ways and there isn’t a problem, but if you feel like you’re getting taken advantage of and want to keep those items private it’s time to talk to her about new rules for sharing. She will likely understand and be fine with it, but even if she doesn’t you need to lay down the law.
Utilize Free Space
Most dorm rooms are tiny. You need to do all you can to make use of the space that you have. The best way to do this is to loft your bed and put your desk and dresser underneath it. By taking advantage of this extra space you can feel a little less packed in with your roommate and all her stuff. This separation can lead to an increased feeling of privacy, even if you are only adding a few extra feet.
Set Rules for Friends
One thing that roommates never really talk about is setting solid rules for when friends can, or cannot, come or sleep over. Many roommates fear that by asking that their roommate’s boyfriend not sleep over on weekends they are being a bad friend or some kind of prude. Neither of these notions is true. While your roommate may be unhappy that her boyfriend isn’t able to stay over, if you are feeling uncomfortable with the situation you aren’t being a villain, you have every right to want to keep outsiders from invading your space. Your roommate will understand.
This may seem a little extreme, but if you have private information on your computer it is a good idea to use passwords to protect it whether you have a nosey roommate or not. By password protecting your computer you are protecting yourself against more than just your roommate reading your private emails; you also may be protecting your bank information if someone you don’t know gets a chance to use your computer. Take the time to password protect everything that you can.
Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Outside Help
If the privacy situation with roommate doesn’t improve after speaking with her, don’t be afraid to approach your RA about the situation. In general RAs aren’t disciplinarians, but older students who know what it feels like to be in your shoes. Your RA will then schedule a meeting between you and your roommate where you will be able to express your feelings in a more formal setting. While it may feel like the exact same conversation you’ve already had, the more formal setting and the presence of the RA may really help to get your point across. Good luck!
About the Author
Kenny Soto writes for the blog at MyMove.com. Is your child leaving for college in the fall? Visit MyMove.com for tips, guides and checklists to make her move to school an easy one.